The challenges sports journalism faces today

The challenges sports journalism faces today - Johan Cruyff Institute

“Suddenly man has become a nomadic gatherer of knowledge. He is more nomadic than ever, better informed than ever, and freer than ever from fragmented specialization. He is also more implicated than ever in the total social process since, with electricity, we are extending our central nervous system globally and relating it instantaneously with the entire human experience”. ~ Marshall McLuhan

This is an extract from McLuhan’s 1967 work titled “Understanding the media: the extensions of the human being”, a classic on mass communication. Recognized as one of the founders of mass media studies, McLuhan was a great visionary for the present and future information society. Without knowing how far technology would evolve, he coined the term “global village” in the early 70’s to describe human interconnection on a global scale.

Now, in 2013, we live in this globalized world with the arrival of the Internet as well as information and communication technologies that represent a before and after in the evolution of our society. There is not a piece of information or sport occurrence that cannot be researched in a question of minutes thanks to the Internet, the network that binds us, brings audiences closer together and sustains an economic, social and cultural spectacle in constant evolution. That is how we manage the social networks that, among other things, have made us think we are experts in every kind of sport. One need only check the Twitter timeline or look at Facebook to see the need of this generation to stay informed and even feel like active participants in the information about that same occurrence.

This is the most important challenge facing sport journalists today. They must evolve, renew themselves, and become more professional in every sense of the word. They need to understand that they are the link for common progress between the media and sport. In order for sport to grow, there needs to be a quality sport journalism culture surrounding it. It is no longer enough just to narrate and transmit what is being witnessed in a sport event. The commentary must be more critical and interpretive, with an emphasis on adding color, understanding and depth to the economic processes that surround sport. Then we need to categorize them, avoid third-hand information and not underestimate the criteria of readers or spectators at any moment.

In other words, we need to provide them with comprehensive information on the occurrence and interpret public opinion to create greater credibility in a given medium of communication

It is for this reason, especially now that there are specialized study programs in the sport world, that we can turn to opportunities like the Sport Management program offered by the Johan Cruyff Institute to gain more depth in the modern world of professional sport. It is not enough only to know the main actors, the athletes. Instead we must delve into all areas within sport such as administration, leadership and marketing to be able to show spectators the causes for success or failure. In my professional development, which is 100% linked to televised and radio transmission of sport events, it is very important to know and understand the “hows “ and “whys” of everything that makes up the sport world.

In the words of Johan Cruyff himself, actually a famous statement: “The problem today in football is that the people in charge know very little”.

Angelica Cayon is a columnist, radio producer and coordinator at Televisa Deportes, the largest media company in the Spanish-speaking world and one of the major players in the entertainment business worldwide. Angelica has worked at  World Cup events since 1994.

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