Colliding With The Social Web

ESPN - Wrong Headline - Patriots vs Seattle

Will ESPN’s Decline In Quality Fuel The Rise Of More Citizen Sports Journalists?

Anyone see anything wrong with this headline: “Butler’s play will be revisited when Patriots face Broncos

I am not going to obsess on the topic of ESPN’s decline in quality over the years, but I will say that it has been noticed by a lot of people in the comment sections for ESPN’s articles, and it deserves a post.

There are frequent spelling errors, basic grammar mistakes, and instances when writers appear to have no understanding of what they are writing about.

The most common complaint I have seen in the comment sections is that the article has a splashy headline that the content does not support, or worse, the article is totally devoid of any substantive information at all. People convey a sense or feeling that they have been deceived.

Say what you will about sports fans, but a lot of them are very educated about their teams and their favorite leagues. They know the players, obscure moments, historical references, and the back stories. All of it creates a bond.

But even the casual fan knows that Malcolm Butler intercepted Russell Wilson’s pass when the Patriots played the “S-E-A-H-A-W-K-S” in the Super Bowl. Not the Broncos.

And majority of casual fans also would know that it would be impossible for the Patriots to have even played Denver in a Super Bowl, since the two teams are part of the same conference.

That this headline error happened is one mistake… That it has not been corrected in OVER 12 HOURS leading to an important NFL game is really ridiculous.

What’s more, the headline focus of the article is actually only 2/5ths of the content. The rest has to do with Bill Belichick’s letter of support to Donald Trump, and Tom Brady’s support of Trump – two points that have absolutely nothing to do with the Patriot’s game against the Seahawks… Or their future game against the Broncos… Or any football game in the NFL.

In an age where media bias (another area that ESPN is guilty of – and if you don’t believe me – have a drink and read some of Ian Rappaport’s articles about the Patriots or Tom Brady) is rampant, questionable facts are routinely aired, and quality has declined, the real question I have is how much longer can ESPN pull it off? How much longer can they be considered a “go-to” source for sports news, and not just a package of click-bait articles designed to boost ad revenues?

Already – local sports blogs and personalities are gaining exposure and building strong followings. It could be that large media companies like ESPN can’t compete in these kinds of localized markets. With the power of the internet, and ease of blogging and video creation, we could see in the years ahead large and even mid-sized regional or city-based media companies replaced by citizen journalists who have lower expenses and costs, and yet can turn out higher quality reporting.

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