Rose Table Dialogues: Sportsmanship in Journalism
JUNE 14, 2022: This inaugural Rose Table Dialogue engaged over 20 sportscasters and writers to address ways the public can see more acts of sportsmanship in coverage of games and other aspects of the sport.
How do sports journalists and game-casters bring these heroic and generous acts into their coverage? What else can they do to advance these positive values in sports while being true to their professions?
In an attention economy, where information overload means that it is hard to distinguish messages from the noise, people’s time and attention are the scarcity. To gain attention, often people resort to sensationalism, extremism, or aberrant behavior. It means that acts that do not reflect the best values of sportsmanship often get covered more than the heroic and generous acts of fellow or opponent athletes. This is natural, just as aberrant acts make the news over everyday acts of generosity.
Outstanding acts of sportsmanship do get rare moments of coverage: The marathon runner who gives up his or her position in the race to help a fallen runner cross the line. The coach who helps a player on the other team by giving them missing equipment. Or the fan who makes a fantastic catch of a baseball in the stands only to give it to a child nearby.