The Athletic “gutting” British newspapers

RussellWilson

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Journalists seem to think they have some insight into football beyond your knowledgeable fan. They don't as we have often seen with basic mistakes in articles. I'd say many posters on forums like this have more knowledge.

Insight from some top professionals on the game is interesting. Journalists....really really not.
 

Pogue Mahone

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Journalists seem to think they have some insight into football beyond your knowledgeable fan. They don't as we have often seen with basic mistakes in articles. I'd say many posters on forums like this have more knowledge.

Insight from some top professionals on the game is interesting. Journalists....really really not.
They do, though. Literally. They have access to players/staff that shmucks like us will never get. Hence they have insights that we don’t. They can also write. Which again differentiates them from wannabe online football analysts, with their great walls of tedious text about trequartistas and pivots.
 

littlepeasoup

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Journalists seem to think they have some insight into football beyond your knowledgeable fan. They don't as we have often seen with basic mistakes in articles. I'd say many posters on forums like this have more knowledge.

Insight from some top professionals on the game is interesting. Journalists....really really not.
You seem to lump all journalists together, but like all walks of life there are some people who excel at their craft, and there are some who don't. I would rather read an article that is well reasoned, researched and written than some nonsense spouted by a 'top' professional who has access to a laptop and too much time on their hands. Your post is, at the very least, incredibly reductive.
 

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Journalists seem to think they have some insight into football beyond your knowledgeable fan. They don't as we have often seen with basic mistakes in articles. I'd say many posters on forums like this have more knowledge.

Insight from some top professionals on the game is interesting. Journalists....really really not.
There will be some big name footballers writing for them. Otherwise they’d end up being merked by other companies.
 

JPRouve

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The only thing that bothers me with this is that I know what type of articles I will get from NHL or NFL journalists/analysts/nerds. For example I have read Arif Hassans articles for years and I have an interest for that type of things but football coverage is generally extremely superficial, so I wonder what these journalist that haven't really provided special contents in the past are going to do for The Athletic.
 

BluesJr

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I really hate the way football writers think they're a part of the story these days.
Twitter has allowed this to be the case. They think their opinions have a greater value than that of a fan. They also make the mistake in thinking they know the game more. They don’t.
 

R'hllor

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Well, first there was a referee transfer how they called it, now they using same term for journos, so desperate to enforce them self into football with this mantra of their thinking how they are really important in world of football, its actually sad. Fans chanting agents name yesterday, whole thing went to shit.
 

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Silly journo's, no idea why anyone would pay to read their stuff. The excessive coverage has lead to almost all of it being completely pointless. After match interviews are usually the worst offenders with all these mediatrained half wits.

Sooo, you won 12-0 and scored 11 of the goals and assisted the other one, how do you feel??

Yeah, uh, it's, uh, a team effort you know, uhh, I'm just happy for the team and uh, yeah, it's a teamsport.

Groundbreaking piece of fecking history.

I would pay to have someone funny invent post match interviews rather than paying someone to actually do them.
 

BluesJr

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This will not work in the UK. People only really care about transfer news that’s where our need for journos is, the majority of people will not pay to read match reports/insight pieces that will be on reddit within 10 minutes anyway.
 

Lebowski

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I think your opinion on sports journalism as a profession tends to depend on the sort of content you like to consume.

If your only experience to it is via transfer speculation, news and attack pieces on manager/player futures then you're likely to have a fairly low opinion of the profession. If you like to read op-eds, historical accounts, tactical analysis or in-depth public interest pieces then you'll develop more respect for the journalists that painstakingly research, prepare and produce it.

It's a broad church so I find some of what I can best describe as hatred / utter dismissal of the profession as a little reductive to say the least.

In terms of this development, it's indicative of a wider trend and whilst it's something I expected and understand, it isn't something I'm personally very happy with.

The idea that tech VF (who will throw money at any white elephant that has a decent pitch and strokes their ego) is the only way that good sports journalism is sustainable is a sad indictment.

