The Need for Speed: How Readers Get News is Affecting the Way Sports Journalism is Reported and Written

Over the last ten years, the way fans get news about their favorite sports’ team has changed considerably. Gone are the days when people had to wait for the morning newspaper so they could read a sports article about what happened to their team. Today, people are getting news from different mediums.

What has replaced the old model of gathering news for printed newspapers is the increased role of social media such as Facebook, Twitter and blogging. People want news as fast as possible. They want to know what’s going on all the time, so reporters and writers have to do everything they can to make that happen, or they’ll lose readers and interest.

In addition, digital media is a tool that’s becoming very commonplace with reporters too. They’re using phones or a personal camera to make video and pictures of their subjects.

The catch to this new form of journalism is that putting together a project with video, audio, pictures and a written story can be done fairly fast depending on the size, and it’s usually done by one person. Unlike writing for a printed publication, a reporter personally edits what he or she has, and uploads it almost immediately onto an online blog or social media platform.

This is the direction that sports journalism is going in. The use of social media, blogs and digital media has affected and changed the way sports journalism is written and reported on. It’s all about getting news out quickly and efficiently before anyone else does.

“[Blogs] also allows for immediacy,” said Paul Flannery, an NBA writer for the sports blog SB Nation and former Boston Celtics writer for sports radio WEEI in Boston. “When I used to cover Celtics’ practices, I would turn around the basic nuts and bolts of the day in a couple of hours, and that wouldn’t be the kind of thing that would show up in your newspaper until 16 hours later, but it would already be up on our site.”

What Flannery means by “nuts and bolts” is that he could post news quickly about what players were hurt, who was going to play in that night’s game, who was mad, and what quotes were being said in the matter of hours. That’s something, which is completely different and couldn’t be done by someone writing for a printed newspaper.

Chris Forsberg, a Celtics writer for ESPN Boston, is one of the top, young and up-and-coming sportswriters in Boston. He writes game analysis, and game reactions for his blog on ESPN Boston. He said social media has changed a lot in the way sports news is reported on.

“[With social media] it helps facilitate how quickly we can distribute the news because of the 24-hour news cycle,” Forsberg said. “Essentially you got news you don’t want to wait to put in the newspaper anymore. There’s no more waking up to the news. You got to get it out there quickly whether it’s through Twitter, blogging or Facebook so that people can react to it.”

In fact, Forsberg said one of the best social media platforms in general for covering the Celtics is Twitter.

“Everything goes through Twitter now regardless of whether it’s a reporter breaking a story or it’s a player saying something,” Forsberg said. “Reporters would’ve called us crazy if you told us 20 years ago that a lot of stories, or a lot of what the athlete is thinking, would come through this 140 character site. It’s always intriguing to watch.”

In addition, he said that the one thing that social media and Twitter has done is foster a great sense of community with readers.

“You now have to have an audience,” Forsberg said. “You put the news up and you not only tell people about it, but now you’re getting them to react to [it] and to get outsider opinion, which sort of [starts] the conversation.”

It’s also interesting to note that Forsberg said players might not always be straight with reporters on camera. Instead, they might post interesting tweets by voicing their opinion about an incident, or something that happened during a game. Tweets like that could lead to another story too.

Jimmy Toscano, a Celtics and New England Patriots’ writer for Comcast Sports Net New England (CSNNE) and a blogger for CelticsBlog.com, went along the same lines as Forsberg, and said Twitter is very important for a reporter.

“If you don’t have a Twitter account, I suggest you get one,” Toscano said. “That’s the first place to get news today. I have a Twitter account and I follow [a] wide range of people that I get news so quickly compared to when it’s up on a website. [Twitter] really is the first place to get news depending on who you follow and what type of news you’re looking for.”

Toscano continued by saying if a story isn’t ready to be published, but there’s important information to get out there then tweeting is important. He said having your name attached to breaking news is important, and it gives you a leg up on the competition.

Since news has to be constantly updated and put on the web regularly, many reporters are approaching interviews differently too.

Toscano said nowadays digital media has made it so that interviews are on tape or video only.

“No longer is it just showing up [to interview someone] with a pen and pad and taking a couple of notes of what a player says,” Toscano explained. “It’s common to see bloggers, and online reporters in the locker rooms after games holding up a video camera, and recorder to a player who’s talking.”

