The advent of the new sports media

By Shane from Centerpoint

There was a time when a few influential newspaper columnists and national magazine writers controlled how the general public viewed many of the issues pertaining to sports. With the increasing prominence of sports talk radio and Internet commentary their importance is fading fast.

Most members of the media elite attempt to discredit the validity of journalism’s newest mediums by challenging their credentials. That’s understandable when you consider that a large portion of these writers spent years toiling away in school and slowly working their way up the ladder trying to build a reputation.

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Meanwhile, their counterparts from the audio and electronic side are getting more respect and attention from sports fans with little or no effort. In fact, these outlets are creating stars and providing information faster and more efficiently than the evening newspapers or weekly magazines.

If the truth is known, paper media is losing the race, primarily because of the speedy delivery of information provided by live radio and the Internet. Realistically, by the time papers hit the street and the magazines hit the stands, the information has already been disseminated and discussed by talk show hosts and commented on by Internet writers.

Does the new media anger the old guard? Of course!

It is only natural, especially when the traditional media realizes that they must be the ones to change in order to keep pace. In essence, the days of a newspaper columnist dominating the public’s perception of a sports topic are numbered.

Will newspapers and magazines eventually be replaced by sports talk and Internet commentary?

In fact most established sportswriters have already made the crossover and are making forays into both mediums. Actually, they have already allowed the new methods to become legitimate by joining in their game.

The current environment provides more people an avenue to voice their opinion. A larger consensus can only enhance the value to a sports topic.

There is also another major difference between the old way and the new way — the ability of the fan to immediately respond to an issue. In the past all people could do was read the material and at best discuss their opinion among friends. Now the ability to give your take to the masses is only a keyboard or phone call away.

On the negative side lies stiffer competition for those individuals who wish to separate themselves from the crowd. The sheer number of commentators and websites — as well as sports talk shows — might create an atmosphere of information overload. Can too much of a good thing be bad?

When all is said and done, talk radio and the Internet will become the most important tools for sports reporting and analysis. The biggest question that remains is perhaps the most interesting.

Will the old school media go the way of the dinosaur and become extinct?

You can reach Shane via email at shanesez@gmail.com