4. Future of Investigative Reporting
RCS: When we talk about undervalued writing, it seems necessary to discuss investigative reporting. As newspapers around the country struggle, one of the big concerns for sports media – and media in general – is that investigative journalism will also struggle. Yet, stories such as the UConn recruiting scandal have been broken by online sources like Yahoo! Sports.
You’ve worked in both print media and online media. Do you think going forward sports blogs and major sports websites will be able to produce satisfactory investigative reports to pick up slack for slashed newspaper budgets?
Doyel: Major sports websites, absolutely. Blogs? No chance.
Breaking a story like the UConn deal is almost always going to require the kind of access unavailable, almost by definition, to a blogger. We'll see more and more examples of a story "breaking" on a blog, but those will usually be a blog's posting of an unconfirmed rumor that a newspaper or online site then picked up and confirmed. So who would deserve the credit, the rumor-hearer or the rumor-confirmer? The confirmer. Every time. Online sites will (continue to) break stories. But newspapers were best at it, because of their ability to pay close attention to whatever school/team is in their coverage area.
The newspaper industry's lack of resources means two things. One, a rising number of stories that a newspaper would have broken first will now be broken, at a later date, online. Two, a rising number of stories that once would have been exposed will never be exposed at all. And that second part really sucks.