Toscano might be referring to Forsberg as the one who uses only a camera and microphone.

“A lot of veteran reporters make fun of me because I don’t have a notepad or pen when going into the locker room,” Forsberg said. “Nowadays I carry three things. I carry my cell phone, a video recorder, and an audio recorder. Essentially that’s all I need when I’m in there, because those tools allow me to tell stories differently.

Forsberg said that using his digital equipment over using a pen and notebook allows him to tell stories not through just words, but by giving people pictures, sights and sounds of what’s going on in that environment.

Despite how quick stories get put onto the web and how sports journalism is changing; editing and the quality of writing are still very important.

“There’s great responsibility when posting online,” Flannery said. “Your writing has to be clear and without mistakes and sloppiness. I think the best part of sports journalism on the internet is taking the old school values that you learned and applying them into a much quicker medium.”

For more of an inside look at sports journalism, take a look at this video below. Some of the top Celtics’ writers and a student speak about the ever-changing world of sports journalism.

Celtics Sign Darko Milicic

Well, well, well. Just when you thought the Celtics were done wheeling and dealing, they go out and add depth to their front court by signing veteran big man Darko Milicic, who apparently turned down a lucrative offer of 3 years/$6M to play for Real Madrid in Spain to sign with the C’s.

According to a Croatian website, and confirmed by A.Sherrod Blakely of CSNNE, the Celtics sign the 27-year-old Milicic to a one-year deal at the veteran’s minimum.

As most fans know, the 7-foot center was selected #2 overall in the 2003 NBA Draft, behind Lebron James and ahead of Carmelo Anthony, Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade, by the Detroit Pistons.

The rest is obviously history as he played just 159 minutes with the Pistons during his rookie season in 2003-2004, which was also the year the Pistons beat the Lakers to win their third championship.

After his rookie season, he started playing a little bit more, but it was nothing meaningful as he was stuck behind veterans Ben Wallace, Rasheed Wallace, Antonio McDyess and Tayshaun Price during the 05-06 season. That year, he was dealt to the Orlando Magic where his tour of the NBA started. After his stint in Orlando, he was signed as a free agent by the Memphis Grizzlies in 2007, then traded to the New York Knicks in 2009, then traded to the Minnesota Timberwolves in 2010 where he was famously referred to by T-Wolves GM David Kahn as “manna from heaven.” Yeah…..

That never worked out and he was waived by them this July and now he’s a Celtic.

You catch your breath after that.

Analysis

Now enough of his biography. Milicic never lived up to his #2 pick billing and you can be damn sure that Pistons GM Joe Dumars would love to go back and select someone else such as Bosh or Wade, but what’s done is done.

As deep as the draft was in 2003, Milicic has officially been one of the biggest busts in NBA history.

To give him a smidgen of credit, a lot of the situations he has been in haven’t exactly been his fault. During his tenure in Detroit, the teams he played for were stacked with good veteran big men so it was hard to break into regular rotations.

Milicic has also played on some real bad teams that had no shot at winning such as the T-Wolves and Knicks. When you’re in a losing environment for so long, it can take a toll on your psyche.

With saying that, he was part of a championship team his rookie year and a team that went back to the finals in 04-05, so you would’ve thought that would motivate him to get better, work to crack a rotation and take some minutes away from a veteran, but it didn’t.

So the knock on him is he’s lazy and his work ethic isn’t good. Basically, he goes with the flow.

With saying that, he isn’t coming in to take over a position for the Celtics. He’ll be a role player where he’ll back up Chris Wilcox, Jared Sullinger and maybe Jason Collins, depending on how he and Collins fare in training camp.

Milicic can rebound and block shots as he averaged two blocks a game with the T-Wolves two years ago and pulled down over six rebounds a game with the Grizzlies in 07-08.

If Milicic doesn’t want to work or doesn’t show Doc Rivers or Danny Ainge he can compete and be a part of the team, than he’ll be cut. End of story. No harm, no foul. However, if he wants to be a key role player in the NBA and works his butt off in Waltham during training camp, than there will be a spot for him with this team.

The main issue for the Celtics last year was rebounding. They were dead last in that category, and was a key factor in them getting bounced out of the playoffs the last two years and losing the Finals against the Lakers in 2010. Milicic adds depth and a body to absorb fouls and preserve Kevin Garnett’s legs.

