Running Head: ‘The first draft of journalism’ Abstract This pilot study examines how blogging has affected

the roles and routines of sports journalists. Eight in-depth interviews with sports reporters who keep a blog as a part of their beat were conducted over a one-month time frame. The interviews revealed six ways the reporters conceptualize and utilize their blogs; that newspaper blogs are written and maintained within a hierarchy of print; and that keeping blogs has revolutionized the relationship between reporters and readers.

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‘The first draft of journalism’ Game days and deadlines After the first decade of the 21st century, the newspaper industry finds itself undergoing a

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seismic change. In 2009, circulation for print newspapers fell by more than 10 percent from the previous year while at the same time, newspaper’s websites received 11 million more unique visitors than the year before (Perez-Pena, 2009). Those figures paint a vivid picture of a world in which more and more people are going online to get their news rather than buying the traditional print newspaper every day. Virtually every newspaper in the United States publishes some sort of electronic online edition (Berkman & Shumway, 2003). Since this practice began in the mid-to-late 1990s, newspapers have added features to their online editions to make them more interactive and fluid than their print editions. One of the most significant has been blogs kept by the newspaper’s reporters, and of the most popular subjects for newspaper blogs is sports (Pew, 2008). The purpose of this pilot study is to understand the effect blogging has had on the roles and routines of sports reporters through the use of in-depth interviews. Prior research in this field has examined newspaper blogs – or J-blogs as they are commonly referred to in the academic literature (Robinson, 2006; Singer, 2005) - through surveys and textual analysis. This study will expand upon that work through the use of in-depth interviews with reporters to get a more detailed picture of how a newspaper blog is conceptualized and operationalized in the day-to-day newspaper world. In the 15 years or so that newspapers have published online edition, blogs have emerged as a key component of a newspaper’s online identity (Pew, 2008; Robinson, 2006). If the future of journalism and of newspapers lies online, as the circulation numbers

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‘The first draft of journalism’ indicate, then every aspect of online journalism should be examined in detail. Studying

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how sports journalists blog will allow scholars to see get an accurate picture of the industry at this transitional juncture. Sports are a valuable area to research not just because it is a popular multi-billion dollar industry, but also because they are a natural topic for blogging due to the passionate opinions they bring out (Schultz and Sheffer, 2007). Also, because sports blogs are common at newspapers (Pew, 2008), they provide an appropriate lens through which to view the larger picture of J-blogs. Literature This study will work within two strains of previous research: research into journalists’ roles and routines, and the emergence of journalism blogs. Journalists’ roles and routines The way journalists conceptualize their jobs and how they go about doing them has been often studied in an attempt to understand the influence and impact of the mass media. Previous studies have showed that journalists’ perceptions of themselves and how they do their jobs have an impact on the news product itself (Beam, Weaver & Brownlee, 2008; Fishman 1980; Tuchman, 1978; Tuchman 1973; Tuchman 1972). Johnstone, Slawski & Bowman (1972) found two primary roles reporters play within a newsroom culture: One being a neutral, impartial observer and the other being an active participant whose point of view drives the reporting. Weaver & Wilhoit (1992), in a survey of American journalists, found three different roles for journalists: disseminators of information; interpreters of events; and adversaries of business and government. A later study found a fourth role – a mobilizer of audience members (Beam, Weaver & Brownlee,

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‘The first draft of journalism’ 2008). That fourth conceptualization of journalists’ roles is tied to the changes the internet has brought to newsrooms.

