Monday, September 14, 2009

Good sports

Co-workers and visitors to our newsroom forever strike up conversations with them. They get the best opportunities for photos and videos. They have some of the best memorabilia. They're not bogged down with meetings and news releases. They grab their gear and go.

It's bad enough sports is the cool department in the newsroom, it's better at producing hyperlocal content and using social media.

But don't tell them I said so.

They probably have the best rapport with the public. They're constantly asked to cover sporting events, issues and personalities. On the news side, we're forever asked to promote, promote, promote, rewriting news releases and being treated like glorified -- and free -- PR agents.

The Sudbury Star, for example, live blogs Ontario Hockey League games, and the Winnipeg Free Press is doing the same with Blue Bomber games. On the news side, some online newspapers have live blogged elections or web streamed debates. Montrealers live blogged the shootings at Dawson College. The London Free Press in Ontario is covering play-by-play on a criminal trial using micro-blogs.

Sports is truly local since scores, information, photos and video of some games might not be found anywhere else, especially in smaller markets. And it generates a lot of comments from armchair coaches.

News can learn a lot from sports; planning our days better and devoting staff to generate interesting local content that will bring a lot of web hits. Let's give a foam finger to promotional news releases and use our news staff to cover truly local events, issues and people who deserve the attention. Time for us to be cool, too.

The Hyper Journalist


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