Is Twitter Destroying Sports Reporting?


I thought it was a bit strange that Chris Broussard of ESPN didn’t tweet in “a day”, but then I noticed that he has tweeted only once in the past five days. Now I read something about how he has been accused of claiming that he’s breaking stories that have already been broken on twitter. Jason Fry of ESPN’s Poynter Review Project Blog goes into detail about what transpired.
Deadspin actually titled their take on the situation, “Chris Broussard Tries To Explain His Shoddy, Inattentive Reporting“. I wonder if Chris has gotten a bit gunshy of tweeting now. I hope not. He’s one of the most entertaining guys on ESPN, but is it possible that what’s happening here is the Steven A. Smith effect again? Steven was a hot item, and all over TV and radio a few years ago, but with only 24 hours to a day, he had too many responsibilities to cover any with real depth. Broussard has been featured this past season on the NBA Draft and ESPN pre-game shows. Is his reporting work suffering because of it?
Regardless, this issue of “who’s first” with the scoop doesn’t really matter that much anymore, does it?
Jason Fry said it well when he ended the quoted article above with,
“To us, that’s not speed but depth –- explaining what a piece of news means, its historical context, why it happened, what’s now more or less likely to happen, and above all how it changes things. Being first with that kind of news? That really is worth bragging about.”
Twitter really has changed things in the media. As it says in Frye’s story, a Pew Internet Study shows that those aged 18-44 are tweeting a lot more than they did last year. In the last 15 months, internet users who tweet in that age range have doubled from 11% to 21%. That’s an incredible increase in a little over a year. In the age range of 18-24, the statistics show a 16% to 31% range. And here’s the kicker, 20% of all internet users aged 18-24 use twitter “on a given day”, up from 4% in the same time period. that’s FIVE TIMES what it was at the end of 2010. The study points out that this is because of increased smartphone usage among young adults.
Regardless, the times, they are a-changin’, to coin a phrase from some old relic musician guy. Tweets happen so fast, people don’t really care who broke the story first, except those in the industry. Fans don’t care, they just want the info now, in bits and pieces. We live in an ADD society, so getting a bit of news is all people can take before they go do something else.
Twitter is made for an ADD society, don’t you think? Actor Ralph Fiennes claims that Twitter is responsible for “eroding language“.
Now that athletes are beginning to tweet their own stories out on twitter, such as Deron Williams did when he announced he was staying with the Brooklyn Nets, will sports journalists be reduced to becoming critics, reviewing news after it happens, rather than breaking it?
So does twitter help sports journalism or hurt it?

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