Sports writing is going through a transition.
For the longest time, it was the team and the people who covered it with no allegiances, just off plain observation.
Now, there are still team beat reporters, but now teams have brought in some of these writers to report for them.
The reason: to control the message.
Which begs to question, is there a future for beat writers? With today’s 24-hour media coverage, franchise’s are all about controlling their image and their brand. If there is a poor image and poor brand, then there is likely a poor revenue stream. By hiring and retaining writers to control the message of what is reported through a media medium, who will hold the franchise accountable when things are not going well on or off the field?
A perfect example is the accusations that have emerged over the weekend regarding Penn State University. Imagine if there was only the sports information department (SID) that covered Penn State. It took nearly a decade after just one report of abuse was filed to get attention, let alone the alleged countless others. If there were no external media sources to report this, would any of the families been given a chance at justice? It’s a horrific risk and possibility.
This is where the survival of newspapers comes into play. Depending how long newspapers can last, who will have the credibility to challenge franchise’s when things go wrong? Will it be up to radio and television if the online world is still not accepted as a credible and profitable news source? That era will be here before we know it and possibly ready for it.