Sports journalism is a form of writing that reports on sporting topics
and competitions. Basically physical educators who have a talent for
writings may opt a career as a sports journalist
Sports journalism is the essential element of many news media
organizations. While the sports department (along with entertainment
news) within some newspapers has been mockingly called the toy
department, because sports journalists do not concern themselves with
the 'serious' topics covered by the news desk, sports coverage has
grown in importance as sport has grown in wealth, power, and
Also, some media organizations are devoted entirely to sports
reporting — newspapers and magazines such as
L'Equipe in France, La
Sport in Italy, Marca in Spain, the defunct Sporting
Life in Britain, and American
Sports Illustrated and Sporting News;
television networks such as Eurosport, Fox Sports, ESPN; sports radio
stations such as
BBC Radio 5 Live,
Fox Sports Radio and
TSN Radio; and
The Sports Network
The Sports Network (TSN); and websites such as
ESPN.com, Foxsports.com, and Yahoo! Sports.
1 Socio-political significance
2 In Europe
3 Sports stars in the press box
Investigative journalism and sport
5 Sports books
7 Fanzines and blogs
10 See also
11 Further reading
13 External links
Major League Baseball
Major League Baseball gave print journalists a special role in its
games. They were named official scorers and kept statistics that were
considered part of the official record of league. Active sportswriters
were removed from this role in 1980. Although their statistical
judgment calls could not affect the outcome of a game in progress, the
awarding of errors and wins/saves were seen as powerful influences on
pitching staff selections and play lists when coach decisions seemed
unusual. The removal of writers, who could benefit fiscally from
sensational sports stories, was done to remove this perception of a
conflict of interest, and to increase statistics volume, consistency,
Sports stories occasionally transcend the games themselves and take on
Jackie Robinson breaking the color
barrier in baseball is an example of this. Modern controversies
regarding the hyper-compensation of top athletes, the use of anabolic
steroids and other, banned performance-enhancing drugs, and the cost
to local and national governments to build sports venues and related
infrastructure, especially for Olympic Games, also demonstrates how
sports can intrude on to the news pages.
Sportswriters regularly face more deadline pressure than other
reporters because sporting events tend to occur late in the day and
closer to the deadlines many organizations must observe. Yet they are
expected to use the same tools as news journalists, and to uphold the
same professional and ethical standards. They must take care not to
show bias for any team.
The tradition of sports reporting attracting some of the finest
writers in journalism can be traced to the coverage of sport in
Victorian England, where several modern sports – such as association
football, cricket, athletics and rugby – were first organized and
codified into something resembling what we would recognize today.
Andrew Warwick has suggested that
The Boat Race
The Boat Race provided the first
mass spectator event for journalistic coverage. The Race, an annual
rowing event between the
University of Cambridge
University of Cambridge and University of
Oxford, has been held annually from 1856.
Cricket, possibly because of its esteemed place in society, has
regularly attracted the most elegant of writers. The Manchester
Guardian, in the first half of the 20th century, employed Neville
Cardus as its cricket correspondent as well as its music critic.
Cardus was later knighted for his services to journalism. One of his
successors, John Arlott, who became a worldwide favorite because of
his radio commentaries on the BBC, was also known for his poetry.
The first London
Olympic Games in 1908 attracted such widespread
public interest that many newspapers assigned their very best-known
writers to the event. The
Daily Mail even had Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
White City Stadium
White City Stadium to cover the finish of the Marathon.
Such was the drama of that race, in which
Dorando Pietri collapsed
within sight of the finishing line when leading, that Conan Doyle led
a public subscription campaign to see the gallant Italian, having been
denied the gold medal through his disqualification, awarded a special
silver cup, which was presented by Queen Alexandra. And the public
imagination was so well caught by the event that annual races in
Boston, Massachusetts, and London, and at future Olympics, were
henceforward staged over exactly the same, 26-mile, 385-yard distance
used for the 1908 Olympic Marathon, and the official length of the
event worldwide to this day.
The London race, called the Polytechnic
Marathon and originally staged
over the 1908 Olympic route from outside the royal residence at
Windsor Castle to White City, was first sponsored by the Sporting
Life, which in those Edwardian times was a daily newspaper which
sought to cover all sporting events, rather than just a betting paper
for horse racing and greyhounds that it became in the years after the
Second World War.
