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Opinion crucial in social media revolution

Posted by: | September 12, 2011 | No Comment |

All fans know the Washington Redskins won this weekend. They don’t need a journalist to tell them that.  Instead they want to know what went right, what went wrong, and how those items will be addressed moving forward.

This not only occurs in sports, but in politics as well.  The public is not concerned about every single detail of President Obama’s healthcare bill.  Instead, they are focused on how it impacts them whether it be positive or negative.

Content such as this forces the journalist to deviate from the norm of objectively describing an event or issue.  Radical opinions are what sell now, not objectivity. The public will instantly gravitate to a Congressman Weiner story whereas they will just skim through a breakdown of an anti-crime reform bill.

In sports, blogs are dominating the culture.  Many writers who have been in the business a long time have had a hard time adjusting to an online format of writing.  Most just take a print story and throw it up on the web, which leads to an automatic click away from a reader who has no time for large clumps of text.

Blogs have taken over the sports writing scene due to their use of opinion on game stories.  It tells the reader what they want to hear about their team and most of the time, the reader can relate to the article by either supporting or disputing the writer’s position.

An example of this takeover is, “The 700 Level,” a sports blog that was started in 2003 by Enrico Campitelli Jr.  Referred to simply as Enrico, he launched the site to write about the passionate side of Philadelphia sports.  He dedicated the site’s name to the famous 700 level of the since imploded Veterans Stadium, where many of the hated stories of Philadelphia fans originate.

The site went viral once fans started to turn to the Internet more than print sources.  They spoke about how the site wrote in the attitude Philadelphia fans love to see, passionate and honest.

It caused such a storm that in March of 2010, the local sports television station, Comcast Sportsnet, and its official site csnphilly.com, acquired the rights to the site to enhance it and gain readers through it, while still giving Enrico complete editorial control.

Twitter has also been a sensation in including opinion for journalists.  Many beat writers use their twitter accounts to have both formal and informal interactions with their readers and fans.  Someone such as Eric Stangel who most people do not know by the mention of his name, has nearly 70,000 followers on twitter because of his outrageously sarcastic posts on both national and sports news.

Here is an example of one of his tweets:

Eric Stangel 

@EricStangel Eric Stangel
President Obama’s American Job Act is already working. He announced jobs are available at QB in Dal, Ind, & Min… #NFL
It’s tweets such as these that grab the attention of readers.  While objective tweets and pieces are still important and necessary, it’s opinion posts that truly sell the product.


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