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Vol. 47, No. 1 • November 2009 • .pdf version
New media is just an invitation to new opportunities
By TED GANGI / Webmaster
This year, the Football Writers Association of America grew its membership by more than 20 percent. In a time in which the newspaper industry is on life support, how in the world did that happen? It was just a matter of finding the new breed of media.
Truth is, despite the state of the traditional printed newspaper, there's more being written and said by more people in more outlets than ever before.
And, the evolution that has created more non-tradition and now "social" media continues at a rocket pace.
Don't tell that to the writer struggling to finda job after a third round of layoffs at his paper, right?
Yet, there are more media opportunities than ever.
Just look at what esPN has done with the launch of three local Web sites in Boston, Chicago and Dallas – with more to come. though much of the content is repurposed from ESPN's vast resources, there are local staff contributors. surely, there are more esPN microsites to come and, surely, someone will copy this trend.
Right now, as has been the case since newspaper Web sites became prominent more than 10 years ago, the biggest challenge is to make this new media profitable. Even the hugely prominent sites like Facebook and Twitter are struggling to find a way to become profitable.
So, what's the point? Despite shrinking numbers along press row, college sports are getting more than their share of coverage. Couple that with many schools that produce their own editorial content by hiring local writers to contribute to their official Web sites. For example, the Big 12 has a regular, full-time blogger and schools as different as texas and Rice have dedicated fulltime writers for their official sites.
Keeping that in mind, this is a good time for the USBWA to push its membership levels to new heights.
With over 600 combined men's and women's programs, all of whom have at least one sports information contact in addition to beat writers, bloggers and radio play-by-players, there is little reason that the USBWA cannot attract more than 1,000 members.
In a time in which there is so much change – people leaving the industry, while others are findingnew outlets for their talents – one of the best ways to network is to know whom to network with. membership in the USBWA can help you do that.
While the initial membership deadline has passed for this season, the USBWA is still taking applications. The $40 annual dues pay for themselves in benefits and, most of all, you get a membership directory to help you stay in touch with the college basketball world.
As a USBWA member, if you were to encourage just one of your colleagues to join, the association could easily top the goal of 1,000 members. By attracting more non-traditional media, the FWAA now has its largest membership ever. and thus the resources to create more programs and add even more benefits.Yes, the newspaper industry that most of us grew up on is hurting, but by no means is the media business dead. those of you who love what you do, who love to write, who love college basketball, will fin an outlet for expression. The USBWA just wants to find you. ace by using some common sense, discretion and respect for each other's time.
Ted Gangi is the webmaster of the USBWA's official site, usbwa.com. He also runs collegepressbox.com, a media website for 68 schools in six Division I football conferences. He is based in Dallas.
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