Less and less demand for traditional sports writers

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This topic contains 87 replies, has 18 voices, and was last updated by bicyclemike bicyclemike 1 month ago.

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  • #89291
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    SoonerinNC
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    The internet has clearly damaged traditional reporting. It provides quicker access.

    However, it also allows everyone to be an editor, even the mean spirited and corrupt. And, unfortunately sensationalism abounds. Peoples lives are damaged by some who use technology to create false impressions. Not sure how it will turn out.

    Seems to me also that with all of the turmoil quality has suffered. Maybe only my impression because I turn down the sound a lot. With Vin Scully gone even moreso. I still have my favorites but much fewer than in the days of Mel Allen, Scully, Red Barber and others.

    Not that character assasination is new. I remember when Cardinal outfielder George Hendrick was painted a sullen nasty guy by the media. Much to my suprise when I went to spring training I saw a funny upbeat guy who was having a great time. In those days you could almost wander at will among the players. Seems George was so unhappy about his coverage that he just stopped talking to the press and they piled on big time.

    And too many get into the murky world of politics. Don’t see that on this site. For that I am very thankful.

    #89310
    Brian Walton
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    Not to mention the founder of Deadspin, who “exposed” Pujols’ personal trainer as a steroids pusher, only to be proven later that he fingered the wrong guy. Albert’s reputation took a big hit nationally while the Deadspin guy crossed over to traditional media and has become very successful. One major StL media figure even does a podcast with him.

    #89432
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    so_cal_cards_fan
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    Not to mention the founder of Deadspin

    I hope Leitch eventually learned to use more than one source for stories that have careers and reputations on the line.

    #89435
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    Bob Reed
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    “For me they (ESPN The Magazine) were airplane reading during takeoff and landing.”

    I admit I read it a few times myself. In many ways a deeply underrated publication, for the bottom of a birdcage.

    I was working at Inside Sports magazine in ’98 when the ESPN bi-monthly hit the stands amid much fanfare. As we passed around the maiden copy of E.T.M., we couldn’t believe the breakthrough. Finally, a magazine for folks who enjoyed neither reading nor thinking. It honestly wasn’t like anything that had come before. The USA Today was The Economist by comparison.

    The late great journalist Frank Deford had faith in American sports fans when he founded The National, a glorious twin pillar of daily sports entertainment and enlightenment. It lasted 18 months. On the other hand, the cynical vile dreck-peddlers at ESPN got better than two decades from their hollow rag. How can these facts exist in any rational world? All I can figure is, I guess George Carlin was right when he said to imagine how stupid the average person is, and then realize that half of them are more stupid than that.

    #89454
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    so_cal_cards_fan
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    Bob, your writing is a wonder. Where does one go for more?

    You are the William Safire and Peggy Noonan of the Sports Section.

    #89456
    stlcard25
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    I remember getting the first issue of ESPN the Magazine as a 15 year old. At the time, I subscribed to many a magazine. My favorite by far was The Sporting News…I could pore over stats for hours at a time from those magazines.

    Now, I don’t remember the last time I subscribed to a magazine willingly. I got a few issues of Outdoor at one point a few years back for buying something, but maybe Sports Illustrated or Golf in college were the last couple.

    #89460
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    mudville
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    I subscribed to a Cardinals only baseball magazine in the early 80’s called ‘Redbird Review’. It had write-up and glossy photos of some Cardinals’ prospects. I want to say that Jim Lindeman was on one of the covers. I received about 3 issues of the magazine, and then they stopped coming. I finally found out that the place that was publishing it burned down, and that was the end of that. (I don’t know if Brian has fire insurance, or not….. although that might not matter in this digital age that we’re living in.)

    #89484
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    Bob Reed
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    You’re just sayin’ that, So Cal, because you know I lived in Malibu. (Say hi to George and Michel at Colony House if you’re there. And Martha and Winston at the Artifac Tree. If they’re still around. “You know, Bob. The tallish bald guy with the beagle!”)

    I don’t write anywhere but here, as no one compensates me more than Brian does. To pay bills there’s part-time moneymakers dealing sports memorabilia and editing the scribblings of others. All brands of stuff, novels, corporate reports, all sorts of miscellaneous. Anything less sophisticated than White Papers.

    As with pretty much everyone ever, my life may have turned out quite differently if not for fate’s fickle finger, So Cal. When I’d been at Inside Sports a handful of months, I approached my managing editor Jim O’Conner with the idea of penning some magazine filler pieces here and there. And being a sober man of sound judgement, he agreed. I was on cloud ten, with all the cloud nine suckers looking up at me.

