A Sports Fans Take On Print vs. Online

Print news is not dying, but it is struggling in the sports world. Newspapers may be closing their doors each week, but people are still reading. The Internet will not completely wipe out newspapers anytime soon, but it has distinct advantages.

Online news sources have an advantage over print because it is possible for them to break news instantaneously. For me, the majority of my Internet activity is spent checking updates for my favorite sports team, the San Francisco 49ers. Sports writers such as Matt Maiocco from the Santa Rosa Press Democrat are assigned a team and update constantly on that teams activities.

While sports writers write daily columns, they also update daily on team activity and some of the news they write about for the paper has already been out there for a day. Writing a story about a teams major trade or signing is usually late the next day, the majority of fans have known about it since the time the signings happened.

The problem with the up to the minute sports news is that it isn’t always correct. Rumors are flying around, especially right now because free agency begins for football tonight and it’s hard to know what is fact and what is fiction. People are always speculating about who a team will pick up but a majority of the time it is just rumors and flat out isn’t true.

Print readership has dropped some in the last couple years, but it is still holding strong with a majority of the public. Print has the advantage of having time to verify stories and to fact check to get through the rumors and pick out the absolute facts. Newspapers don’t usually print trade rumors, they usually leave that to their bloggers and to people on message boards.

Another advantage is that when say a football team wins the Super Bowl, the paper, usually a hometown paper with the cover story becomes a collector’s item. I know this because I personally know people who have all the San Francisco Chronicle sports pages for the 49ers five Super Bowls.

The problem though is yet again with up to the minute sports coverage. ESPN can break a story at 9 a.m. on Thursday morning and that doesn’t hit print until Friday morning. That turn around is too slow; people want their news right now. The print stories may be well written, but sometimes we only need the facts about a major event.

Both up to the minute sports news and printed thought through articles are important, at least for a die-hard sports fanatic like myself. I use both because sometimes I want the facts and sometimes I want the in-depth coverage of a story that will give me quotes from players and coaches. These two both have their flaws and advantages, but with them both you can receive the whole story, not just a part.


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