Sports Journalism in this new world: How the 2020 pandemic has changed the industry.
2020 changed our world in ways we never could of imagined, for many industries and businesses the pandemic lead to their closure and downfall. In a time when everything was stopped, including sports, sports journalists had to adapt and changed the way they work.
In a year that was supposed to have one of the biggest sporting events, 2020 was- you could say- anticlimactic. On the morning of March 24th, the Olympic Committee postponed the 2020 Olympics due to be held in Tokyo to the following year. For sports journalists, this started a frenzy. For the past 4 years, many of them have looked towards the Olympics as a huge source of material for writing. Especially, for sports journalists that specialise in sports that do not have a huge global platform and are more niche- for example, archery.
It is said by the Olympic Committee that around 6,000 Media professionals were set to attend the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo. However, Sports journalism during the Olympics isn’t just read because it attracts those interested in sports. It brings in a wider audience, Sports Illustrated media reporter Richard Deitsch says that ‘The Olympics have always been political’. The fascination with the Olympics would have pulled in a greater audience for many Sports Journalists.
Not only was the Olympics cancelled, sport around the world was put to a stop. With all major, and even local sporting events postponed- or cancelled. Therefore, from major sports reporters down to local sports commentators the sports journalism industry also came to a halt. Many local sports journalists were put on furlough, and considerable others were made redundant.
But what have Sports Journalists been having to do? Well, much of the writing would be focused on training and preparation for future events. Along with this, many sports articles have been discussing the future of their sports- and the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic on the sporting world. But now, with professional sport being allowed to continue they have more sources to write about. The job of a Sports journalist has changed to fit the new way of the world. Before, Sports journalists would report on the results and outcomes of sporting events, matches and games and would also commentate on this and discuss the impact. Now, it is down to Sports journalists to literally inform their readers of the outcome- as they could be the first source of this information. With many sporting events being held behind closed doors, a Sports journalist is now more important then ever.
An article on Journalism.co.uk speaks to Sports journalist Neil Walton, who writes for the Dorset Echo, Watson discusses how he was initially furloughed but now finds himself writing to inform his readers of the results. Walton uses multimodality, by tweeting during games. A common practice of Sports journalists. According to Walton engagement has remained the same if not increased as people have missed sport, and want to be involved and read about it. However, Walton also says that the pandemic has a detrimental effect on some sports’ engagement- like sailing, as the audience has dropped from previous years.
Evidently, the Covid-19 pandemic has affected us all in different ways. But the sports journalism industry took a serious hit. However, as we attempt to try and move towards a new normal- so are the sports journalists. 2021 will see the Olympic games, and with more and more sports journalists taking their platform online- Twitter, Instagram and Social Media will see an increase in sports journalism.