With all of the tweets and photos from those lucky journalists who have the opportunity to attend the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics, I thought it seemed like a good idea to talk about sports journalism.
To pick up on the “Journo Resource Project” I had started late last year, today I want to talk about Grantland. Founded by ESPN’s Bill Simmons, Grantland offers a different view at sports reporting. Stories are less about the stats and more about what the reporter sees and knows. There are more personal intrepretations of athletic happenings from the writers.
Now, I personally do not read a lot of sports stories, but like a lot of people, I am a huge sucker for the Olympics. My younger self wanted to be an Olympic gymnast, but then I got really tall, so I changed my mind and wanted to do the triple jump on the world’s stage. Well, that didn’t happen either.
I just adore the amazing things that happen at the Olympics. Winter sports especially are so fascinating with the figure skating, snowboarding tricks and overall designs on their outfits.
Naturally, I have been following up on the events and hoping to catch some event during America’s prime time on NBC. Twitter and Facebook have been great tools of reading and seeing the different feats that happen while I’m sleeping. Thank you to the journalists who are there and working hard to bring us these treats.
Grantland has a lengthy article about Sochi, including information on the opening ceremonies, the scenery and athlete chat. You can read it here. Reporter Katie Baker did a killer job. As for my opinion on her style, it is excellent. Less on the negative of hotel conditions and how creepy some think the polar bear mascot looks. (It was overkill on these two topics.) I know, it may not be as perfect as past Olympic events, but come on, the Russians are doing an overall great job. (Remember, in MY opinion, and what do I know, I’m not there.)
As for Ms. Baker’s story, I loved it. I like this style of sports reporting. In my work, I cover both news and sports, and I let sports fall to my last priority. My editor noticed and suggested we work on bringing more to our sports readers. Lately, I have been working on including more feature stories on the local athletes in our sports section. We are trying to introduce the fans to the kids they see on the court.
Sometimes, it angers parents or friends of those who were not featured. That is the hard part. I mean, there are a lot of athletes, and they all deserve praise for their hard work. How do reporters cope with not including everyone, no idea. I haven’t figured it out.
I do think that new media is starting to move towards more exciting, inclusive and in depth sports reports, and I think this is what we need. Stats are informative, but understanding a person, atmosphere or situation can be informative and entertaining to readers. Let’s try and follow the Grantland way.
I also cannot wait to see more of team USA snatch up those medals!
God Bless America!