I didn't like the way the Salwen piece was structured and written, nor did I find the content to be particularly persuasive or original. He throws a laundry list of studies and ideas at founded by other men at the reader without offering any compelling arguments of his own. He doesn't use these studies to make any general point, at least one that is obvious.
I can relate to some of the studies that he references though, particularly the one that states that newspaper editors don't take the sports section seriously. In my job as Asst. Sports Editor of The Temple News last year and Sports Editor this year, I often think that the work in my section, which I think produces the most consistently good content out of any in the paper, goes under appreciated by the higher ups at the paper. Whether it's because the editors aren't particularly interested in sports, or because of the old phrase that Sports is the toy section of the newspaper, which Salwen mentions, I'm not sure. But I certainly agree with the notion that the sports section isn't taken as seriously as it should be.
The Hancherick article, in its discussion about the related history between sports and sports journalism, got me thinking about my own views on sports and writing about sports. I've known I wanted to be a sports journalist since I was in middle school. At first, I wanted to do it because I wanted to get paid to talk about sports. I entered the profession as a sports fan. But now, after having more than two years experience as a sports writer, I've come to fall in love with sports journalism itself. I don't consider myself the zealous sports fan that I was two years ago, but rather pride myself on a level-headed, unbiased, fair analysis of sports that comes with the job of a sports journalist.
I think one of the things that makes sports journalism stand out is the niche audience that the section has. Sports fans are going to read the sports section everyday because they follow their teams by definition. That doesn't come with other sections of the paper.