The rise of the radio made sports journalism more focused on the live
coverage of the sporting events. The first sports reporter in Great
Britain, and one of the first sports reporters in the World, was an
English writer Edgar Wallace, who made a report on The Derby on June
6, 1923 for the British Broadcasting Company.
In France, L'Auto, the predecessor of L'Equipe, had already played an
equally influential part in the sporting fabric of society when it
announced in 1903 that it would stage an annual bicycle race around
the country. The Tour de
France was born, and sports journalism's role
in its foundation is still reflected today in the leading rider
wearing a yellow jersey - the color of the paper on which
published (in Italy, the
Giro d'Italia established a similar
tradition, with the leading rider wearing a jersey the same pink color
as the sponsoring newspaper, La Gazzetta).
Sports stars in the press box
After the Second World War, the sports sections of British national
daily and Sunday newspapers continued to expand, to the point where
many papers now have separate standalone sports sections; some Sunday
tabloids even have sections, additional to the sports pages, devoted
solely to the previous day's football reports. In some respects, this
has replaced the earlier practice of many regional newspapers which -
until overtaken by the pace of modern electronic media - would produce
special results editions rushed out on Saturday evenings.
Some newspapers, such as The Sunday Times, with 1924 Olympic 100
metres champion Harold Abrahams, or the London Evening
former England cricket captain Sir Leonard Hutton, began to adopt the
policy of hiring former sports stars to pen columns, which were often
ghost written. Some such ghosted columns, however, did little to
further the reputation of sports journalism, which is increasingly
becoming the subject of academic scrutiny of its standards.
Many "ghosted" columns were often run by independent sports agencies,
based in Fleet Street or in the provinces, who had signed up the
sports star to a contract and then syndicated their material among
various titles. These agencies included Pardons, or the Cricket
Reporting Agency, which routinely provided the editors of the Wisden
cricket almanac, and Hayters.
Sportswriting in Britain has attracted some of the finest journalistic
talents. The Daily Mirror's Peter Wilson, Hugh McIlvanney, first at
The Observer and lately at the Sunday Times,
Ian Wooldridge of the
Daily Mail and soccer writer Brian Glanville, best known at the Sunday
Times, and columnist Patrick Collins, of the Mail on Sunday, five
times the winner of the Sports Writer of the Year Award.
Many became household names in the late 20th century through their
trenchant reporting of often earth-shattering events
that have transcended the back pages and been reported on the front
pages: the Massacre at the Munich Olympics in 1972; Muhammad Ali's
fight career, including his 1974 title bout against George Foreman;
the Heysel Stadium disaster; and the career highs and lows of the
likes of Tiger Woods, George Best, David Beckham,
Lester Piggott and
other high-profile stars.
McIlvanney and Wooldridge, who died in March 2007, aged 75, both
enjoyed careers that saw them frequently work in television. During
his career, Wooldridge became so famous that, like the sports stars he
reported upon, he hired the services of IMG, the agency founded by the
American businessman, Mark McCormack, to manage his affairs. Glanville
wrote several books, including novels, as well as scripting the
memorable official film to the 1966 World Cup staged in England.
Investigative journalism and sport
Since the 1990s, the growing importance of sport, its impact as a
global business and the huge amounts of money involved in the staging
of events such as the
Olympic Games and football World Cups, has also
attracted the attention of investigative journalists. The sensitive
nature of the relationships between sports journalists and the
subjects of their reporting, as well as declining budgets experienced
by most Fleet Street newspapers, has meant that such long-term
projects have often emanated from television documentary makers.
Tom Bower, with his 2003 sports book of the year Broken Dreams, which
analyzed British football, followed in the tradition established a
decade earlier by
Andrew Jennings and Vyv Simson with their
controversial investigation of corruption within the International
Olympic Committee. Jennings and Simson's The Lords of the Rings in
many ways predicted the scandals that were to emerge around the
staging of the
2002 Winter Olympics
2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City; Jennings would
follow-up with two further books on the Olympics and one on FIFA, the
world football body.
