J-school students and industry vets tackle the tough questions.


Q: The editorial staff of Deadspin resigned recently after they were issued a company mandate to "stick to sports." Is this a mandate that all sports journalists should follow?

A: There is no doubt the world of sports media is changing. Sports journalists are now faced with the difficult decision: To what extent do you cover an athlete and their sport? In my humble opinion, if an athlete makes news surrounding a societal issue, it is fair game for sports journalists to follow the story.

There is one major caveat however, becoming knowledgeable in a variety of areas is a staple in a journalist's duty. For a sports journalist to dive into a societal issue, they must do the research and support what they write. It's a tricky situation because many sports journalists are pigeon-holed into the world of sports and rarely have the experience of covering an outside issue.

Journalism is built on credibility and I don't believe many sports journalists have that credibility when covering a societal issue. I believe that a sportswriter must first look themselves in the mirror and decide if they have that credibility to branch out. It seemed apparent that for Deadspin, they believed their writers simply didn't meet that standard.

More so, an outlet's audience plays a factor on which topics receive coverage. The executives at Deadspin most likely assumed their audience didn't want to hear about societal issues. The sports section of any outlet often provides a disruption from the chaotic and often depressing world of news we live in. There is no need to break that with uninformed opinions on topics. If that is what Deadspin feels their audience embodies, fair enough.

I believe my caveat is reasonable but when players like Colin Kaepernick make news for racial protests, it needs to get covered with knowledge on the topic. Choosing to ignore major societal issues that arise in sports is also wrong. Like journalists, athletes are also given a platform for their voice and their word matters. It's important for sports journalists not to abuse the platform we have and cover issues outside our realm appropriately and with awareness on the subject.

Jack Carlough, 19 sophomore, University of Colorado Boulder

Carlough is currently studying journalism at the University of Colorado Boulder and is the former head sports editor of the CU Independent.

A: Let me begin my answer to this thoughtful and timely question by saying that in my opinion, those Deadspin staffers...

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