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Perhaps the most important journalism ideal that emerged in the 20th century is that of objectivity. (Berkman & Shumway, 2003; Soloski, 1989; Tuchman, 1972). In some circles, it is considered the most important professional norm in journalism (Soloski 1989). Soloski (1989) defined journalistic objectivity as the ability to seek and report themes fairly and in as balanced a way as possible. Routines have also been shown to be important to the production and dissemination of news (Fishman, 1980, Tuchman 1973). The nightly deadline (or deadlines for big-city papers that print multiple editions) is important for financial reasons, and the newspaper journalist’s day is structured as a push to that end-of-day deadline (Tuchman, 1973). One important routine of newspapers is the beat system, in which reporters are assigned to cover the same group regularly. The beat system was created “to routinize the gathering of news” (Becker, Lowery, Claussen & Anderson, 2000, p. 12). Weaver and Wilhoit (1991) found that a majority of newspaper reporters had beats, and that the most frequent beats were government and sports. Wilstein (2002) calls beat writers “the backbone of every sports staff” (p. 11), and notes that their lives are defined by their teams’ schedules. Game day coverage is the heart of sports beat writing (Wilstein, 2002). The rise of online news has raised questions about the place of traditional journalism roles and routines within newer media. Concerns have been raised that the speed of online news could hurt journalists’ accuracy (Berkman & Shumway, 2003). Another concern involves the notion that the increased amount of raw information available on the internet has lessened the public’s reliance on the media - in the sports

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‘The first draft of journalism’ world, teams are providing game statistics, quotes from players and coaches and video on their official websites (Weintraub, 2007). Journalism blogs and blogging A blog – the common shorthand for web-log – has been defined as a “frequently updated opinion journal.” (Singer, 2005, p. 173). Blogs have been a staple of online communication since the internet emerged as a mass medium in the mid-1990s. At first, blogs were conceptualized as a means for non-media members to express their opinions and discuss the issues they care deeply about (Wall, 2004). In the first decade of the 21st century, newspapers began adding blogs to their online editions. By 2008, one study showed that 70 percent of newspapers featured staff-written blogs as part of their online editions, and one-third of those newspapers had 10 or more staff blogs (Pew, 2008).

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Blogging has traditionally been defined as highly personal and opinionated writing (Robinson, 2006). That view can be seen as antithetical to the established journalistic role of objectivity. Newspapers have, in practice, molded the nature of blogs to fit into the traditional practices and culture of modern journalism by relying on traditional newswriting structure and values like objectivity (Deuze, 2003; Singer, 2005). J-blogs have also developed into conversations between reporters and readers (Bradshaw, 2008; Robinson, 2006; Singer, 2006; Singer, 2005; Weintraub, 2007). J-blogs are also having an impact in the media’s role as a gatekeeper and agenda setter. Media gatekeeping is the process by which media professionals select the stories that are published in the newspaper or shown in a news broadcast (Shoemaker, 1996; White, 1950). Agenda-setting is the media’s ability to influence what topics/subjects make it onto the public agenda – in other words, what stories/people get covered and discussed

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‘The first draft of journalism’ (McCombs & Reynolds, 2009). The availability of information on the Internet and the audience’s ability to steer reporters to such information (via blog comments) could have profound implications in the media’s role as gatekeeper and agenda-setter (Singer, 2006). Also, J-blogs are also often used as places for information that, for one reason or another, didn’t fit into a traditional news story (Bradshaw, 2008; Robinson, 2006), a practice that raises potential questions about the media’s gatekeeping and agenda-setting role. There is no consensus within the newspaper industry about the benefits and effects of blogging. Some studies have shown that journalists who blog have seen little change in their work (Shultz & Sheffer, 2007), and others show that their work has been changed

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dramatically by blogging (Bradshaw, 2008). Other studies view the relative short length of blog entries as a positive, bringing tighter writing to the industry (Bradshaw, 2008), while others see it as a negative, sacrificing depth for brevity (Poole, 2009). The constant connection with the audience has been viewed as a positive, a constant give-and-take that transforms their relationships with readers (Bradshaw, 2008) or as a negative that hurts journalism ethics (Leigh, 2008). This can partly be explained by attitudes toward convergence in newsrooms, where a journalist’s identity is often tied strongly to format he or she works in. (Singer, 2004). The formats of J-blogs have evolved over the last 10-15 years. Robinson (2006) performed a textual analysis of 130 J-blogs and found seven different forms that they took: A reporter’s notebook of news tidbits and incidentals; a straight column of opinion for the Web; a question-and-answer format by editors; a readership forum; a confessional diary written by the reporter about his or her beat; a round-up of news summaries that promote the print publication; and a rumor-mill blog that the reporter uses as an off-the-record account. (p. 70) Shultz & Sheffer’s 2007 survey of sports journalists who blog as a part of their job