As newspapers see their audience dwindle and become more and more reliant on ad revenue than actual sales, clicks are the name of the game. Why pay a writer who meticulously conducts research, interviews and fact checking to produce one article every couple of weeks when it gets less clicks than the intern paid a fraction of that who can churn out ten listicles and empty transfer nonsense every day?

We've seen the effect of this on journalism as a whole in the gutting of some of the most talented and respected journalists and the scaling down of most 'old' news outlets.

If a subscription model is the future for well researched and written content on sport, then so be it. It's just a shame as to me this basically ends the idea that they could coexist peacefully - i.e. we're not far from seeing a total divide between outlets that do lowest common denominator stuff for clicks and those that charge a subscription for higher brow content.

Like another poster already said, the net effect of this is that fewer and fewer people get to read the latter, particularly people without the resources and inkling to pay (poor people, young people, communities where the idea to subscribing to a high-brow journal isn't considered). That then results in the next generation of journalists coming from an even smaller pool of society and the content they write being from an even smaller grounding.

It's not the end of the world, but it's a worrying (if perhaps inevitable) move in sports journalism.
 

RussellWilson

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They do, though. Literally. They have access to players/staff that shmucks like us will never get. Hence they have insights that we don’t. They can also write. Which again differentiates them from wannabe online football analysts, with their great walls of tedious text about trequartistas and pivots.
I meant insight into the game from a tactical perspective ie. Their views on the game not what they glean from their contacts/ interviews. They may have access to people in the game but interviews are rehashed a 100 times across different platforms. We won't miss out on any of that.

It's why the Sunday supplement is so crap. Hacks talking about the game, I might as well be in the pub listening to the same clicheed nonsense you hear from your average fan.
 

RussellWilson

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You seem to lump all journalists together, but like all walks of life there are some people who excel at their craft, and there are some who don't. I would rather read an article that is well reasoned, researched and written than some nonsense spouted by a 'top' professional who has access to a laptop and too much time on their hands. Your post is, at the very least, incredibly reductive.
I've not read many journalists in football that can write in depth on the tactical side of the game. Care to share anyone on the above list that does?

The NFL has it. Football journalism is far behind on analytics writing front.
 

Pogue Mahone

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I meant insight into the game from a tactical perspective ie. Their views on the game not what they glean from their contacts/ interviews. They may have access to people in the game but interviews are rehashed a 100 times across different platforms. We won't miss out on any of that.

It's why the Sunday supplement is so crap. Hacks talking about the game, I might as well be in the pub listening to the same clicheed nonsense you hear from your average fan.
The Sunday supplement is crap because journalists earn a living as competent writers, which has no bearing on whether they’re any good at talking.

A good piece of writing about football doesn’t require any kind of forensic knowledge about tactics. Personally, I find that stuff painfully dull. Even more so when it’s churned out football fans online, who aren’t skilled at writing. There’s an absolute shitload of tedious thinkpieces online from various bloggers, free of charge, if screeds of text about tactics is your jam but I’d rather stick pins in my eyes than read all that crap.

The football journalists I enjoy reading are able to capture and convey the essence of what keeps us coming back to watch football. Or share a well researched personal opinion with the sort of eloquence and clarity that might make us think a little differently about certain managers/players/clubs.

All of which has bugger all to do with how well they understand geggenpresse or the role of a false nine.
 

littlepeasoup

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I've not read many journalists in football that can write in depth on the tactical side of the game. Care to share anyone on the above list that does?

The NFL has it. Football journalism is far behind on analytics writing front.
To be honest, I'm with Pogue, I tend to shy away from more tactically-heavy articles, and tend to read more human-centric stories, things that Oliver Kay and Daniel Taylor do really well, so I wouldn't be able to point you in any one direction. For me, good journalism doesn't have to be awash with tactics and charts of player movements and plays to be good.

It just seems we're looking for different things when it comes to sports journalism, which is totally fine.

Saying that, I'm not sure you'll ever get anything close to the analytical writing for football that you do for the NFL. I just think the NFL is inherently a much more tactical game and when you have a sport where playbooks are as thick as encyclopaedias naturally a lot of the journalistic discourse around that sport is going to be focused on tactics.
 

