Where are the minority writers?

January 23, 2008

Last week, The Big Lead had an interesting post concerning the shortage of minority writers being hired at major sports websites.

In case you’ve been living under a rock, or just not familiar with the sports media, newspapers are a dying breed. You can’t go more than a couple of months without hearing about cutbacks and layoffs by major and small newspaper companies. Because of that, many sports journalists are either trying to rethink their career path and looking to make the jump to greener pastures — in the internet.

In the world of instant information, the internet is the go-to source for news, particularly sports. Gone are the days where we wait for the morning newspaper to find our scores, stats and analysis. We want it now. We demand it. Those who are smart recongize this and thus the internet revolution is in full speed.  ESPN, Yahoo!, SI and others are major players and competitors in the online sports journalism world.

Many prominent minority sports writers have made the jump from newspapers to the internet. It starts and ends with the late Ralph Wiley, but more recently, Jeffri Chadiha, JA Adande, Jason Whitlock, Howard Bryant, Jemele Hill, Jim Trotter and others have made the move. And while I enjoy each of these writers and each bring a unique voice to their respective outlet, in the big picture, things are still progressing slowly.

 As TBL mentions, at Yahoo!, of 33 writers, 30 are white males. At SportsLine, 26 of 32 writers are white male. In continuing with the push towards diversity, this must improve. Not to take away anything from the writers on these staffs, but there must be writers who can provide different perspectives and points of view.

 So, as we witness a transitional period in how sports are covered, analyzed and dissected, we are making progress, but there is still a long way to go.