Likewise, award-winning writers Duncan Mackay, of The Guardian, and
Steven Downes unravelled many scandals involving doping, fixed races
and bribery in international athletics in their 1996 book, Running
Scared, which offered an account of the threats by a senior track
official that led to the suicide of their sports journalist colleague,
But the writing of such exposes - referred to as "spitting in the
soup" by Paul Kimmage, the former Tour de
France professional cyclist,
now an award-winning writer for the Sunday Times – often requires
the view of an outsider who is not compromised by the need of
day-to-day dealings with sportsmen and officials, as required by
The stakes can be high when upsetting sport's powers: in 2007,
England's FA opted to switch its multimillion-pound contract for UK
coverage rights of the
FA Cup and England international matches from
BBC to rival broadcasters ITV. One of the reasons cited was that
BBC had been too critical of the performances of the England
football team.
Increasingly, sports journalists have turned to long-form writing,
producing popular books on a range of sporting topics, including
biographies, history and investigations.
Dan Topolski was the first
recipient of the
William Hill Sports Book of the Year
William Hill Sports Book of the Year award in 1989,
which has continued to reward authors for their excellence in sports
Most countries have their own national association of sports
journalists. Many sports also have their own clubs and associations
for specified journalists. These organizations attempt to maintain the
standard of press provision at sports venues, to oversee fair
accreditation procedures and to celebrate high standards of sports
The International Sports Press Association, AIPS, was founded in 1924
Olympic Games in Paris, at the headquarters of the Sporting
Club de France, by Frantz Reichel, the press chief of the Paris Games,
and the Belgian Victor Boin. AIPS operates through a system of
continental sub-associations and national associations, and liaises
closely with some of the world's biggest sports federations, including
the International Olympic Committee, football's world governing body
FIFA, and the IAAF, the international track and field body. The first
statutes of AIPS mentioned these objectives:
to enhance the cooperation between its member associations in
defending sport and the professional interest of their members.
to strengthen the friendship, solidarity and common interests between
sports journalists of all countries.
to assure the best possible working conditions for the members.
For horse racing the Horserace Writers and Photographers’
Association was founded in 1927, was revived in 1967, and represents
the interests of racing journalists in every branch of the media.
Press room at the Philips Stadion, home of PSV Eindhoven, prior to a
In Britain, the
Sports Journalists' Association was founded in 1948.
It stages two awards events, an annual Sports Awards ceremony which
recognizes outstanding performances by British sportsmen and women
during the previous year, and the British Sports
the industry's "Oscars", sponsored by UK
Sport and presented each
March. Founded as the Sports Writers' Association, following a merger
with the Professional Sports Photographers' Association in 2002, the
organization changed its title to the more inclusive SJA. Its
president is the veteran broadcaster and columnist Sir Michael
Parkinson. The SJA represents the British sports media on the British
Olympic Association's press advisory committee and acts as a
consultant to organizers of major events who need guidance on media
requirements as well as seeking to represent its members' interests in
a range of activities. In March 2008, Martin Samuel, then the chief
football correspondent of The Times, was named British Sportswriter of
the Year, the first time any journalist had managed to win the award
three years in succession. At the same awards, Jeff Stelling, of Sky
Sports, was named Sports Broadcaster of the Year for the third time, a
prize determined by a ballot of SJA members. Stelling won the vote
again the following year, when the Sunday Times's
Paul Kimmage won the
interviewer of the year prize for a fifth time.
In the United States, the Indianapolis-based National Sports
Journalism Center monitors trends and strategy within the sports media
industry. The center is also home to the Associated Press Sports
Editors, the largest group of sports media professionals in the
In more recent years,[when?] sports journalism has turned its
attention to online news and press release media and provided services
to Associated Press and other major news syndication services. This
has become even more apparent with the increase in online social
engagement. This has led to an increasing number of freelance
journalism in the sports industry and an explosion of sports related
news and industry websites.
Fanzines and blogs
Through the 1970s and '80s, a rise in "citizen journalism" in Europe
was witnessed in the rapid growth in popularity of soccer "fanzines" -
cheaply printed magazines written by fans for fans that bypassed often
stilted official club match programs and traditional media. Many
continue today and thrive.
Some authors, such as Jim Munro, have been adopted by their clubs.
Once an editor of the
West Ham United
West Ham United fanzine Fortune's Always
Dreaming, Munro was hired by the club to write for its matchday
magazine and is now sports editor of The Sun Online. Other titles,
such as the irreverent monthly soccer magazine When Saturday Comes,
have effectively gone mainstream.