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‘The first draft of journalism’ found that reporters who blogged did not perceive there to be much of a change to their professional roles or much of an impact in their relationship to the audience. The data showed that reporters did not take extra time out of their day to compose their blogs but that some perceived that they were being asked to do more work without being paid. Overall, Shultz & Sheffer found that there was a negative attitude toward blogging by sports reporters – including active resistance among older reporters. Many of these views

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have been echoed in the trade press, in which reporters have indicated that blogging forces them to react to news instead of pursuing bigger, more issue-oriented stories (Poole, 2009). This study will use qualitative methods to examine, in greater detail, how sports journalists blog. It will examine the day-to-day blogging routines of sports journalists and examine how blogging has become a part of their job. It will expand on the findings of Schultz & Sheffer’s 2007 quantitative study, taking their survey data and using it to help design a qualitative study. This study will be guided by the following research questions: RQ 1: How do sports journalists feel blogging has changed their role as a journalist? RQ 2: How do sports journalists feel blogging has changed their work routines? Method This study was accomplished by a series of in-depth interviews with sports journalists. Past research in this area has included surveys (Schultz & Sheffer, 2007), institutional ethnography (Hatcher, 2009) and textual analysis (Bradshaw, 2008) but not solely in-depth interviews. Kvale (1996) wrote that “the qualitative research interview attempts to understand the world from the subjects points of view, to unfold the meaning of their experiences” (p. 1). Using in-depth interviews will allow this study to go beyond the

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‘The first draft of journalism’

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data of previous survey research and gain a better understanding of how reporters feel their roles and routines are being affected by blogging. Eight interviews were conducted in March and April of 2010. Purposive sampling was used to find sports beat reporters for daily newspapers who keep a blog as a part of their day-to-day jobs. This was the focus rather than newspaper columnists who blog or reporters who blog about off-beat topics. Blogs have been defined as “a new form of journalism” (Robinson, 2008, p. 80), and the focus of this study is blog-journalism, rather than strictly opinion blogs. In journalistic terms, this equates to reporters, not columnists. There was also partial use of snowball sampling, as participants were free to suggest other reporters they knew who might be willing to take part in this study. In addition, there were elements of a convenience sample. All of the reporters who participated had some connection to the Northeastern United States. Participants were guaranteed anonymity in exchange for their participation. They will not be identified in this study by their name, their newspaper affiliation or the beat they cover. This was done to encourage candor among the participants Participants signed content forms at the in-person interviews or gave oral consent for the phone interviews. Two of the interviews were done in person. Six were done over the phone. The interviews ranged from 41 minutes to 61 minutes in length. All interviews were recorded on a digital recorder and transcribed by the researcher. The interviews were semi-structured in nature, which allowed for more flexibility and freedom to while relying on a set of predetermined questions (Hesse-Biber & Leavy, 2006). An interview guide was developed and used for each interview. After answering demographic questions, participants were asked descriptive questions about the process of blogging, questions asking them to

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‘The first draft of journalism’ conceptualize their roles as journalists, and open-ended questions about the perceived changes to their jobs brought about by blogging. No incentives were offered for participation, but all eight freely volunteered their time. Through the use of reflexive memos, as well as some line-by-line coding, the researcher culled themes after each transcription. The researcher’s role in this study is that of an insider (Hesse-Biber & Leavy, 2006). The researcher spent 10 years as newspaper sports journalist and kept a blog as a

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part of his job for four years. That professional experience translates to personal knowledge of the newspaper industry’s traditions and practices, as well as of reporters’ roles and routines. The researcher also has personal and professional relationships with sports journalists who blog, which increased access opportunities to potential participants. Findings The reporters’ professional experience ranged from eight to 29 years. They were a cross section of newspaper sizes, from small-town dailies to major metropolitan news organizations. They covered a variety of beats – writers who covered the NFL, the NHL, Major League Baseball, minor league baseball and hockey and major college football and basketball took part in the study. (See Appendix 1. Note, to protect the confidentiality promised to reporters, the circulation size of their respective newspapers is not listed). In general, the sports reporters interviewed had a positive view of blogging, although that view is often a nuanced one. Blogs are used in a variety of different ways, mostly for breaking news items. Blogging has resulted in an increased relationship with their readers, which is viewed as a positive. However, blogging is still done within a hierarchy of print news. The journalists’ print work is still often viewed as the most