All in all, it’s a win-win situation. If he performs, it helps the team. If not, than nice seeing you Darko.

Here’s a famous video of Darko going psycho about some referees.

Photo (cc) by k1k0.com and republished here under a Creative Commons license. Some rights reserved.

10 Twitter Feeds You Should Follow

As a die-hard Celtics fan, I’m always looking for different stories regarding the team, and some of the most exciting news can be player transactions. When an acquisition is made, the first questions people ask are who’s coming and who’s going.

Fans are enamored by trades and signings because there’s a new player coming to town. They’re also going to try and figure out the impact the move is going to have now, and in the future.

So when the trade deadline gets close, or when free agency is about to begin, the internet is probably the best way to get wind of moves. Of course, most sites aren’t going to report on transactions unless their beat reporter has legitimate sources to back up what he or she is reporting.

So the best way to know what’s going on is following writers on Twitter.

Most sportswriters have Twitter accounts where they’ll break news as soon as they get it. In other words, they want to be the first to report it.

Through my experience with Twitter, I have found it to be extremely helpful in putting this blog together. Like what’s mentioned above, Twitter allows sportswriters to break news in real time. If a trade happens or news on an injury to a player occurs, then once it’s broken or announced, I can start a blog before most news sites even know what’s going on. Twitter will also help me on my beat as many of the writers will post links to their wall about a story that I might want to write about.

With saying that, here are ten Twitter feeds from people and organizations that will give you a “press pass” into the NBA and the Celtics.

1.) A.Sherrod Blakely – All Celtics fans should put Blakely’s Twitter feed at the top of their “Celtics News” list. He is the main Celtics Insider who’s usually the first to break any type of news regarding the Celtics and makes regular TV appearances on CSNNE during the basketball season. His feed not only breaks news, but has links to posts he has written for CSNNE and sometimes he answers fans questions about the Celtics.

2.) Adrian Wojnarowski – Is extremely knowledgeable and one of the top writers covering the NBA in the country. He has a lot of sources and is a go-to guy regarding trade rumors and news around the league. Following him would be wise. Wojnarowski’s feed is full of player signings and news from around the league.

3.) Bill Simmons – Now Simmons isn’t an NBA Insider, but he’s probably the first person in world to make a blog into a successful career way before anyone thought of utilizing one back in the late ’90s. His Twitter is well used. He’s also a diehard Celtics and basketball fan and some of his tweets are comical. Links to his website Grantland have interesting articles, which are supposedly written from a fan’s point of view.

4.) Marc Spears – Used to be the Celtics Insider before leaving to work for Yahoo! Sports on a national level. However, his Celtics sources still help him break news and announce player signings on his Twitter. His feed is currently full of player signings and links to stories he has written for Yahoo.

5.) Sam Amico – Like some of the other writers listed, his Twitter feed has many current player signings. The one difference that can be seen is he mixes his personal life with work. He likes to read, so he’ll post pictures of books he likes to read. In any case, he’s a reputable writer with good sources and knowledge of the game.

6.) Paul Pierce – Well all fans should follow the Celtics captain, because he’s…well….the Celtics captain! Pierce’s tweets usually consist of him tweeting to kids about staying fit and linking to his blog The Truth on Health, where he encourages young people to lead healthy lifestyles.

7.) Marc Stein – One of ESPN’s senior writers where he breaks news from around the league and has his ever popular NBA Power Rankings during the season, which he links from his Twitter. He also has links on his feed, and tweets for the other sports he covers at ESPN such as soccer and tennis. Despite that, basketball is the main sport he writes and tweets about.

8.) Gary Washburn – The main Celtics insider at the Boston Globe. He doesn’t use Twitter a lot, but during the basketball season he becomes a good source of Celtics information. Washburn has broken a lot of news and has good sources. He’s definitely worth following.

9.) Paul Flannery – An up and coming Celtics writer. He has funny tweets and is also a journalism professor at Boston University, so he’s going to lead by example. He also uses Twitter to post interesting articles about the Celtics on his blog Green Street, which can be found on WEEI.

