The Sweeper: The Future of Soccer Journalism Debate

Journalism RIP

Big Story
There is an excellent debate going on at the pages of A More Splendid Life about the future of soccer journalism (or really, the future of journalism in general), with his post yesterday on the impending doom for us all as the “so-called “newspaper model” seems as yet irreplaceable when it comes to affording a living wage for journalists”.

This sparked something of a debate as a few pointed out some blogs have found ways to generate significant income. Certainly, and good for them. But it’s quite clear how one has to target editorial content very specifically to generate significant traffic and monetary reward. The time and expense needed to do serious longform journalism — including travel — is not rewarded well monetarily in the online era, even if you end up writing the greatest 2,000 word blog post ever on African youth development.

Richard’s follow-up post today addresses this very well.

I know there is a route whereby money can be made from bloggin’ about soccer, and I know several of us have commandeered that route with great success. However, that approach, sorry to say, has little or nothing to do with the sort of long-form journalism and first person reporting we’ve come to take for granted from print media.

For one, a money-making approach to blogging requires one, in part, to cover those areas that will garner the most web traffic possible. Because newspapers were traditionally purchased as a whole unit, leaving consumers at the whim of the entire editorial staff to read what they chose to cover, beat writers had the luxury of chasing some out-of-the-way stories on their individual merit, rather than having each and every individual tailored to the interest of the broadest audience possible.

Will this freedom ever be possible in the era of digital content? Answers on a postcard, please.

Worldwide News

  • It’s lockdown in Sudan ahead of the Algeria-Egypt World Cup playoff game. We all heard about the violence surrounding the weekend’s clash, with the head of the Algerian football federation Mohammed Raouraoua stoking the fire by blaming his Egyptian counterpart Samir Zaherfor the trouble. “He is the origin of all the events that occurred, including the barbaric aggression that injured… our players,” Mr Raouraoua said.
  • England’s World Cup bid has been much criticised, with FA Chairman Lord Triesman under fire, but David Conn suggests much of this furor may be fueled by another agenda: Triesman’s occasional critiques of the Premier League.
  • Relegated Oita Trinita will receive $6.7m in emergency funding in Japan, the first time the new fund has been dipped into.
  • Alex Ferguson expresses his distaste for the increasingly prominent role played by agents, in a speech contrasting past and present.
  • Authorities in Cyprus are taking the unpleasant step of forcing all fans to present state ID cards to purchase match tickets, saying they need to enforce banning orders as violence continues to plague the sport there.
  • There is an absolutely disgraceful piece of “journalism” in The Times today (the freedom of the old model still generates plenty of crap), as James Ducker attempts to polish the image of Manchester City Chairman Garry Cook, much vilified in the past for his greedy, elitist ideas. It’s all fair and good to say we should take another look at Cook or his ideas, but please don’t present as your main piece of evidence the fact that he helped rescue your credit card at a fancy restaurant, James. Maybe journalism is already dead.

The Sweeper appears daily. For more rambling and links throughout the day every day, follow your editor Tom Dunmore @pitchinvasion on Twitter.

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