Sports reporting and sports blogging don’t have to be adversarial

Some people who lament the state of newspapers in today’s world point at bloggers and say that pretty soon, there won’t be any objectivity left. That all that will remain are people’s opinions rather than objective journalism.

That would indeed be a bad scenario, but it won’t happen. Newspapers have taken a blow, but journalism hasn’t. People understand the need for objectivity. It’s just that US residents tend to see things in black and white, either/or, good and bad. But blogging and journalism don’t have to be mutually exclusive.

My homey petrel, who writes the Atlanta Dream blog, nicely addressed the advantages of sports blogging in response to a criticism:

The stereotype of internet bloggers being obsessive geeks becomes a strength instead of a weakness. Sports bloggers – writing from the prospective of fans – spend a lot of time thinking about sports. I would dare to venture that I spend much more time thinking about the WNBA in my spare time than the print journalist for, say, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that attends the WNBA game. This is because my plate is free in my spare time, and she only has so many hours in her day. She might have to cover a different sports event every day. How much intellectual firepower can she direct to the WNBA?

Furthermore, her time is directed. She doesn’t have the leisure to think about what she wants to. She has an editor who wants to please the bulk of the readership, and that editor tells her what she has to do. This means reporting about “football and spring football” at least in Atlanta. If she becomes really good at her job she might be hired and given a beat, or if she’s even better she might be given an opinion column and can write about what she chooses. But without a full time beat or an opinion platform her priorities are set by someone else and her work is closely monitored.

Sports bloggers can set their own priorities. They’re not only mavens regarding their chosen sports but they’re their own editors. (If you read this blog, you can see how that could be a detriment.) If I want to do a statistical study of the WNBA for a full week, there’s no editor to stop me. I only have to please myself. This gives a sports blogger freedom that a reporter might envy.


Truth be told, there are good things about both blogging and journalism, and there’s a place at the media table for both art forms.

As a former newspaper reporter, I feel like I mix it up here. I have game reports that are straight accounts of the game (journalism); I have opinion pieces (both editorial and blog) like the “you’re a jerk” entry two weeks ago; I have posts where I include questions and musings.

I enjoy the freedom of blogging because it allows me to insert invaluable human perspective, which is what life is all about in the end. But I also write for a website, and “just the facts, maam” is necessary sometimes too.

Bottom line: it’s a good idea to get news from both places. Sports journalism and sports blogging compliment – not contrast.