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Yahoo! Sports targets investigative journalism

Yahoo! Sports targets investigative journalism

Yahoo! Sports is becoming competitive online by making investigative journalism its brand, Bill Kruger says on Poynter.org.

"Yahoo! Sports has made a name for itself in the crowded world of online sports websites by focusing on good, old-fashioned investigative journalism that relies on documents, multiple sources and time-consuming reporting," Kruger reported.

Recently Yahoo! Sports has drawn attention to itself by breaking stories such as the fact that Reggie Bush and his family accepted gifts and cash from agents while he was playing for USC, or a piece about secret workouts of collegiate players by the New York Knicks.

In a period when the other sports newspapers are cutting on investigative resources, Yahoo! Sports has chosen investigative journalism as its niche in the competitive online world, aiming apply the same quality and journalistic standards of verification that newspapers apply.

This seems to counter the perceived interest of sports fan for fast packed news about the latest news, gossip and opinion about which players might be traded or whether an injury will keep the star quarterback out of the weekend's game, Kruger underlines. "More so than most journalism, sports reporters face constant deadlines as they try to keep up blogs, post on Twitter and prepare a story for the newt day's paper or that evening's broadcast. or simply link to what's been written on another blog or website."

"There is somewhat of a belief out there among some that because it's online the standards are more lax," Gerry Ahern, the lead investigative editor for Yahoo! Sports said. "Our standards are as stringent as any anywhere."

Kruger quotes Charles Robinson, the full-time investigative reporter at Yahoo! Sports, who said he has found that online, where news and information is often parceled out in small bites, can actually be a good vehicle for long-form investigative reporting. The audience is more adaptable than that of the newspaper.

"They are willing to adjust to what you offer them," Robinson said. "Online audiences are now reading 140 characters in Twitter, but they are also watching video and listening to podcasts. An online audience is remarkably versatile."

With this way to do Yahoo! Sports has gained the approval of Tim Franklin, the director of the National Sports Journalism Center, at Indiana University. He said it also makes good business sense, noting that Yahoo! Sports is the national leader in page views for sports websites in some surveys.

"In this new media environment, those who win are going to be those who produce high quality, unique, original content," Franklin said. "Yahoo! gets it."

Yahoo! is increasing making an effort to focus its attention on producing content, which is moving it into different territory, from its beginnings as a web portal and a search engine. The launch of the Yahoo! Contibutor Network, an evolution of the so called "content farms", Associated Content, which it purchased in May 2010, also demonstrates this.

And Yahoo! is not the only tech-oriented company that has started to shift to the production of content: AOL is doing the same. This trend has sparked a debate about the challenges that these company pose to journalists and traditional news producers.

Source: Poynter.org



Federica Cherubini


2010-12-07 13:06

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