SPORTS WRITERS are “too frightened to challenge the authorities”, according to author and sports journalist David Goldblatt in an exclusive interview with CU Today’s Greg Keane at the 2009 Play the Game conference in Coventry today.
Sports reporting today lacks a “critical edge”, he says, with the number of journalists writing on serious and difficult issues being just too small.
“They like their comfortable existence – they like access to the people they are writing about and the authorities both commercially and political are completely ruthless and they’ll take those things away from you if you rock the boat”.
We need to have sport editors, both in broadcast media and in the print media who’ve got the balls to back up their journalists when they’re taking on these people
Journalists being too close to their subjects, such as those who have ghost write sporting personalities’ autobiographies for instance, resulting in difficulties in reporting impartially and accurately on their subject is a prominent issue.
However journalists who want to look closer in detail on subjects and personalities and are anxious to report critically, is an issue that needs backing from editors according to Goldblatt.
“We need to have sport editors, both in broadcast media and in the print media who’ve got the balls to back up their journalists when they’re taking on these people.”
Goldblatt also feels the state of sports journalism in this country is “mixed”. “There’s some really fantastic work going on, there’s a lot of mediocre work and there’s some plain disgraceful stuff. For every David Conn, there are twenty other people writing a lot of cobblers,” he said.