MikeUpNorth

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I think your opinion on sports journalism as a profession tends to depend on the sort of content you like to consume.

If your only experience to it is via transfer speculation, news and attack pieces on manager/player futures then you're likely to have a fairly low opinion of the profession. If you like to read op-eds, historical accounts, tactical analysis or in-depth public interest pieces then you'll develop more respect for the journalists that painstakingly research, prepare and produce it.

It's a broad church so I find some of what I can best describe as hatred / utter dismissal of the profession as a little reductive to say the least.

In terms of this development, it's indicative of a wider trend and whilst it's something I expected and understand, it isn't something I'm personally very happy with.

The idea that tech VF (who will throw money at any white elephant that has a decent pitch and strokes their ego) is the only way that good sports journalism is sustainable is a sad indictment.

As newspapers see their audience dwindle and become more and more reliant on ad revenue than actual sales, clicks are the name of the game. Why pay a writer who meticulously conducts research, interviews and fact checking to produce one article every couple of weeks when it gets less clicks than the intern paid a fraction of that who can churn out ten listicles and empty transfer nonsense every day?

We've seen the effect of this on journalism as a whole in the gutting of some of the most talented and respected journalists and the scaling down of most 'old' news outlets.

If a subscription model is the future for well researched and written content on sport, then so be it. It's just a shame as to me this basically ends the idea that they could coexist peacefully - i.e. we're not far from seeing a total divide between outlets that do lowest common denominator stuff for clicks and those that charge a subscription for higher brow content.

Like another poster already said, the net effect of this is that fewer and fewer people get to read the latter, particularly people without the resources and inkling to pay (poor people, young people, communities where the idea to subscribing to a high-brow journal isn't considered). That then results in the next generation of journalists coming from an even smaller pool of society and the content they write being from an even smaller grounding.

It's not the end of the world, but it's a worrying (if perhaps inevitable) move in sports journalism.
Excellent post.
 

stepic

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I think your opinion on sports journalism as a profession tends to depend on the sort of content you like to consume.

If your only experience to it is via transfer speculation, news and attack pieces on manager/player futures then you're likely to have a fairly low opinion of the profession. If you like to read op-eds, historical accounts, tactical analysis or in-depth public interest pieces then you'll develop more respect for the journalists that painstakingly research, prepare and produce it.

It's a broad church so I find some of what I can best describe as hatred / utter dismissal of the profession as a little reductive to say the least.

In terms of this development, it's indicative of a wider trend and whilst it's something I expected and understand, it isn't something I'm personally very happy with.

The idea that tech VF (who will throw money at any white elephant that has a decent pitch and strokes their ego) is the only way that good sports journalism is sustainable is a sad indictment.

As newspapers see their audience dwindle and become more and more reliant on ad revenue than actual sales, clicks are the name of the game. Why pay a writer who meticulously conducts research, interviews and fact checking to produce one article every couple of weeks when it gets less clicks than the intern paid a fraction of that who can churn out ten listicles and empty transfer nonsense every day?

We've seen the effect of this on journalism as a whole in the gutting of some of the most talented and respected journalists and the scaling down of most 'old' news outlets.

If a subscription model is the future for well researched and written content on sport, then so be it. It's just a shame as to me this basically ends the idea that they could coexist peacefully - i.e. we're not far from seeing a total divide between outlets that do lowest common denominator stuff for clicks and those that charge a subscription for higher brow content.

Like another poster already said, the net effect of this is that fewer and fewer people get to read the latter, particularly people without the resources and inkling to pay (poor people, young people, communities where the idea to subscribing to a high-brow journal isn't considered). That then results in the next generation of journalists coming from an even smaller pool of society and the content they write being from an even smaller grounding.

It's not the end of the world, but it's a worrying (if perhaps inevitable) move in sports journalism.
i know we're talking about this in the context of sports journalism, but you can really apply this across all journalism, and link it with the rise of populist politics and the media.

it's fecking depressing.
 

JPRouve

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That is indeed an excellent post by @Lebowski

Depressing as hell though. The world really is going to shite, isn’t it?
Is it? For me he simply described pre internet world, where we used to pay for quality journalism.
 