10.) Boston Celtics – Well if you’re going to follow any Twitter feeds, you might as well follow the Celtics official feed. Fans can find interesting facts and quotes from former or current Celtics’ personnel. Videos of player interviews are uploaded all the time, and the good will the Celtics display through volunteering is highlighted here as well.

Fans can find all sorts of other Twitter links about the NBA or Celtics all across the internet, but these are a few that stand out and who’ve been made into very reputable sources of information.

If these writers and websites say something, than the odds are pretty good that they’re true.

Five Basketball Blogs That Will Keep You Informed

If you like websites such as ESPN, CSNNE, FoxSports, and Sports Illustrated but want more, then take a look at these five interesting blogs, especially if you’re a Celtics’ fan!

Over the last few years, Yahoo! Sports has emerged as a leader in breaking sports news or reporting on interesting stories. It has earned such a good reputation that many of the best sportswriters in America have left newspapers to go work at Yahoo!.

Being a reputable website also led Yahoo! to create blogs for different sports. For basketball, the blog Ball Don’t Lie has interesting stories that range from announcing player trades or signings, to President Obama’s obsession of playing pick-up basketball games to catching up with past players such as Celtics’ legend Bill Russell.

There’s a little bit of everything.

Aside from this, many of the sportswriters for each sport have their own blogs too. Here fans can find blogs for NBA experts Adrian Wojnarowski and Marc Spears who provide in-depth coverage of player movement and rumors.

If Yahoo! Sports is too broad with their coverage, then maybe SB Nation would satisfy a fan’s thirst for sports.

SB Nation is a site where everything is strictly blogs. This is a great site if fans want to get news for just the teams or region they live in. For example, there’s a SB Nation Boston with sites that follow under it for the teams in Boston such as CelticsBlog for the Celtics. SB Nation is a must visit for sports fans.

Like Yahoo!, NBC Sports jumped onto the sports blogging bandwagon as well.

It has ProBasketballTalk (PBT) and it’s a good site as it gives fans news from around the NBA, rumors, and articles on past and current players. The downside is the majority of articles are written by just one writer. However, it’s highly worth visiting, as it’s quite informative.

The last blog that will be highlighted is RealGM Basketball. There are good blogs here, as this site gathers all sorts of NBA news from the internet to form their articles. However, the highlight for this site is that all the current players in the NBA can be found in a database. For example, if you want to look up Paul Pierce and see all the news or stats regarding him; you click on his name and a page will come up with all sorts of information about his career. Another cool feature for this website is you can sort players out alphabetically, by team, position, or college etc.

These are just a few blogs that’ll interest you, but overall these websites will get you that basketball fix that you crave.

Photo (cc) by Will Brenner and republished here under a Creative Commons license. Some rights reserved.

The Celtics Through the Eyes of a Fan

The basketball season will soon commence and another quest for Banner #18 begins in November!

One of the main things that I hope to accomplish with this blog is to objectively inform Boston Celtics’ fans about the team.

There are plenty of blogs that give fans what they want to hear, meaning that they only point out certain aspects of a game or player. Now there’s nothing wrong with that, but I want to expand on that and talk about the pros and cons about an issue.

I won’t just blog about players or games as there’s a lot more going on about the Celtics. I’ll also post links to articles and write about an event or issue that involves a former player, trade rumors, and potential free agent signings.

Two sources that I’ll refer to frequently are Boston.com and the Boston Herald. These two websites are probably the most viewed news sources in the Boston area. They have legitimate writers with good knowledge of the team, and the websites frequently have good articles, especially during the season.

Another good site is CSNNE.com. This website has the closest ties to the Celtics than any other news outlet in the region and is strictly about sports. Comcast SportsNet (CSN) is the station that airs Celtics games, so it makes sense that they have a lot of information on the team. Plus they have A.Sherrod Blakely working as the Celtics’ Insider.

Outside of news and sports websites, there are a few other sites that are quite interesting and will help me form this blog. The main one is Basketball Reference and this site is a mecca for basketball statistics. Any and all possible stats that have been recorded since the NBA began can be found here.

I like humor and yardbarker.com has some good sports articles with a humorous twist to it, and fan forums, which provide a different perspective than the articles.

Many rumors about trades or free agent signings will come from hoopshype.com.

A lot of the information will also come from what I know, but many facts will be cited from these sources and many more that I find online.