The Rundown

Is this space outdated? For a growing number of sports fans, it is.

A former sports editor of The Torch and current Newsday employee Jim Baumbach was recently moved off the New York Yankees beat. His new position is as an online columnist for

As a big fan of the Yankees, I questioned whether this was a promotion. What would be better than following the Yankees around and getting your articles read by so many New York fans?

Fortunately, Baumbach gave his readers (myself included) some insight into the move.

“So where do you get your news these days?” he asked in Newsday’s “Baseball ’07” section on April 1. “It’s OK. You can admit it. We already know what most of you are going to say, anyway. It’s the Internet, not the newspaper. Don’t be ashamed. The world is changing, and you’re on board with it.”

He is right. As a sports fan, I get the bulk of my information not from the newspaper but from at least a dozen Web sites I have bookmarked on my browser.

Like Baumbach suggests, I’m not ashamed. Breaking news, particularly when following sports, is just more convenient to find on the Internet. Checking out your favorite team on the Web is immediate. As a fan, it’s not unusual to get constant up-to-the-minute updates on your favorite team. You can even get the live play-by-play from various media outlets.

It’s not only the immediacy of the news, though. There is also a greater intimacy that the Internet allows .

Compared to online content, print editions are limited. The limits are good ones for newspaper. They ensure that writers stick to the facts and keep their articles unbiased. They maintain a standard for journalistic integrity. But, in many ways, the content of a Web site is just more interesting and feels less controlled than its print counterpart.

In an online blog, the author not only gets news to the reader but is allowed to deliver it in a casual way. The writer is free to do it without spending time on information the audience already knows. The audience is usually so specialized that they can afford to get right down to the interesting bits of news.
Fans generally already know what happened during the game. They visit blogs not for a recap but to get all the extra stuff: what is happening in the minor leagues, or some statistical analysis, or even live discussion while the game is being played.

The newspapers, though, are not ignorant to what is happening. They have gotten into the act just as much as the fans. Just about every New York tabloid now has a corresponding network of blogs written by their beat writers.

They can give access to parts of the game rarely exposed, even in the newspaper. As a fan, I’m no longer limited to just what quotes I read from the coach in the newspaper the next day. I can actually listen to the voice recording that a reporter uploaded onto his blog (in the case of Peter Abraham’s “LoHud Yankees Blog.”) I can read interesting or funny anecdotes from the clubhouse that would not normally be heard. I can even read some opinion from the author and comment back with my own.

Times are certainly changing and the Internet might be taking over sports news. Newspapers still do have some role, though.

Before the subjectivity and interactivity that come with online content, there has to be some base of objective and traditional material.

Or, are you only reading this column on