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‘The first draft of journalism’ important aspect of their jobs, and there is a tug-of-war between the print work and blog work. Conceptualization and utilization Virtually all of the reporters interviewed said that editors at their newspapers

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conceptualized their blogs. The blogs mostly started between 2005 and 2007, meaning they were between three and five years old at the time of this study. Each blog is conceptualized differently, often depending on the newspaper’s coverage philosophy. A newspaper that takes a big-picture attitude toward sports will view its blog as a place for analysis and offbeat material, while one that focuses on breaking news will conceptualize its blog as a place for constant updates. Nonetheless some similarities did emerge in examining how reporters use their blogs. The uses were consistent with, if not identical to, the categories of posts found by Robinson (2008) in a textual analysis of J-blogs. One of the primary categories of blog posts is breaking news. The reporters interviewed noted that it was a priority of theirs to update their blog with news as quickly as possible. One reporter said: “We have conditioned ourselves anytime we hear news, the first thing you always thought of (in the past) is ‘OK, I’ll get a story done in the paper tomorrow. So, we’ve completely reconditioned our minds and our process to, we can get a story done on it in the next five minutes. And that process usually includes the blog.” Pre- and post-game blog posts are also a function of sports reporters’ blogs, reflecting the notion of game day being the heart of a beat writer’s job (Wilstein, 2002). Pre-game blogs contain information pertaining to that day’s game and can come from pregame interviews with players and coaches, interviews done before game day, leftover notes from the previous game, or an aggregation of links to other stories about the upcoming

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‘The first draft of journalism’ game. The reporters will typically update their blog with each game’s starting lineup and any game-related news (i.e., injury updates). Post-game blogs are usually posted after the reporter files the game story for the print edition. One reporter described his routine: “If there’s breaking news that comes out of the post-game interviews, I’ll usually throw that up on its own separate blog right way, just to get that news up there. I usually do one long notebook style post-game wrap that covers all the angles and little tidbits and observations that didn’t make the game story, or that I thought made the game story but that I’d like to discuss further.” Opinion, typically in the form of analysis pieces, is another emerging category of

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blog post. The reporters write about an event and provide “informed opinion,” in the words of one reporter. The reporters conceptualize this differently than a column, which is all opinion. “It’s sort of a cross between, like, a column and a story … it’s like a strongly worded story. You have to write it with a lot of authority,” is how one reporter described it. These were not popular among the reporters interviewed, and some reporters expressed concerns about crossing the traditional lines of objectivity (Soloski, 1989). Live in-game blogs, which feature some sort of interactive element with readers, are sometimes kept. However, the reporters almost universally dislike this type of blogging because it takes their attention away from the game. “I routinely miss things cause I’m typing (the in-game blog), and I hear the noise of the crowd and I have to watch a replay,” said one reporter. Some of the reporters whose newspaper had a live in-game blog noted that at least some in-game blogging was done by another staff member, freeing the beat writer up at least somewhat to watch the game. Taken collectively, the breaking news, preand post-game notes, live-game updates and analysis pieces reflect the journalistic roles of disseminator and interpreter (Weaver & Wilhoit, 1992). An additional category is one that can be termed fun stuff. These are light-hearted

