It's the era of specialization

Ah, the simpler days of the sports media world. Where did they go?

In this week’s cover feature, coaches of club teams reflect on the state of sports and athletes who play them and it’s not what it used to be. At least in time commitment.

High school kids might put in the same amount of time in practice and games as they used to during a season 10 and 20 years ago, they just don’t play as many sports anymore.

Three-sport athletes are far more rare because they are almost required to focus on one sport if they expect to earn some financial assistance from a college, whether it’s a scholarship or some tuition assistance.

If you want to be good enough to get noticed, you have to be special by focusing on one sport.

It works that way in the media world as well, and has writers of traditional media making the same comments about their profession. It was better the old way, when one publication was able to cover a wide variety of topics for a large audience. Competition wasn’t lacking, but the mix of print, radio and television survived from the advent of TV following World War II right on into the 21st century.

Today, the media world changes almost daily, which is part of social progress. Any sport or activity can get special attention if it has someone to provide it. Usually for free.

The consistent specialization, though, especially in blog form, has  continually sapped the ability of established media to keep tabs on larger issues affecting its community. Those issues would turn into features, the kind that involve some research and a bit of time to write.

Writers of today probably spend more time working their craft, but so much of it involves tweeting and blogging, and doesn’t get delivered to a larger audience, only the specialized one that follows their work through Facebook or Twitter.

That’s the challenge we’re tackling, attracting an audience to a collection of stories and features from a variety of specialized topics, something newspapers do, at least did back when there were still three-sport athletes.