My thoughts about the move of the Detroit Shock to Tulsa are on ESPN.com now, and I’ll look at that more on that site and here later as well.
But here’s a question for readers/followers of women’s basketball in terms of media coverage. Essentially, it’s this: What are the things you most look for and find to be informative or insightful? I realize this is going to be a mixed bag, because people have very different views on these things. But I’d like to hear various opinions.
Do you like the live chats we do on ESPN.com? Do you prefer more quick-hit blog entries on that site? What did think of Cover it Live, the interactive chat thing we did during the WNBA All-Star Game and WNBA Finals?
I’ll be blogging for the Big 12 conference at its league media day in Kansas City on Wednesday. You can go on-line and read all the coaches’ comments in the press conferences because they will be transcribed. So what do you look for in blogging from an event like that?
Just some background: I started writing a regular women’s basketball notebook in 1994 for the paper I was working at in Virginia. At that point, I’d covered the sport with game stories and features for a decade. The weekly notebook was a different outlet, but back then our newspaper did not have much Web presence. I never got a sense if anybody at all was reading the notebook.
Nonetheless, I did it for a couple of years, then changed jobs and moved to the Kansas City Star in 1996. At that time, someone from ESPN told me that its Web site wanted to start a women’s basketball weekly presence, and that’s how I got started there. So this will be my 14th college season writing for ESPN.com.
It’s strange how long ago 1996 seems in terms of things with the news-gathering industry. We didn’t know for sure then how the Internet would affect our business, but for an excellent look at that from a newspaper perspective, I refer you to this article. At any rate, back in ’96 I usually wrote my weekly piece more in notebook style, trying to touch on several different conferences and matchups each time.
As both the site and the women’s basketball audience grew, I stopped doing notebooks and focused more on columns and features. Writing “short” is not my strength, so the quick-hit blogs are actually the hardest for me. During the WNBA Finals, though, I was able to keep them to 10-12 inches ling (which to me is really small) and make whatever point I had quickly.
This blog, which I started a year ago this month, has been more an opportunity for me to write essays, mostly on women’s basketball but also other women’s sports topics. And it also presents more of a direct way to communicate with readers because it doesn’t go through an outside editing process. For better or worse, it’s just me.
I do scan message boards about women’s hoops topics and definitely take to heart readers’ suggestions or complaints I see on them. But I never have posted anything on any message board. The reason is that I always felt those were forums for readers and fans of the game. Some in the media feel differently and regularly post on those boards. And there are people who are fans and have their own blogs or contribute to web sites, and they post on boards, too.
I don’t think there’s anything wrong with any of those options. I just think if I have something to say, I can say it here or on ESPN.com. But I really do like to hear what readers think about what we do. Because in the changing media world, it’s more important than ever to pinpoint and serve your interests.