The Impact of New Media on Sports News

Toby Hall White SoxThe Chicago White Sox have experienced a bit of Twitter-related controversy lately. The baseball team’s upper management already wasn’t too happy when manager Ozzie Guillen started a Twitter account (@OzzieGuillen) last month. Then Oney Guillen, Ozzie’s son and fellow White Sox employee, wrote negative comments about a restaurant that general manager Kenny Williams owns in addition to negative opinions about player personnel and other staffers on his Twitter account (@OneyRoberto). As a result of his inappropriate tweets and the downward spiral that followed, Oney was asked to resign from his job as a scouting video technician this past Friday.

Ken Rosenthal, who has been the senior baseball writer for FOXSports.com since 2005, uses this particular incident to analyze the current state of social media’s impact on sports news:

Early in my career, I would lose sleep if I reported something inaccurately, even worry about losing my job. The standards now are much lower; too often, the emphasis is on being first rather than factual. Many stories lack nuance and context, particularly when reported in 140-character tweets.


I’m not preaching from any mountaintop here — I pride myself on accuracy, but occasionally make mistakes, too. It is the nature of the business now. It is not a step forward. And from the perspective of an executive such as Williams, it is just one more hassle.

In the article, Rosenthal continues to talk about Williams’ exasperation with new media. He’s not alone; many other high level executives and corporate representatives are still trying to figure out how to incorporate social media aspects into their publicity without making huge missteps. Rosenthal says the elder Guillen is a successful Twitter user because his tweets “humanize him,” and he sticks to non-Sox-related topics.

By the way, there is some speculation by commentators that this could all be blown out of proportion in order to garner publicity for the upcoming White Sox reality show.

Source: “Social media present challenges for GMs,” FoxSports, 03/21/10
Image by Derek Semmler, used under its Creative Commons license.

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