Sports journalism is at the forefront of technological advances in the media world, Sports Illustrated Senior Writer Frank Deford said at the 2010 Red Smith Lecture in Journalism Wednesday night. In his lecture, entitled “Sportswriter is One Word,” Deford spoke of his experiences in the sports writing business and gave his take on where the industry is going.Deford started the lecture off by describing himself as a “hybrid,” as his work in the field of sports involves more than just news.“I know I’m a writer, but only part of me is a journalist,” he said. “Most of my pieces are storytelling rather than reporting.”Although he has been writing for Sports Illustrated since 1962, Deford said he never expected his job to last this long and only came about it by accident.“I never set out to be a sportswriter. I fell into it in college. I always think I’ll grow up and move out of it,” he said.Deford said while sportswriters seldom garner the respect for their field of work amongst their journalist peers, the area of writing they work in allows for an unmatched level of creativity.“Sports writing offers the most opportunity amongst journalistic disciplines for storytelling,” he said.For a long time, the area of American culture that sportswriters covered in addition to the job itself were stagnant in its progress, and this hindered growth of media opportunities for alternate forms of publication and women sportswriters, according to Deford.“In sports, everything played in exactly the same places as if it had been ordained that way,” he said.He said he was blessed to come into the field when it was undergoing rapid growth.“I was fortunate unlike Red [Smith’s] generation who had to chronicle a little realm,” Deford said. “I came into the enterprise when it was exploding.”Despite this increase of coverage, Deford said sports writing has lost a bit of its luster.“To be a sportswriter today isn’t nearly as engaging. The revolution is over,” he said.Part of that problem is the expansion of sports journalism to a new realm of media: the Internet.“Journalism as we know it began with the printing press,” Deford said. “It ended with the Internet.”Deford said as the focus of coverage shifts online, readers are losing the joy of being exposed to a variety of subjects by being able to pick and choose what they read.“The mainstream media says we’re going to give you a full arc of the goings on. Even if you weren’t going to read about education, you might bump into it,” he said, speaking of print media.“People in this century are growing up with a predilection to only read what interests them,” Deford said.Despite these issues, Deford feels that expansion of coverage can also be beneficial for sports writing.“When I was in college, Eisenhower warned about the military industrial complex. It really is the entertainment amusement complex. This is great for sportswriters,” he said.Deford said this evolution could be described by a word many old time sports writers tossed around — “bush” — which was used to describe anything that wasn’t deemed as worthy of reputable coverage, such as soccer.“Who cares that it is bush. It’s fun. The end of journalism as we know it is the beginning of new sports journalism,” he said.Deford said despite the expansion of coverage the Internet offers, we are losing a critical aspect of sports journalism: the storytelling.“Pitchers can only go six innings, readers can only go six sentences,” he said. “It is the good stories and good investigative journalism which we will lose.”
Formula 1 esports moves up a gear as plans for the Pro Draft have been confirmed for Monday, July 9th in London.Representatives from nine of the F1 teams participating in F1 Esports Series 2018 will use the Pro Draft to select which drivers will join their esports teams.The four online qualifying rounds attracted over 66,000 players worldwide, with 111 territories represented from Albania to Zimbabwe. Racers from the UK lead the way with 23% of total participants followed by the USA at 16% and Germany with 13%.Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport, Red Bull Racing, Hype Energy eForce India F1 Esports Team, Williams, Renault Sport Team Vitality, Haas F1 Esports Team, McLaren, Toro Rosso Esports Team and Sauber F1 Team will be offering positions to the Pro Draft drivers, with each team required to select at least one driver from the Pro Draft. Teams such as Williams Racing have already signed drivers to their roster.The Pro Draft will see drivers from 15 countries – including the UK, Chile, Germany and Finland, amongst others travel to Silverstone ahead of the Formula 1 2018 Grand Prix on July 8th. The Silverstone trip will give drivers the chance to speak to with teams and undergo a series of tests, assessments and interviews to demonstrate why teams should select them.Once the teams have selected their drivers, they will represent the teams later in the season at three live events to determine the 2018 F1 Esports Series Teams’ and Drivers’ World Champions. A prize pool of $200,000(£151,000) will be allocated to teams based on their positions.Julian Tan, Head of Digital Growth & F1 Esports at Formula 1 said this about the announcement: “Last year’s series was a great success and based on the level of those who have qualified for this year’s Pro Draft, the 2018 season is shaping up to be even more exciting. The drivers will now battle it out for what is a truly incredible opportunity. With the F1 teams involved, we have been able to combine the power of Esports with the magic of Formula 1, establishing an authentic series that builds on what we have on the grid. We can’t wait to watch the action unfold”Mark Brittain, Chief Commercial Officer at Gfinity added: “The online tournament has seen a record number of competitors and the competition has been incredibly competitive. We now look forward to welcoming the top players and their potential Teams to the Gfinity Esports Arena for the Pro Draft as we enter the second phase of our activation.” The Pro Draft will be streamed online on Facebook and live TV.Esports Insider says: This is an exciting next step for all those involved, drafting seems to be the best avenue for matching players with teams when it comes to traditional sports taking on esports. We have seen similar things from the NBA2k Pro League.Sign up to our newsletter!