    Three days later we were bought out by Peterson Corp., publishers of Sport Magazine. And they fired us. Oh, I’m sorry — they downsized us. You bet I was downsized. Downsized like Rick Moranis’ kids by that shrink machine. And thus, a budding career began and ended the same week. Since then I’ve just had jobs. Jobs I liked and loved. But just jobs.

    So if you know anyone who wants a copy editor or mildly misanthropic ink-stained sportswriting wretch, I’m your guy.

    ——————————–

    “I subscribed to a Cardinals only baseball magazine in the early 80’s called ‘Redbird Review’. It had write-up and glossy photos of some Cardinals’ prospects. I want to say that Jim Lindeman was on one of the covers.”

    Jim Lindeman! Now there’s a name, muddy, that brings back Spring Training memories galore. Remember back in ’87 I think it was, when Lindeman destroyed Spring Training? He was a force of nature like Florida hadn’t seen since Hurricane Whosis back in the late 1960’s.

    I just looked up his career and was surprised to see than Jim acquitted himself very well in the dome-tainted 1987 postseason. He went 9-for-28, including 5-for-15 in the Series. Not too shabby.

    #92338
    Brian Walton
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    #92345
    bicyclemike
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    Speaking of Jim Lindeman and traditional sports magazines, I recall that 1987 Spring quite well. Lindeman’s hot Spring Training lead to the exit of Andy Van Slyke from the Cardinals. I believe it was TSN, but it might have been another publication that had the headline (paraphrasing): “Lindeman A Hit, Van Slyke Traded For Tony Pena”.

    My reaction was negative on that deal as Whitey included pitcher Mike Dunne and catcher Mike LaValliere in the deal. Usually I do not like those trades where you send several younger guys to try to get what you think is the missing piece on your club. (the Bobby Tolan and Dan Haren deals were two others I hated, but I also hated the McGwire deal).

    Now the ’87 team did go to the World Series, but LaValliere turned out to be better than Pena, while Van Slyke was an all-star. Lindeman had that nice post season, and disappeared.

    For years as a kid and younger adult I got The Sporting News, and devoured most every page of it each week. I have picked up a lot of old Sport magazines from sports memorabilia shops over the years, and still read articles in those now and then. The authors in those old Sport magazines (late ’40s to the ’60s) are a team of all-time greats, guys like Grantland Rice and Frank Graham, not to mention Roger Kahn, Dick Schaap and others. One of my favorite pieces is the monthly Editorial on the final page. Reading those now from the perspective of the “future”, you see how insightful they were. Many of the issues they bring up have proven to be accurate (promoting women’s athletics, championing a 3-point shot in basketball, better compensation for professional athletes are three that come to mind).

    #94912
    Brian Walton
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    Anyone interested in a tall glass of lemonade (or should I say, Baderade)?

    He speaks for his generation, and I bet he doesn’t read magazines, either!

    #94940
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    RememberDiz
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    I don’t know enough to be qualified to discuss the field of sports journalism. Nearly all readership is down. The internet has hurt.. But, the decline in newspaper readership began before that.

    I think a large part of the decline is a tendency to try to put on a show rather than to practice journalism. We see this a lot in all types of media and TV. There is more of an emphasis on putting on a spectacle than in reporting the event. Many of my friends watch the event on TV, but turn off the sound. Rather than reporting, the announcer is trying to entertain, essentially the non-sports fan.

    I don’t want to see a sideline reporter interviewing the kids in the stands while play is going on. Report on the game. The color commentary can be taped and shown after the game is over. I’d rather see it on the internet or on a post-game show. Don’t interrupt the game to entertain me. The game entertains me.

    Don’t look for controversy in order to satisfy a news outlet. Just report the facts. Put the controversy on a cable show or on the internet.

    #94974
    bicyclemike
    bicyclemike
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    One fallout from the lack of reading print is the benefits of a good book. Although books are available on electronic devices, so maybe there is not too big of a drop in reading. But as most of us know, the book is usually much better than the movie.

    You can get lost in a book for months, and really increase your knowledge and appreciation for life and the world by absorbing a good book on historical events.

    The other day I saw a kid, looked to be in his 20s, with his head down at a table outside the office building. I assumed like everyone these days, he was perusing stuff on his cell phone, but then it was like “Is that kid reading a ‘real’ book?”. As I walked closer I could see he was actually reading a book! Man you just never see that anymore.

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