Sports writing in the digital age has undergone a sea-change, much like how sports is being consumed. This, and many other interesting aspects of sports writing in the digital age were discussed by Peter Lalor, senior correspondent, The Australian, and Gideon Haig, journalist, in conversation with KC Vijayakumar, sports editor, The Hindu, on Day 2 of The Hindu Lit for Life.
Addressing Vijayakumar’s question on how one could cut out the outside noise in the digital age, Haig admitted that while it was not easy, it was definitely possible, while adding that technology had brought huge benefits in its stride. “There is a great range of personalities promenading through the boxes that we can access, on TV,” said Haig, while Lalor added, “You can miss a lot by turning down the sound on the TV, but the ideas you form are your own.”
Lalor also addressed the question of how, in the digital age, when news gets out first through various platforms like Twitter, whether he felt that journalists are being sidestepped as there are no press conferences. “Not really. I want to be left to my own resources to find my stories and not be spoon-fed. You aren’t really out there or digging around, and sports writing in the digital age just needs you to be good at your job,” he said.
Furthering Vijyakumar’s point on how, in the olden days, feedback on a piece of sports writing took a while, but in the digital age, it was instantaneous, Gideon said, “Sometimes, it is interesting to see what people make of your piece, but most likely, they are talking to themselves. One cannot afford to take it personally. I like it that the audience is argumentative and that it has opinions. Such comments, especially those that came up during Phil Hughes’ death, show two things: how people connect to cricket and how their responses can be forces of nature.”
The duo also spoke about the fun of doing podcasts, challenges too. Lalor highlighted on such incident, “It was three in the morning and I was in Pakistan, and Gideon hadn’t pushed ‘record’. Still, our friendship survived,” he joked, while Gideon said, “Our podcasts are freewheeling.” Lalor also pointed out how people like the warmth of a conversation over what happens on TV.
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