Sportswriting: Long-Form Journalism Not Lost, After All

Adweek has a hopeful article: “Sportswriters Go Long Online.” In it, Emma Bazilian points out that the Internet has become “a haven for lengthy prose,” the kind that print outlets find it harder to publish. After all, “It costs us the same amount [of money] to run 3,000 or 300 words,” says sports site The Classical’s co-founder David Roth (also a writer for WSJ’s The Daily Fix).

While I don’t like sports and avoid reading about them, I can appreciate that there have been several excellent writers working in that field. Like in any genre, having some space to muse, reflect, and draw connections is essential for truly quality writing.

But there’s a catch. Sure, there’s more of a demand for long-form journalism on the Web; however, the economics don’t seem to have changed. The example profiled in this piece, The Classical, doesn’t pay its writers: “‘There might not be a whole lot of money in it yet,’ [co-founder Glenn Stout, series editor for The Best American Sports Writing] said. ‘But you can not only find a place to show your work—you can find an audience for it.’”

Ah, yes, the reward of exposure. Now if only landlords and utility companies would accept it as payment.

*Note: I incorrectly identified Glenn Stout in an earlier draft; I’ve since corrected it. My apologies to Mr. Stout.


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