The discussion of the writer who broke the story about McGwire's PED during the 1998 home run chase got me thinking again about the uniqueness of covering sports as opposed to other sections in the paper.
With sports writing, there is a relationship between the writer and the communications department, the communications department with the team and the writer with the team. This three-way relationship can be straining or rewarding, but always requires a lot of work. It can allow writers to form personal bonds with their subjects, which can lead to those writers breaking stories if their sources feel a connection with them. At the same time, it can be challenging when a writer has to write a negative story on the team, sometimes on a person who the writer has developed a close bond with. Then, after writing the piece, the writer has to continue talking to the team everyday. It's a fragile business, and I can relate to it personally.
The overall theme of the first article of sports as the toy department is something I can relate to as well. From my experience with The Temple News, sports is the section that people working at the paper care least about. It's not as serious as the other sections, they say. It's not real news. But sports reporting is just as important as any other kind of reporting, and I pride myself on being a good reporter. Last year, as a part of the paper's annual awards nominations, it was between myself and the assistant news editor at the time for the award of "Reporter of the Year." I lost the nomination to him.
I really enjoyed Kevin Blackistone's article. I've been an admirer of his journalism for some time, and his academic writing is just as good. The article got me thinking about the racial constructs of sports, not just in participation, but in coverage and audience, something I haven't really done before. Obviously the NFL and NBA are dominated by black athletes, but the article points out that those sports' audiences are become increasingly black, while the percentage of black journalists covering the sports is decreasing.
It surprised me to learn that the number of black journalists has been decreasing during the past few seasons, and I'm not sure I understand why. I would think that overall, newspapers have been making cuts, so black journalists are losing jobs just like everybody else. But I am surprised that the numbers have been consistently decreasing.
Overall, the article makes me think that sports are played mostly by people of color, watched mostly by people of color, but the luxury of interpreting the sports is reserved for privileged whites.