JJ12

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I really hate the way football writers think they're a part of the story these days.
Out of interest are you already subscribed due to their NFL coverage?

I've had a subscription for 12 months now and love their coverage of all the North American sports so for somebody like me it's just a plus that they are growing their PL crop of writers.

I cant really see them gaining many new subscribers just for that though.
 

Pogue Mahone

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Is it? For me he simply described pre internet world, where we used to pay for quality journalism.
In pre internet world everyone paid for quality journalism (or a significant majority anyway). In post internet world, we’re heading towards a situation where only a minority of people are exposed to quality journalism, while the vast majority of people are immersed in populist nonsense. A post truth world, where facts and expert opinion don’t matter.

The latter variety of “journalism” never had the sort of reach it currently has and is already having disastrous consequences for society.
 

VanGaalyTime

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i know we're talking about this in the context of sports journalism, but you can really apply this across all journalism, and link it with the rise of populist politics and the media.

it's fecking depressing.
Indeed it is. That's why I hope everyone supports forward-thinking journalism. While most don't like the subscription model, it's the best way to ensure quality journalism survives. The Guardian and the Times are both either moving towards the model or started it. Without this level of journalism, we're heavily reliant on social media for an inkling of the real world and what's happening around us.

Short-term, I see click/link-baiting journalism becoming less common over time. Google is changing their SEO algorithms all the time. And that's the only way these models survive. Once clicks lose their value, Google will move toward an authenticity a model with their algorithms being able to factcheck in fractions of a second.

Long-term, I see no reason why the journalist themselves cannot develop their own content. We're likely to see journalists becoming more and more independent over the years, as taking quality pictures, researching facts, and creating content becomes simpler due to technology. Our idea of "newspapers" will change and we'll probably see journalists having their own "media" "channels", whatever form that takes.

I personally hope Twitter dies a quick and painful death. I think it and Google have been large factors behind the rifts we currently see and the move away from these platforms (once Google starts paying the required tax, authorities break up its clear media monopoly) we will start to see us bridging the gap again.
 

Rado_N

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Out of interest are you already subscribed due to their NFL coverage?

I've had a subscription for 12 months now and love their coverage of all the North American sports so for somebody like me it's just a plus that they are growing their PL crop of writers.

I cant really see them gaining many new subscribers just for that though.
Nah, I don't subscribe to any paid journalism.
 

Moriarty

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I think your opinion on sports journalism as a profession tends to depend on the sort of content you like to consume.

If your only experience to it is via transfer speculation, news and attack pieces on manager/player futures then you're likely to have a fairly low opinion of the profession. If you like to read op-eds, historical accounts, tactical analysis or in-depth public interest pieces then you'll develop more respect for the journalists that painstakingly research, prepare and produce it.

It's a broad church so I find some of what I can best describe as hatred / utter dismissal of the profession as a little reductive to say the least.

In terms of this development, it's indicative of a wider trend and whilst it's something I expected and understand, it isn't something I'm personally very happy with.

The idea that tech VF (who will throw money at any white elephant that has a decent pitch and strokes their ego) is the only way that good sports journalism is sustainable is a sad indictment.

As newspapers see their audience dwindle and become more and more reliant on ad revenue than actual sales, clicks are the name of the game. Why pay a writer who meticulously conducts research, interviews and fact checking to produce one article every couple of weeks when it gets less clicks than the intern paid a fraction of that who can churn out ten listicles and empty transfer nonsense every day?

We've seen the effect of this on journalism as a whole in the gutting of some of the most talented and respected journalists and the scaling down of most 'old' news outlets.

If a subscription model is the future for well researched and written content on sport, then so be it. It's just a shame as to me this basically ends the idea that they could coexist peacefully - i.e. we're not far from seeing a total divide between outlets that do lowest common denominator stuff for clicks and those that charge a subscription for higher brow content.

Like another poster already said, the net effect of this is that fewer and fewer people get to read the latter, particularly people without the resources and inkling to pay (poor people, young people, communities where the idea to subscribing to a high-brow journal isn't considered). That then results in the next generation of journalists coming from an even smaller pool of society and the content they write being from an even smaller grounding.

