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.

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Kris Joseph Earns Final Roster Spot

WEEI has reported that 2nd-round draft pick and small forward Kris Joseph has earned the 15th and final roster spot for the Celtics.

The 6’7″ Joseph played four years at Syracuse University before getting drafted by the Celtics this past June.

His best game during the preseason was against the Brooklyn Nets where he scored 11 points in just 12 minutes, while shooting 5 for 7 from the floor. Joseph also grabbed five rebounds in the blowout win.

Analysis

Unless the trade of a lifetime comes across Danny Ainge’s desk, the 2012-2013 roster is pretty much set.

It seems now that Rob Kurz and Micah Downs will be getting cut since Joseph got the last roster spot. This was expected once it came down to him, Kurz and Downs.

At the beginning of training camp, I thought Dionte Christmas would get the last roster spot as he was tremendous during the Summer League, while Joseph was up and down. It seemed even more set in stone once Keyon Dooling retired, but Christmas struggled against seasoned NBA veterans. After Leandro Barbosa was signed, it seemed that Joseph would make the team over Kurz and Downs because of his skill set.

Joseph also helped himself by playing hard through anything that Doc Rivers threw at him. He opened eyes with his scoring ability and willingness to get into the paint for a basket during a few games in the preseason. He also rebounded and kept his turnover ratio down, which is a very good thing. All things considered, he did well.

Now despite making the team, his roster spot is in no way secured for the long haul. His contract doesn’t become guaranteed until January 10, so between now and then, and in the words of Kevin Garnett: Anything is possible.

So looking ahead, what does the future hold for Joseph?

It’s a good bet he won’t see playing time while he’s with the big club this season. Unless, Jeff Green or Paul Pierce go down for an extended period of time, and I sure as hell hope that doesn’t happen, look for him to go play in the NBADL with the Celtics affiliate, the Maine Red Claws. Up there, he’ll learn the offense and defense a little bit better, and will get the playing time he needs to keep active. If Joseph is part of the Celtics’ future, then there’s no point in having him ride the pine for 82 games. Having him get experience is the best thing for him.

Photo (cc) by Stephanie Rita Hart and republished here under a Creative Commons license. All 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.