In following the evolution of the modern sports media one of the more fascinating topics I have stumbled upon is role that major newspapers will play moving forward. They are no longer just dusty printed broadsheets that get tossed onto our porches to eventually line our bird cages. Subscriptions are only one way in which papers reach their audiences. All newspapers are very heavily involved with the web and have been for many years. In essence, their sites were the original “blogs”.
As I pointed out in my recent piece titled “Can Benjamin Hochman save newspapers?”, lines between various mediums of communication are blurring rapidly. Radio outlets have blogs, bloggers have podcasts, podcasters have video, newspapers have all these things. Traditional outlets, in an effort to remain fresh and relevant, are incorporating various other forms of media into their existing models.
A recent example of this phenomenon is the audio embodiment of the Denver Post’s “Kickin’ it with Kiz” feature. The title is derived from Mark Kiszla’s question and answer columns which have been a part of the printed Post for some time now.
In collaboration with Mile High Sports’ morning program “the Press Box with Kiz and Burns”, the Denver Post is now including short portions of audio pulled from the show as miniature “bite sized” podcasts on its web site. The concept is very progressive and enjoyable. It ties one medium to another in an exciting way. Already, by allowing it’s columnists to work in radio, the Post was expanding its reach. By bringing snippets of radio back to its own pages the Post has taken an additional step toward integrating a diverse range of mediums into its online product.
The concept was the brain child of Press Box co-host Peter Burns. “It’s a no brainer,” Burns told me, “for years sports radio has been reading and ripping and giving nothing back. This is a chance for them to take back some of their own content.”
Burns is right. In preparing for their shows most on-air personalities refer to their daily newspapers in order to determine the stories of the day. The sports columnists the Post has paid good money to for decades have continuously shared what is in essence the paper’s intellectual property and slathered it across other mediums.
Whether or not you subscribe to the Denver Post you are influenced by its collected talent and you benefit from its reporting.
The preservation of newspapers is critical to communities because the stodgy ethic by which they are operated is what keeps people and organizations on their toes. In the political and economic landscape newspapers are one of the last outposts of journalistic integrity. Matters of sports, while more competently handled in alternative media, are still reported best by the newspapers. They still have the most feet on the ground.
Ideas like “Kickin’ it with Kiz” are every bit as applicable to other fields of reporting such as the courts and local politics as they are to sports.
The future of newspapers is in digital entertainment as much as it is in collecting news. Every step organizations take toward tomorrow is encouraging. “Kickin’ it with Kiz” is only one small advancement toward the integration of various digital mediums into the products once knows as “newspapers”. It’s also an example of the kind of traffic-drivers that can enhance online revenues in manner that hopefully preserves the printed broadsheet for as long as possible. Some of us still enjoy a real newspaper, after all.