How Social Media Is Radically Changing Sports Media
In the 1940s, fans and fanatics depended on the morning newspaper for the bulk of their sports reporting. Breakfast was equal parts morning nutrition and scores review. Sports journalism dominated the newspaper industry. By 2004, everything changed. Thanks to one culprit, in particular, the morning newspaper is now the last place die-hards go for sports analysis.
The Advent of the Internet
With the Internet becoming commercially available in the 1970s, credible weblogs first began taking the world by storm in the 1990s. By the mid-to-late 90s, independent bloggers and professional reporters alike were able to report on last night’s top (and obscure) sports stories long before the newspaper had time to fire up the presses. By 2004, thanks again to one major culprit, not only did newspapers no longer dominate the newspaper industry, but newspapers became the least go-to source for sports journalism.
As far as sports were concerned, the newspaper was dead.
How social media changed the game
The past decade has seen yet more transformation of sports reporting as every widely recognizable social media channel has launched since 2004. At no time was this more obvious than the 2014 World Cup games. During the nail-biter between the U.S. and Portugal (which would end in a devastating tie) fans were taking to social media to voice their opinions. According to CNN, a record 10 million people interacted 20 million times during that one match. Twitter reported an equally impressive eight million tweets during the game, with even Justin Timberlake throwing his commentary into the ring. If it wasn’t obvious before, it was now: Gone were the days of sports reporting being limited to professional journalists.
The 2016 sports reporting landscape
While the newspaper has long since disappeared as the dominant news source for all things sports, the good news is, sports journalism is still very much alive and well. As journalists and even sports players have learned to ride the social media wave, so, too, have they remained key conversationalists in the 24/7 sports feeding frenzy. Their methods have changed, but their place in the industry has not.
What’s next in 2017
With increased pressure to report things quickly and accurately, students pursuing an online sport management degree with an interest in media should consider these four strategies–paramount to every successful sports journalist:
- Write and produce content over multiple publishing platforms.
- Follow athletes and teams on all available social media outlets.
- Stay informed (up to the minute) on the sports world.
- Look for the story no one is telling.
The future of sports journalism
Earlier this year Jason Belzer, contributor to Forbes wrote, “No longer are jobs in sports media limited to being a beat writer for the hometown paper or doing play-by-play for a local high school team. There simply has never been a better time to break into the business of sports journalism.” And he was right. The future for Adelphi sport management students is bright and ripe for the picking … or punting.