What should qualify as journalism?

Clare Behrman | Lindenlink Contributor


Clare Behrman

As someone looking to go into the sports journalism field, I was slightly offended when I heard people don’t consider sports coverage to be journalism.  Everyone is entitled to his or her opinion, but facts are facts.  Someone’s got to cover sports, just like someone needs to cover the other news of the day.

I fail to see how covering sports cannot pass as journalism.  If no one was to report on games or matches or races, the public would not know any of the results.  The only way to know the result would be to go to the game.  It’s similar to meteorology.  Say there are no meteorologists to report the weather.  How do we know when disaster will strike?  It just wouldn’t make sense to not have meteorologists.  Same goes for those in the sports world.

A comparison will help to clear the air.  Let’s take a field reporter versus a sports reporter.  A field reporter has to go on location and gather information.  Sports reporters do the same thing.

The positions are actually quite similar.  Field reporters tend to do hard hitting stories or investigative journalism.  Stories take them all over the station’s viewing area.

They may have to drive an hour, maybe an hour and a half to cover their assigned story.

In a way, it’s a little easier to predict where a sports reporter will have to go.  Games are scheduled months in advance so sports reporters have a general outline as to when they will be expected to cover an event.  As it is with all news, however, it’s subject to change.

The main exception to this normally predictive schedule is when a big story breaks.  The biggest sports story of the last year has been the scandal at Penn State.  For the first couple weeks following the incident, reporters had to be on call to get any piece of information.  It seemed as though every day, someone turned over a stone and got new dirt on the involved parties.

With the advancement of technology and web-based newspapers, editors want to get the information online as quickly as possible.  Therefore, reporters in any field need to be ready to go at a moment’s notice.  It’s just the way the business is.

People may say covering sports isn’t journalism.  To me, the only way to see it is as journalism.  We’re covering the news of the day, just like other journalists.  It’s not going to be the same topic, but it is journalism nonetheless.  It’s too bad that people don’t see it.  Maybe they’ll recognize it the first time the sports section of the newspaper is completely blank.