Over the last decade and especially more recently, much fuss has been made about the declining “art” of journalism. In 2016, I don’t think it’s crazy to say that about 85-90% of all people get their news and information through the internet and other online media platforms. The internet is also a place without much regulation as information can appear from anywhere and unless you are very skilled in figuring out how a website was created, there is almost no way to verify or certify any of the information you read. Before the dawn of the internet, newspaper companies relied on building trust with their readers through good ethical practices. Also starting a newspaper, or magazine, or any kind of physically published writing was and still is an incredibly expensive business venture. So big cities had their newspapers with writers whom we presume were educated and qualified enough to write and report on their specific subject matter. The internet has virtually killed that process. Today thousands of people are skipping college and a degree in journalism, potentially saving thousands of dollars, and are starting up personal blogs that are free to make on the internet. There are guys who write tons of articles on sports from their mom’s basement who have more readers than the sports section of their respective city’s newspaper. Websites and blogs like BleacherReport, Barstool Sports, Ballhype, and YardBarker have spawned a new wave and age of sports reporting and sports journalism. These websites have more readers and hits than subscribers of more traditional sites like ESPN, and Sports Illustrated. Whether or not the influx of all these sites is detrimental or beneficial to the information kingdom that is the world today is yet to be seen. Are these people who spend 15 hours a day watching sports, crunching stats, and writing more qualified than someone who was schooled through college? My research project will try to get an inch closer to the answer to that question.
My sample size will be relatively small; I will take a look at articles written in the Chicago Tribune beginning in the year 1991 pertaining to the Chicago Bulls(The Bulls won their first championship in the 1990-1991 season) and I will compare the overall writing style to the articles found in many of these blog like sites. I will exclude summary and game recap articles and rely solely on analytical articles. Some specific things in terms of writing style that I will be looking at in the articles will be: word count, word choice, usage of statistics, length of articles, interaction with readers and another patterns that I find that would relate well with the study. Remember that regardless of media, writing is still occurring, but will literacy be impacted in anyway by the decline of traditional journalism and rise of internet blogs? Will literacy be damaged by these people who may not be writing grammatically correct articles but understand the game better than someone who reports on the team?
In my conclusion I hope to find that the internet blogging and journalism compared to traditional journalism can live in two separate worlds. That we can appreciate both of them without having to intertwine them. I genuinely enjoy reading Big Cat as much as I do Sam Smith and I hope that doesn’t change and we can continue to read to be informed whether it be sports, or any other topic the world has to offer.