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posts aimed not at the dissemination of news but rather deal the off-beat aspects of sports, or the melding sports and popular culture. “There’s a lot of goofy conversation that goes on on the press table, just wisecracks and things, and some of those will make it into the blog,” one reporter said. Examples of this include funny interviews with players, either in text or in video format, or flip-camera videos and pictures of off-beat items the reporter finds fun and interesting. That speaks to another point, that the blogs are not simply collections of text. The reporters noted that they have been trained in using cell-phone cameras and digital recorders and often post audio, video and pictures – both in game coverage and for off-beat, fun stuff. Some reporters view their blog almost as mini wire service, a way to quickly disseminate news and information to fans. “What do they say, journalism is the first draft of history? Well, then the blog is the first draft of journalism,” one reporter said. These reporters view the blog as something almost cold and sterile, the straight nuts and bolts, just-the-facts style. Their focus, their pride, was the story they wrote in the daily paper. One reporter described his attitude like this: “The things I got into this business for … the writing, I like words, I like to play around with words. That part of it part of it, I don’t think, is part of the internet. Again, it’s more of just keep churning it out, get it out as quickly as possible, whereas the newspaper version … I feel like I can play around with it more, try to, in my own feeble way, try to come up with the right phrase.” Other reporters view the blog more personally, conceptualizing their print stories as their work product while the blog was more their own. One reporter said: “I guess I’ve got a bigger personal investment on the blog, because my name’s on there, my picture’s on the top of it, my name’s in the title of it. I really feel like it’s my little corner of the website and the newspaper. You take more ownership of it maybe than you do on a 12-inch game story that’s gonna get buried on page 5-B.”

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Another reporter said that he was “bored” with his beat job and used his blog as a creative outlet and used that to gain exposure for himself, which eventually allowed him to get a new job. “It helped me personally, you know, from a recognition standpoint and a knowing people, meeting people standpoint,” he said. Two veteran reporters noted that blogging is extra work without extra pay. However, they balance any frustration over that fact with the knowledge that learning this skill was, in their eyes, helping their career. One said, “I figure, you know what, rather than complain about having to do all this, I just try to, you know, remind myself, it’s just making me more valuable.” The emergence of Twitter, with its 140-character limit and instant delivery, has already had a profound impact on blogging sports reporters. Reporters have started using Twitter to deliver breaking news items and in-game updates, to use two examples. This, in a way, is making the blog almost a middle step between the immediacy of Twitter and the longer form of the traditional story – if it’s not eliminating many of the traditional uses of a blog. “Twitter has completely changed the game,” one reporter said. “I don’t know if I would have actually had a blog or put as much into the blog as I did if Twitter was around.” Taken collectively, the conceptualization and utilization of the blog by the reporters interviewed shows that keeping a blog is now an integral, ingrained part of covering a beat. “They’re like a baseline right now. If you don’t do it, you’re really in trouble. It’s like, uh, a necessary thing. It’s like having a beat writer … it’s part of the furniture now.” Relationship of print and blog Although blogs have become an ingrained and integral part of sports beat coverage, there still exists tension between keeping a blog and covering a team for the newspaper’s print edition. In a sense, there’s a tug-of-war between the blog and the print coverage. The

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‘The first draft of journalism’ reporters believe that blogging is an important part of their jobs, but it is done within the traditional print framework.

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For example, the reporters’ work day remains structured not just around the game schedule but around the traditional print deadline. Deadlines vary from paper to paper, but they are typically anywhere from 10:15 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. Much of the reporters’ blogging – be it game-day coverage or off-day stories – is done within that traditional print framework. Many of the participants noted that they posted a game’s final score to the blog immediately upon the game’s conclusion, but that they do not write anything for the blog until after they file their print-edition story – with the exception of a short update if there is breaking post-game news. “After the game … come right back up (from the locker room interviews) and usually have, you know, an hour to write my story. Um, once the story’s done, then I’ll move onto the blog,” one reporter said. Another noted that, after a close game, a post-game blog post with the final score may have received more than 100 comments by the time he returns to his computer following interviews. He waits to look at those because, as he said, “I still gotta work. I’ve still got to write a story and a notebook,” insinuating that the print story is the real work, as opposed to things that appear on the blog. This reflects the traditional push toward deadline of daily newspaper journalism (Tuchman 1973). Of note is what was not said in any of the interviews. None of the beat reporters noted any difference in the way they reported stories for the blog vs. the way they do for print. What is considered a credible source and a credible story for print is the same as what’s considered credible for a blog. “I think the standards of what makes something, you know, usable and trustworthy, I think it’s the same,” one reporter said.

