By Roy Reiss
Did you happen to notice how the University of Arizona recently announced the hiring of their new football coach?
And the new Arizona football coach and his family is……. http://t.co/kiCBPDdO
— Greg Byrne (@Greg_Byrne) November 22, 2011
“And the new Arizona football coach and his family is…..” tweeted Athletic Director Greg Byrnes. It included a link to an iPhone photo of Byrnes, the new coach and his family. No formal press statement, no news conference, rather a unique and novel announcement using the social media, thus bypassing the traditional method.
We already see the Patriots utilizing twitter to announce some signings, roster movement and other transactions. Picture the Red Sox announcing their new manager in this fashion. Or for that matter, any team choosing this route to communicate with their followers. Teams can control the message being delivered in the manner they desire which is a fascinating concept after so many years of depending on the traditional media.
Is it a sign of the times? Is this the way clubs will reach out to their fans in the future? If so how will this impact the people covering teams and those ready to enter the news gathering world?
It’s an interesting subject that’s being debated daily in many newsrooms of the traditional media and the new media around the country. And hopefully in the classrooms for those aspiring young journalists at institutions of higher learning from coast to coast.
The role of the traditional beat person, electronic and print, in this new environment is becoming more clearly defined. Being first with a story isn’t quite as important as it used to be. Within minutes everyone knows and moves on to the next phase, thus diminishing the impact of who had the story first.
What is ultimately more important is the why. Insight and communicating with the sports consumer is the “new” method of reaching and cultivating a following.
Those on the outside can watch a Bobby Valentine managerial news conference as it happens. They can digest his every sentence and form their own opinions. So the role of the reporter is to offer something different rather than to spit back what the new Sox manager has just said. It’s called “value-added insight”. What does it all mean? And how will it impact the team and ultimately its fans?
Today’s fans are highly educated and expect more from the media than ever before. There’s videos, audio podcasts, and most importantly many avenues for the fan’s voice to be heard on just about every media platform. The new age reporter has to be multi faceted.
No longer is it acceptable to simply stick a microphone in front of an athlete and then report back what they said. The need is to take that statement or quote and bring it to the next level for a fan base that’s hungry for information and insight.
This week the media reported once again on the Jeff Saturday/Robert Kraft relationship that evolved from the NFL contract talks this past summer. It was old news delivered the same old way which offered little in the way of advancing a possible interesting story. Did anyone mention that Saturday will be a free agent at the end of the year, and maybe his relationship with the Patriots owner could influence his decision as to where to play in 2012? That’s what the story should have been.
Now and moving forward in this exciting media landscape, “value-added insight” will determine who in the media comes out on top.
Roy Reiss, who started his career working for Curt Gowdy Broadcasting, was a former sportscaster on Channel 7. His son Mike now covers the Patriots for ESPNBoston.