Commentary: Sports Reporting and News Reporting - Are they the same? MTSU Professor Dives into This Puzzling Question

Sep 29, 2022 at 02:48 pm by WGNS News


Sports reporting... is it the same as traditional news reporting? In most ways – Yes. However, there are some items that may come out a little differently, although the actual reporting process is the same. In some cases, depending on 'IF' it is an actual news story or 'IF' it's a sports show. With more, here is MTSU Professor of Journalism, Dr. Larry Burriss...


Verbatim of Above Audio Commentary: “Football games are in full swing, and we’re starting to see what kind of season most teams will have. With the first few games we are generally able to tell how a team is going to do for the rest of the year.

And, along with players, coaches, cheerleaders and officials, we also see die-hard fans who seem to think the purpose of a sports reporter is to support the local team no matter what; the fan who wants a sports reporter to write nothing but good news about the team; the fan who will brook no criticism of coaches, players or other supporters.

But sports reporting is, in many ways, just like any other kind of news, and is supposed to be just like any other kind of reporting: gather the facts, weigh the evidence, write the story. Unfortunately, many fans, particularly those who belong to booster clubs, aren’t at all happy with that procedure, particularly when the team is having a losing season.

Their reasoning seems to be: the team is having a bad season, so we need to support them more. But perhaps rather than criticizing the media, the fans ought to be asking, “Why is the team having a bad season; why can’t they seem to win?”

Some fans also see a problem with sports commentary. In most news outlets, commentary is labeled just that: the opinions of the writer. And opinions are just that: opinions. They are neither right nor wrong. They are what someone, a reporter or a fan, thinks about a given set of facts.

As in any other area, a sport story is not supposed to give aid and comfort to any side of an issue.  The news outlet is under absolutely no obligation to support the mayor, the Parent-Teacher Organization, or the local football team.

If the booster team is entitled to have its say, then so should be the news organization. After all, it’s the sporting thing to do. - I’m Larry Burriss.”

About Dr. Burriss - Larry Burriss, professor of journalism, teaches introductory and media law courses. At the graduate level he teaches quantitative research methods and media law. He holds degrees from The Ohio State University (B.A. in broadcast journalism, M.A. in journalism), the University of Oklahoma (M.A. in human relations), Ohio University (Ph.D. in journalism) and Concord Law School (J.D.). He has worked in print and broadcast news and public relations, and has published extensively in both academic and popular publications. He has won first place in the Tennessee Associated Press Radio Contest nine times. Dr. Burriss' publications and presentations include studies of presidential press conferences, NASA photography, radio news, legal issues related to adolescent use of social networking sites, legal research, and Middle Earth. 

Dr. Burriss has served as director of the School of Journalism, dean of the College of Mass Communication and president of the MTSU Faculty Senate. He was appointed by Gov. Phil Bredesen to serve on the Tennessee Board of Regents. He was a lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Air Force and served on active duty in Mali, Somalia, Bosnia, Central America, Europe and the Pentagon.

More WGNS NEWS Headlines:  




Sections: News