I feel like I should let you know what you’re in for. This is a long story about a juggler. It gets into some areas that matter in all sports, such as performance and audience and ambition, but there’s absolutely a lot of juggling in the next 6,700 words. I assume you may bail at this point, which is fine; I almost bailed a few times in the writing. The usual strategies of sportswriting depend on the writer and reader sharing a set of passions and references that make it easy to speed along on rivers of stats and myth, but you almost certainly don’t know as much about juggling as you do about football or baseball. We’re probably staring at a frozen lake here.
A few juggling videos are embedded below. I hope they help. We may fall through the ice anyway.
You had us at ‘juggler’.
[N]ews organizations need to realize the game has changed. Being first with commodity news no longer registers with readers — and readers, ultimately, are the ones who pay the bills, to the extent bills are paid at all in our era. The more energy wasted pursuing obsolete bragging rights, the less energy available for what really does still register with readers.
So what’s that? Stories that require you to slow down and invest more time in fewer efforts.
With commoditized news, the lifespan of scoops is now so short that they don’t matter. But not all news is commoditized – and with that kind of news, scoops hold their value. Exclusive reports, investigative journalism, and thoughtful long-form features can’t be quickly matched or hollowed out by a competitor’s summary or retweet. There sportswriters still have a chance at a window of exclusivity and creating something that will stand out from the news stream and be remembered by readers – with credit where it’s due.
Now it’s the first week of November, and Daulerio is telling me how he landed his most controversial scoop as we fly over a quilt of farmland on the way from New York to Indiana. In a few hours, he’s expected in Indianapolis to participate in a panel discussion titled “Where’s the Line? Sports Media in the Digital Age.” More than any other sports journalist in years, Daulerio has been redefining where that line is, and then crashing over it. His tactics—reporting rumors, paying for news, and making Deadspin’s money on stories that are really about sex, not sports—are questionable. His success is not. When he became editor of the site in July 2008, it had 700,000 readers per month. Today it has 2.3 million.