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Many of the reporters also stated that their print stories mattered more to them than their blog entries. Several noted their belief and understanding that newspapers still make a majority of their money off the print edition, making that more important than the online edition. “The blog, the best post there gets, you know, a thousand reads. So it’s still, I mean, it’s just kind of basic facts. You know, if this is so important, do you want it going where a thousand people are going to read it or do you want it going where 50,000 people are gonna read it … I think the daily paper remains the priority … at the end of the day, you know, so much more of people’s time and so much more of people’s resources still go into the daily paper.” Other reporters also noted that they took more pride in their print stories than their blogs. “I’m old school,” one noted. “My game story will be held up against other game stories … but that’s the writer’s mentality.” The conceptualization of a blog also reflects the hierarchy of print. Most of the reporters noted that they used their blogs either as a first draft of their print stories or using notes and quotes that did not make the printed edition, either because of space concerns or because they weren’t deemed newsworthy enough for print. This is reminiscent of what Bradshaw (2008) and Robinson (2006) found in their studies. With some exceptions (notably the fun blog entries), there isn’t a great deal of original, blog-only reporting done. Nearly all of the information gathered for the blog is done as a part of the work for print stories. One reporter said his blog was partially conceptualized using a movie analogy: “When we first created the blog, we said we wanted to make this kind of the … if you were a real big fan of a movie and bought the DVD, you’d be excited to see the extra features on a DVD – the director’s cut, the deleted scenes and so forth. And so we wanted to make the blog kind of the extra features to go along with what we were doing in the paper and the online stories. It was kind of like different things that you weren’t getting elsewhere.”

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Even reporters who take a lot of personal and professional pride in their blog do so within the hierarchy of print. One example is a reporter who generated a series of blog posts by asking players seemingly odd questions. The answers often made for an fun, offbeat posts. But ultimately, he viewed it the prism of the traditional print story. “That’s kind of the favorite part of what I’ve done, because it puts the athlete in a different setting where I might get different answers for an actual story I write,” he said. An interesting dynamic that arises on beats where there is strong competition between newspapers is the question of posting breaking news online and in the blog. Once a story is posted online, it can either be quoted or confirmed by competitors. A few reporters noted that this goes against the traditional prize of having a scoop in the morning paper. One reporter noted: “I think a lot of newspapers now just tell people, whether it’s the right or wrong thing, if you have something just put it up right away and basically screw the next day’s paper … I mean, you’re basically conceding everything in the next day’s paper.” Blogging has also increased the reporters’ workload. One reporter interviewed estimated that, on a game day, he writes 6,000 words between the blog and the print edition. Along with the traditional game coverage, reporters are writing pre-game blog posts, post-game blog posts and often doing multimedia offerings like audio and video. “We’ve still gotta produce all of our stuff for print,” one reporter said. “This is extra work that literally, literally did not exist until 2007.” Every reporter said that having a blog has made the job of a beat writer more of a 24/7 job. One compared himself to a doctor in that he’s never far from his cell phone. Another said, “I think you’re much more on your toes because, in theory, you could be writing something that the public’s gonna see in the next five minutes … so you’re always on call for the next five minutes.”

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‘The first draft of journalism’ But there is a real tension for reporters in terms of balancing time spent blogging

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and time spent on print stories. On the one hand, the blogs’ freedom in terms of time, space and subjects is attractive. “I feel like some days that I can blog all day long and still have stuff to put up there,” one reporter said. “You could spend a lot of time really crafting good stuff for the web, but there’s just a limited amount of time in your day.” On the other hand, time spent blogging is time that can’t be spent doing explanatory or investigative stories. One reporter noted that, in the past year, he wrote a lengthy feature story. In the preinternet days, the story would have taken him one week. With his internet work, it took him two weeks, fitting in a call here, some writing time there because he had to do it around his daily blog duties. “Those kinds of stories are fewer and father between,” he said. That’s reminiscent of the findings of Poole (2009). This notion of print hierarchy in a digital world creates a tension for beat writers. There is a push and pull of trying to maintain a blog that is creative, informative and serve its readers while still writing and reporting stories for a daily print edition. One common frustration is the notion of repetition, of writing basically the same information on the blog and again later for print. “Basically you’re working for an internet company and a newspaper company,” one reporter said. Relationships with readers All eight participants noted that since they started blogging, their interaction with readers had dramatically increased - whether it was via e-mail or by comments on blog posts. A majority of the participants viewed this as a positive development. In fact, this was overwhelmingly seen as the best aspect about blogging, echoing some previous findings (Bradshaw, 2008). One reporter said:

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‘The first draft of journalism’ “It’s definitely tied me more closely in to the readers. To the point where, when they see me at the games, rarely do they say ‘Oh, I loved the article Thursday,’ it’s more now like ‘I love your blog, I read your blog every day.’”