It's not the end of the world, but it's a worrying (if perhaps inevitable) move in sports journalism.
There's much to commend in this post. Papers like the Mirror and the Express produced high-quality reporting that was available to all for a few pence a copy. Moreover, people tended to trust what they read. I'd always grab a Pink on Saturday night and the United match report, usually penned by Meek, was a fair and accurate reflection of the game I'd watched. Same with the Sundays. You wouldn't often see the myriad (tenuous) transfer links such as you see today. Clubs tended to play their cards close to their chests (this in the days when there was no transfer window). If a journalist got wind of a pending transfer, they'd keep quiet in return for an exclusive when the move happened.
 

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There must be an element of American's (and other nations too) kind of elevating their perception of a football journalist simply based on their nationality and the Premier League being the biggest and most watched league in the world. "He or she is English/British and a football journalist, must really know their stuff"

It works the other way too when you get people like Guillem Balague and Juliens Laurens fawned at as automatic experts and the oracle on all things (insert league here) because of nationality. "French player linked with PL club, quick get Julien on the line for some exceptional insight for our deprived English audience"
 

Jam

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There must be an element of American's (and other nations too) kind of elevating their perception of a football journalist simply based on their nationality and the Premier League being the biggest and most watched league in the world. "He or she is English/British and a football journalist, must really know their stuff"

It works the other way too when you get people like Guillem Balague and Juliens Laurens fawned at as automatic experts and the oracle on all things (insert league here) because of nationality. "French player linked with PL club, quick get Julien on the line for some exceptional insight for our deprived English audience"
I mean the Premier League is by far the most popular soccer league in America, and also these journalists’ first language is English and they’re writing for an English speaking audience. It makes sense, The Athletic are cherry picking for their appropriate market.

They probably could have done with a little bit more diversification but y’know.
 

Guy Incognito

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I really hate the way football writers think they're a part of the story these days.
That's what football has become sadly. Everyone has a profile. The managers, the coaches, the writers, the agents, gurus, even the bloggers.

Pre-Sky days you wouldn't care about the result of a friendly and be surprised if it got any coverage. Now you have newspapers publishing 500-word match reports, bloggers making videos over tactics and analysing transfer targets. Everything has become dissected to the point where even journalists have difficulty finding a new angle.

They have nabbed some decent journalists imo, Amy Lawrence and Daniel Taylor have been at the Guardian/Observer since the 90s and I enjoy their write ups so they must have good reason to jump.
 

dumbo

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Can't blame them, whether this new thing is viable in the long run or not, the current model can't be satisfying if you have any aspirations to produce quality work.
 

BluesJr

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What’s this about an August 5th launch? Can’t see anything online about that but I may just be being dumb.
 

deafepl

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I think the athletic can be successful with their subscription model

Look at onlyfans, there were many average guys and female looking who just post a selfie, as usual, their private parts, sexting videos/picture yet people were willing out to pay for their service around 10 to 20 dollars per month.
 

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To be honest, I'm with Pogue, I tend to shy away from more tactically-heavy articles, and tend to read more human-centric stories, things that Oliver Kay and Daniel Taylor do really well, so I wouldn't be able to point you in any one direction. For me, good journalism doesn't have to be awash with tactics and charts of player movements and plays to be good.

It just seems we're looking for different things when it comes to sports journalism, which is totally fine.

Saying that, I'm not sure you'll ever get anything close to the analytical writing for football that you do for the NFL. I just think the NFL is inherently a much more tactical game and when you have a sport where playbooks are as thick as encyclopaedias naturally a lot of the journalistic discourse around that sport is going to be focused on tactics.
I disagree and always have that the NFL is much more tactical than football. Pigskin is basically pass, run or mis-direct with blitz or cover on defense. What makes it look more tactical is setting up for every down. The playbooks are just different setups for said plays. Football is constant , if done right then its tactical fluidity. Constant triangles and looking for space sometimes thinking three passes ahead. The gridiron is more tactical than football has always been a lazy narrative for me.