Baseball and the Media: How Fans Lose in Today's Coverage of the Game

By George Castle | Go to book overview

TEN
The Politics Of Baseball Media

Life imitates art in sports journalism—with one important exception. A talent can hit .350 in the minors in baseball, and he's almost always called up. There's no ignoring production. Whether he succeeds in the majors is a different story, but the top bush-league hitters and pitchers will usually get the summons.

But if a writer or broadcaster hits the equivalent of. 3 50 below the Major League level of media, he or she may never hit the big time, through no fault of the individual. They may not be “wired” into the right person. Or the ivory-tower management may not even be aware of the talent.

Reaching the major leagues of sports media requires plugging in to an old boys' network—women are still in a tiny minority in management. More than any other aspect of media, sports journalism is almost akin to entertainment and is managed accordingly. Relationships and reputations count as much as, and sometimes more than, natural ability.

Such a trend was apparent when media observers discussed the lack of African American sports editors for an Editor and Publisher article by Allan Wolper on March 7, 2005.

“White editors are often like the coaches they cover,” said Keith Woods, dean of the Poynter Institute for Media Studies. “They have an 'old boy' network and they take care of their friends.”

“Any time there is a closed hiring process, you have an ethical problem,” said Richard E. Lapchick, director of the Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport at the University of Central Florida. “The situation is similar to the time when there weren't any black quarterbacks.”

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