The advent of the internet has seen much of this fan-generated energy
directed into sports blogs. Ranging from team-centric blogs to those
that cover the sports media itself, Bleacher Report, Deadspin.com,
ProFootballTalk.com, BaseballEssential.com, Tireball Sports, AOL
Fanhouse, Masshole Sports, the blogs in the
Yardbarker Network, and
others have garnered massive followings.
Blogging has also been taken up by former athletes such as Curt
Schilling, Paula Radcliffe, Greg Oden, Donovan McNabb, and Chris
This section possibly contains original research. Please improve it by
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Since the beginning of smartphones and the use of applications, sports
media has taken off and has become accessible from almost anywhere at
any time. Not only can fans check the scores on different apps such as
ESPN and Global Sports Media, but people can use social media apps as
well to find out different scores. These apps give score updates,
rosters, game schedules, injury updates, and much more right when it
happens. People can get real time results right from their phone. They
do not need to be at the game, or right by their television, to see
how their favorite team is doing. Now people can stream games right
from their phone.
This type of fast, easy information is very important to sports fans.
As stated in a Time magazine, “Enthusiastic fans are eager for
updates on their favorite teams and the opportunity to rant about what
went wrong in the playoffs or why their coach should be fired”. Many
people want to discuss matters about sports, teams and games, and this
article shows that with the sports apps, the news can be found at a
Thanks to the smartphone, a fan no longer has to wait for scores or
search the web for information on players. All the information is
available at the palm of their hand. Sports apps do not always have to
be about giving scores, as some applications include workout helpers,
rule books, and even games. The workout apps can show how the
professionals’ workout and can give inspiration to do the same
workout. The rule books are important, because it spreads the
knowledge about the game, and it can get people interested in new
games. The games apps are a good way of teaching people how the game
is played, and can give players a bigger interest in a specific sport.
All of these different apps are a part of sports media in the form of
using smartphones and apps. This helps spread information about sports
to anyone who wants it.
Smartphones can not only be used just for scores, they can also help
athletes become known and recruited. These days most everything is
caught on camera, and that includes great plays made by athletes. Once
a video is taken it will be spread through the social media sites in
The number of women in the sports journalism industry is rapidly
growing, and this has caused a lot of controversy in recent years.
Many traditionalists believe that the sporting industry should be
predominately for men, and female journalists have endured a lot of
criticism for breaking the mold.
There has been an ongoing debate as to whether or not female reporters
should be allowed in the locker rooms after games. If they are denied
access, this gives male reporters a competitive advantage in the
field, as they can interview players in the locker room after games.
If locker room access is denied to all reporters - male and female -
because of this controversy, male journalists would likely resent
female reporters for having their access taken away.
Some breakthrough female reporters include
Adeline Daley (whom some
consider the "
Jackie Robinson of female sportswriters"), Anita
Martini, Tracy Dodds, Mary Garber,
Lesley Visser and Sally Jenkins.
List of Sports Writers
Broadcasting of sports events
Journalism Center (US)
Baseball Writers' Association of America
Baseball Writers' Association of America (US)
National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association (US)
Pro Basketball Writers Association (US)
United States Basketball Writers Association (US; college)
Football Writers Association of America (US; college)
Pro Football Writers Association (US)
Ice Hockey Journalists UK
Professional Hockey Writers' Association (US)
Football Writers' Association
Football Writers' Association (England)
Scottish Football Writers' Association
National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association
National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association (US)
Steen, R, Sports Journalism: A Multimedia Primer, Routledge, 2007,
Wilstein, Steve, AP Sports
Writing Handbook, McGraw-Hill, 2001,
ISBN 978-0-07-137218-3, ISBN 0-07-137218-0
^ Andrew Warwick (2003) Masters of Theory: Cambridge and the Rise of
Mathematical Physics, page 213, University of Chicago Press
^ "Social Media and Sports: Natural Teammates". TIME.com. 26 January
2012. Retrieved 21 May 2015.
^ Kipen, David (2004-07-27). "Fact: The Golden State is the epicenter
of baseball, a mother lode of sun-ripened talent". San Francisco
Chronicle. Retrieved 2014-05-20.
Course Module Overview on Sports
Journalism at Open School of
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Outline of sports