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.

Pat: Average Guy

To quote one of my high school teachers, “Im an average guy.” I am not an expert at any field; I am a run of the mill college student striving for knowledge. Should the fact that I’m average dictate whether I am allowed to share my opinion on the Internet or not?

Author Andrew Keen believes amateur journalists are contributing too much objective content to the Internet that it is beginning to drown out the truth provided by professional journalists. The average people in Keens mind need gatekeepers to disseminate information of importance to them. Without these, we would get lost in a jungle of information not knowing what is true and what is false.

I agree to a certain extent, having a structured system helps get vital information out to us, but we all have the right to also voice our opinion. One of the main problems Keen has with people voicing their opinions in blogs is that he thinks that journalists have consequences for what they write where as bloggers can say what they like and cant lose their jobs. The truth is though this is beginning to change. Defamation lawsuits are on the rise on the Internet. Businesses can now bring lawsuits against people who post untrue reviews of them.

I believe that we need both sides, traditional media and open running conversations about what is going on in the world through blogs and podcasts. These can supplement each other; they don’t always need to be in competition. The Mumbai terrorist attacks proved this. Citizens were blogging and using Twitter to get information out about what was going on during the attacks. These, along with traditional media coverage painted a real picture of what was going on.

Everyone deserves to have his or her voice heard, and sometimes what people have to say is amazing. More often than not, it is objective and shallow, but that doesn’t mean they don’t deserve to state what they believe.

Newspapers: Time to become personal again

Growing up I remember going outside every morning to pick up the two newspapers that my dad subscribed to and bring them inside to him. At that time I never thought I would see the day when newspapers were in such dire straights that large papers would be on the verge of closing their doors.

This is my first year taking classes in journalism and I hadn’t realized how much the Internet had affected traditional newspapers, in the last 5 months the problems print is facing is all I have been hearing about in class. Journalists are safe I believe if they learn new mediums but print is in major trouble with ad revenue down, and the amount of free content being offered on the Internet.

I agree with Henryk A. Kowalczyk, newspapers need to be saved. We will always need news, but if local newspapers continue to print more and more from the Associated Press, why would a community want to read their paper. Small communities want to know what is happening around them, and if their hometown paper is only going to give them small amounts of local news, why wont they turn to a local blogger who is more in touch with their wants.

Bloggers can stay up to date with local issues; they know what their various publics want to read. This is where traditional media is dropping the ball I feel. They need to pay attention to what their readers want and spend more time addressing local issues and less time talking about the lady in LA with quintuplets.