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Sports Journalism: Introduction

Aug 21, 2015 13:06

Sports Journalism: Introduction

“Chelsea 1 United 0: Blues confident of sealing Pedro deal with striker due in London today” “Fernandinho: Aguero can emulate Romario” “Messi brace helps Barca win Spanish Cup”

You must be familiar with such headlines in the newspapers, magazines, webzines or even in news programmes. So who decides that they should be written in such a way? This is a subgenre of Journalism known as ‘Sports Journalism’.

What is Sports Journalism?

Sports journalism focuses on reporting amateur and professional sporting news and events. Sports journalists work in all media, including print, television broadcasting and the Internet.

With millions of players being involved with Football all over the world, the sheer interest of people in the sport is growing every day. They are interested in not only playing the sport but also in knowing more about the sport i.e. the latest events related to their favorite teams ,the profile of the footballer they like etc.

In this context, emerges the role of a sports journalist who comes with a passion for sports and a keen eye for writing. His job is to update the readers and viewers with the latest news about different sports by presenting it in a manner that is not only catchy but precise and apt.

All of us are otherwise very well acquainted with the Sports Journalism scene in India. Every News Paper has a sports column, we have dedicated sports channels on the television and who can forget how our grandparents have been listening to Cricket matches even before we were born. All of the above come under the label, 'Sports Journalism'


Sports Journalism has been a part of India since the late 1700’s with the introduction of newspapers. In 1785, The Bengal Gazette was the first daily to introduce a dedicated ‘sports’ column. India Gazette, Bombay Herald and the Calcutta Gazette were other premier daily newspapers which followed suite. The British Raj proposed the use of a daily entity that would cater to every house that came under the British rule. Soon, in 1838, The Bennett and Coleman Company was established in India and the Times Of India started its rule. It was a colonial enterprise which is now owned by the India Conglomerate. Under TOI, Sports journalism got a rather structured approach which further helped the evolution of the genre.

Come 1927 and Journalists found a new medium in the form of the Radio. Soon the radio found its way into the hearts of millions of households throughout the country. With the advent of the radio, people could now listen to the live commentary of any sports event and also know the ‘score’ of an ongoing live match. Gradually, the radio became an everyday object and Sport Journalism flourished with the radio. They could broadcast live interviews of sportspersons, live match commentaries, and discuss pre and post-match analysis reports and talk shows. All India Radio (AIR) was the main and only broadcaster of news events related to sports in India.

Alas, the age of the radio ended in the late 1950’s. As a pop song rightly said, “Video killed the radio star”- Television. The introduction of the television set in India drastically changed how sports journalism functioned. Because now instead of either written or aural media, you could now see visuals. A big leap for sports at that time. A limited television programming plan was made in 1957. But a better concrete plan followed after 1965 proved helpful for sports event broadcasting.

You could watch the Bengal derby happening right in front of your eyes without even attending the game, in the comfort of your own house. With the launch of Doordarshan in 1959, one of the largest television channels in terms of studio infrastructure and transmission units. Doordarshan played a major role in development of sport journalism until the international economic reforms of the early 90’s. Soon, well established channels such as BBC, CNBC and CNN were broadcast on Indian television sets.

The early 2000’s brought in the IT revolution in India and with it, came the internet. And with it, it brought a new world of possibilities regarding sports journalism. . By 2005, 6% of India’s population already had access to Broadband internet. Also the use of Social media websites have also evolved a different world regarding sports. It is no longer only restricted to watching live matches, but also get analytical statistics regarding the match simultaneously. You can even stream a match online now.

Sports journalism has been free and independent throughout its history in India. The only rough patch it faced was during the brief period of 1975-1977 as the then Prime Minister, Indira Gandhi declared national emergency. That would be the only form of retribution journalism got from the Indian government.

Sports Journalism is still a thriving industry with much more potential to grow. Today, the newer medium is the internet, you never know what more modes of communication we will come across.  

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