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Before the internet, there was minimal interaction between reporters and readers. A reader’s main outlet to express his or her opinion was writing a letter to the editor. With blogs, readers are able to ask questions of the beat writers and express their opinions as soon as an item is posted. “After a loss or something like that, I’ll get back (to my computer) and within 30 minutes there will be 100 comments,” one reporter said of his posting of the game’s final score. Reporters’ interaction with readers has humanized both. Reporters become, to readers, more than just a byline in the newspaper. They become somebody who has answered their e-mails, with whom they’ve had a conversation online. And the readers become a source of information to the reporters. By keeping up with comments and responding to readers, the reporters are able to get a sense of what concepts the readers feel are important. In the words of one reporter: “I think that, for too long, too much of journalism has been like, you know, peering down the mountain. And the people that read this stuff all have opinions on it, too. We just have a different level of access to what they want to know about.” The expectations have changed within this relationship, too. Reporters said that readers expect constant updates. One reporter noted that readers will ask questions during a game and expect answers. All of this speaks to the notion of both Deuze (2003) and Weintraub (2007) of how blogs have changed the dynamic of the journalist-reader interaction. The traditional unidirectional model of newspaper reporting has evolved to more of a loop, with constant interaction between reporters and readers.

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‘The first draft of journalism’ However, the relationship still reflects the hierarchy of print. One of the main

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benefits of this increased interaction, the reporters believe, is that it may make the readers more likely to become paying customers of the paper. One reporter said: “The bottom line is, all this stuff we can do, all this blog and video and Twitter and all this stuff, I still need you to get a seven-day home subscription, or three-to-five day home subscription or spend 75 cents in the morning, or I don’t have a job. So if they feel they have more of a personal relationship with me and want to read what I say in the paper because I’ve responded to their E-mail or commented on the blog with them, then that’s a good thing.” Conclusion Blogging has had an effect on the way sports reporters perceive their roles and routines. It has revolutionized the way they interact with readers. It has affected how they report breaking news, emphasizing speed and continuous story updates rather than the traditional morning scoop. There is still a tug-of-war between the traditions and customs of print and the utility and popularity of the blog. Blogs are still something that are written and conceptualized within a hierarchy of the printed product. This research served as a pilot study for further study into how journalists’ routines are being impacted by convergence within newsrooms. This study’s findings are being used to inform a qualitative study of news reporters, which is using in-depth interviews to examine these reporters’ routines in the early 21st century. Even within the hierarchy of print, blogging is an integral part of a sports beat writer’s job. It is as much a part of the job as covering games and hitting deadlines. In the words of one reporter, “Blogs aren’t a new thing, they are instrumental part of what we do now and they should be looked at as such instead of this, like, this new novel toy.”

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References Beam, R., Weaver, D. & Brownlee, B. (2008). Professionalism of U.S. journalists: Have things changed in the turbulent times of the 21st century? Paper presented to the Journalism Research and Education Section at the Congress of the International Association for MediResearch, Stockholm, Sweden. Becker, L., Lowery, W., Claussen, D. and Anderson, W. (2000). Why does the beat go on? An examination of the role of beat structure in the newsroom. Newspaper Research Journal, 21(4), 2-16. Berkman, R. I., & Shumway, C. A. (2003). Digital dilemmas: Ethical issues for online media professionals. Ames: Iowa State Press. Bradshaw, P. (2008). When journalists blog: How it changes what they do. Nieman Reports, 62(4), 50-52. Retrieved from Communication & Mass Media Complete database. Deuze, M. (2003). The web and its journalisms: Considering the consequences of different types of newsmedia online. New Media & Society, 5(2), 203-230. Retrieved from Communication & Mass Media Complete database. Fishman, M. (1980). Manufacturing the news. Austin, Texas: University of Texas Press. Hatcher, J. (2009). The routine at the daily routine: Exploring the influence of the individual in an age of media transformation. Journal of Media Sociology 1(1/2), 41-59. Hesse-Biber, S. & Leavy, P (2006). The Practice of Qualitative Research. Thousand Oaks, Calif. Sage Publications. Johnstone, J., Slawski, E., & Bowman, W. (1972). The professional values of American newsmen. Public Opinion Quarterly, 36(4), 522. Retrieved from Communication & Mass Media Complete database. Kvale, S. (1996). Interviews: An introduction to qualitative research interviewing. Thousand Oaks, Calif.: Sage Publications. Leigh, D. (2008). Are Reporters Doomed?. Nieman Reports, 62(1), 54-55. Retrieved from Communication & Mass Media Complete database. McCombs, M. & Reynolds, A (2009). How the news shapes our civic agenda. In J. Bryant and M. Oliver (Eds.), Media effects: Advances in theory and research (pp. 1-16). Routledge: New York.

