Earl Warren, the man who investigated the death of President J. F. Kennedy, provides a delightful insight into the simple differences between the two forms of journalism; however, he could not have known his words would breed life into the notion that sports journalism is an oxymoron. What Earl Warren believed to be true, concerning the back page, has changed.
Sports writer for the Daily Telegraph Josh Massoud believes that “sports journalism now can be really confronting; it’s not about covering games or hamstring injuries, it’s about pretty tough news in itself.”
Massoud was a key reporter for the Daily Telegraph throughout the ASADA investigations into all Australian footballing codes that was smeared across the front and back pages of almost every paper in Australia. He believes it was truly a dark day not only for sport but sports journalism.
Amongst other scandals, the ASADA investigation that spanned almost a year began to push aside the glorious world of Australian sport, placing it within a dark, murky maelstrom, deep in the modern media complexity that is sporting journalism. It changed the face of Australian sports reporting forever.
Sporting scandals and triumphs that have bestowed themselves on the front and back pages include Lance Armstrong’s drug scandal, O.J Simpson’s murder trial, Black Caviar’s record breaking win on Australian Turf, and the Sydney 2000 Olympics.
Sport is no longer a separate part of our daily lives; it finds itself tossed in amongst our everyday happenings and we often owe more to sport than we let on. For that reason, we must recognise the role that sporting journalism has in our lives, on the back page, and on the front.
It was the legendary American sports Journalist Howard Corsell who said, “Sports is the toy department of human life”. In the same vein that Earl Warren’s words were, Corsell’s statement has been manipulated and thus interpreted as a savage distain for sporting journalism.
If great writers such as Ernest Hemingway, Hunter. S .Thompson and Scott Fitzgerald all began their careers as sports writers, it must make you re-think the level of distinction that “real journalists” give themselves over that of “the toy department” that is known as sports journalism.
Jesse Arundell, co-owner of Undisputed Sports, an online based publication, believes that he knows the true meaning of sporting journalism.
“Sports Journalism should be on the front page because we deal with almost everything that the others [news Journalists] deal with, just on a different more communicable level,” he told the Newsroom.
Sports coverage has grown in importance as sport itself has grown in wealth, power and influence. And it is no longer a paradox within the world of journalism. – Gavin Taylor
Top photo from Hector Alejandro’s Flickr photostream.