Losing my (ACC media) edge
Posted April 22, 2013
In a recent issue of The Basketball Times, U.S. Basketball Writers Association president John Akers looked at the influence of the ACC Tournament on journalism and how the 60-year-old event created a region of longstanding sports writers.
Caulton Tudor, Lenox Rawlings and Barry Jacobs are just a few of the writers who cite covering the ACC Tournament as something they aspired to and went as far as to influence career choices down the road. As the influence of the tournament has waned, argues Akers, so has its grip on the younger generation of journalists.
"There are plenty of reasons for concern that the next generation of ACC writers might not be such as lasting one," writes Akers. "Call it a cultural change."
However, it's not the culture that's changed. It's the business.
For starters, the newspaper industry is in its current position because of a failure to adapt to the shifting media landscape. As a result, plenty of young writers who have done outstanding work on their respective beats aren't sticking around. It's hard to when the newspaper keeps putting them on furlough, moves their copy desk to an office in Chicago or simply buys them out. Those who decided to stay and plug away at their paper must deal with vanishing travel budgets and constantly changing corporate visions.
Even the notion of "writer" is antiquated. Folks who want to get somewhere in the sports media game must be multitasking content generators for various platforms. There were plenty of those in Greensboro back in March and all of the work was accessible if one cared to look beyond a physical paper. We're living in an era where sports consumers have an incredible amount of resources to choose from and there are talented people providing it.
Which makes it even more ironic The Basketball Times doesn't make their articles available in digital form, yet I discovered it through social media thanks to Shawn Krest. The publication prides itself on being "old school," where I just see it as limiting your audience.
Krest has his own thoughts on the article, correctly pointing out the current crew of media members works and plays just as hard as the old heads. Where Krest treads lightly in not wanting to insult the older generation, I have no problems pointing out that lamenting the loss of the good ol' days ruins the enjoyment of the present.
David Teel of the Daily Press, a veteran media member who does a fantastic job embracing the new platforms available, actually got it the other way around when recalled some of the legendary hospitality room antics of Bill Brill.
"The new crowd didn't appreciate the irony and humor involved in any of it," Teel said. "It was like, 'Who is this old codger and why do I care what he thinks?"
Speaking only for myself, the appreciation has always been there. I think most others in the current generation would say the same thing. Without those "codgers," who many of us read while getting into the business, where else would one gain an appreciation for history?
Don't become the ACC version of LCD Soundsystem's "Losing My Edge," getting caught up in retaining your relevance as the old institutions of media give way to a decentralized landscape with more voices and views. You'll find that actually, everybody is really nice.