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Perez-Pena, R. (2009, October 26). U.S. newspaper circulation falls 10%. The New York Times. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com. Pew Research Center Project for Excellence in Journalism (2008). The changing newsroom. July 21, 2008. Retrieved from http://www.journalism.org. Poole, G. (2009). Back to the Future. Columbia Journalism Review, 47(5), 19-21. Retrieved from Communication & Mass Media Complete database. Robinson, S. (2006). The mission of the j-blog. Journalism, 7(1), 65-83. doi:10.1177/1464884906059428. Schultz, B., & Sheffer, M. (2007). Sports journalists who blog cling to traditional values. Newspaper Research Journal, 28(4), 62-76. Retrieved from Communication & Mass Media Complete database. Shoemaker, P. (1996). Media gatekeeping. In M. Salwek & D. Stacks (Eds.), An integrated approach to communication theory and research (pp. 79-92). Lawrence Erlbaum Associates: Philadelphia. Pa. Singer, J. (2006). Stepping back from the gate: Online newspaper editors and the coproduction of content in campaign 2004. Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly, 83(2), 265-280. Retrieved from Communication & Mass Media Complete database. Singer, J. (2005). The political j-blogger 'Normalizing' a new media form to fit old norms and practices. Journalism, 6(2), 173-198. doi:10.1177/1464884905051009. Singer, J. (2004). More than ink-stained wretches: The resocialization of print journalists in converged newsrooms. Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly, 81(4), 838-856. Retrieved from Communication & Mass Media Complete database. Soloski, J. (1989). News reporting and professionalism: Some constraints on the reporting of the news. Media, Culture & Society, 11(2), 207-228. Tuchman, G. (1978). Making news :A study in the construction of reality. New York: Free Press. Tuchman, , G. (1973). Making news by doing work: Routinizing the unexpected. The American Journal of Sociology, 79(1), 110. Tuchman, G. (1972). Objectivity as strategic ritual: An examination of newsmen's notions of objectivity. The American Journal of Sociology, 77(4), 660-679. Wall, M. (2004) ‘Blogs as black market journalism: A new paradigm for news’,

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‘The first draft of journalism’ Berglund Center for Internet Studies: http://bcis.pacificu.edu/journal/2004/02/wall.php Weaver, D. H., & Wilhoit, G. C. (1991). The American journalist: A portrait of U.S. news people and their work (2nd ed.). Bloomington: Indiana University Press. Weintraub, Robert. (2007). Play (hard) ball! Why the sports beat must evolve. Columbia Journalism Review, 46(3), 14. White, D.M. (1950). The “gate-keeper”: A case study in the selection of news. Journalism Quarterly, 27, 383.

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Wilstein, S. (2002). Associated press sports writing handbook. New York: McGraw-Hill.

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‘The first draft of journalism’ Appendix 1 Reporter Reporter 1 Reporter 2 Reporter 3 Reporter 4 Reporter 5 Reporter 6 Reporter 7 Reporter 8 Years of experience 10 years 15 years 22 years 13 years 25 years 8 years 29 years 10 years

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Sports covered Minor-league hockey Major League Baseball College basketball College baskeball, hockey Pro baseball, hockey College football, basketball College basketball Pro football, tennis

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