Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Where Have All the Sports Writers Gone?: The Athletic Sports Journalism Revolution Has Arrived!

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TA timn
CC BY-SA 4.0 License.

One of the biggest sports stories of 2017 was not about the many different athletes and teams from all sports who are on and off the field but rather about the writers and reporters whose job it is to cover them and their stories.

2017 was the year that signaled a definitive shift in how sportswriters and reporters would go about doing their jobs and how fans would consume their fair share of sports stories as a result of a significant amount of layoffs at ESPN, FOX Sports and other sports media outlets. The main reasons for these layoffs taking place appears to have been done in an effort to cut costs and salaries at ESPN while at FOX Sports, the head decision makers who were there and in charge at the time appeared to do so in an effort to change the overall look of the website to one that now shows video highlights and promotes the various personalities and shows that can be seen on FOX Sports. As a sports fan myself, I can tell you that I did not like it very much when I saw what the new look of the FOX Sports website now looks like. As a matter of fact, I have not really visited it very much at all since the changes were made.

While all of the writers and reporters have gotten back on their feet and have found a new job since being laid off or eliminated, not all of them have found a new job all at the same place. A vast majority of those writers and reporters though have found a new job at the one place which is relatively new to the online sports journalism landscape. This new media outlet is the the online sports news journalism website called The Athletic. The Athletic is a new paid subscription based sports news website that offers a wide variety of the latest news and coverage across all major professional sports leagues as well as most of the teams in each league in a wide number of cities across the United States and Canada. It was officially launched and created in 2016 in the city of Chicago, Illinois by Alex Mather and Adam Hansmann.

If you are a sports fan like me and have already gotten a subscription to The Athletic then good for you. If you have not done so yet, I highly recommend that you get one as soon as possible. I have had one now myself for a little over a year now and it has been well worth my time and money spent.

Of the numerous professional sports leagues that are covered on The Athletic the one whose stories I follow the most are for Major League Baseball (MLB). While I have not looked at or read too many of the other stories from the other writers on The Athletic's roster who cover some of the other sports besides baseball, I do plan on checking out some of the other writers who cover the other sports and the stories that they have written at some point.

Ken Rosenthal Photo (Top) Courtesy Of:
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Jayson Stark Photo (Bottom) Courtesy Of:
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Furthermore, two of the writers who were affected in one way or another by the changes at both ESPN and FOX Sports now write stories and cover the sport of Major League Baseball (MLB) for The Athletic. Those two writers are Ken Rosenthal and Jayson Stark who both joined The Athletic after spending time at both FOX Sports and ESPN respectively.

In Ken Rosenthal's case it should be noted that while he is no longer serving in his role as a writer for FOX Sports, he is still a current member of the weekly MLB On Fox broadcasts on TV as a reporter. It is a different story for Jayson Stark who is no longer an employee at ESPN due to the layoffs. The good news though is that since then Mr. Stark has found a new job at both MLB Network (MLBN) and the Stadium network. Since they both cover the sport of Major League Baseball (MLB) I have read quite a few of the stories that they have written since they started working for The Athletic.

While it was somewhat disappointing to see companies like ESPN and FOX Sports layoff a large number of their writers and or reporters over the course of the last couple of years or so for one reason or another, it is nice to see that a majority of those same writers and or reporters have been able to get back on their feet fairly quickly thanks to the arrival of subscription based websites such as The Athletic.

The model of sports websites like The Athletic also illustrate another valuable lesson in terms of the overall impact that the profession of journalism and great in depth reporting can have on the consumers who choose to read about the latest news and developments. Hopefully that lesson is that the role of a sports writer or reporter can still be one that is very valuable today in an ever changing world in the workforce.

As a fan it is nice to know that there is now a new place where I can go to read some of the most in-depth sports stories from some of the top sportswriters in the country. I have enjoyed the experience so much to this point that I plan on being a loyal reader and subscriber to The Athletic for many years to come. During the year or so in which I have had a subscription, it has certainly been more fun and interesting that when the entire sports journalism landscape went dark for a few months when there was almost nothing to read about at all.

Tim Musick-Copyright 2018
All Rights Reserved. 

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