League of Fans Calls For Sports Journalists to Fulfill Their Journalistic Duty
Asks Fans and Other Stakeholders to Demand More From the Sports Media and Its Large “News Hole”
Ralph Nader announced today that his League of Fans organization is starting a campaign to ask the sports media to increase their work on the social, cultural, and economic aspects of sports.
“The sports media are falling dreadfully short when it comes to the in-depth examination of why our major sports problems exist and what can be done to fix them or prevent them,” said Nader. “They’re overloading their audiences with sugar – the entertainment aspects of spectator sports – and giving them very little in the way of healthy fruits and vegetables – the “whys” and “hows” of our current sports issues. That has to change.”
Ken Reed, League of Fans’ sports policy director, said that from a journalistic ethics perspective, the sports media has the corporate social responsibility to give us more than game coverage, trade rumors and injury reports from our big-time sports leagues.
“As a whole – and there definitely are exceptions — the sports media too often simply identify the symptoms of problems and then stop,” says Reed. “Rarely, do they dig for root causes, or examine important sports issues from a holistic perspective, including social, educational, economic, safety, and health angles. And they don’t ask questions like, ‘Is sport, as presently constructed in this country, meeting the needs of participants, spectators, taxpayers and families?’ There’s virtually no examination of the core sports systems and models at work. For the most part, they’re taken for granted.”
League of Fans is calling for sports media organizations to 1) establish a sports issues and sports reform beat; 2) add an ombudsman function to investigate complaints from fans and other sports stakeholders; and 3) cover all aspects of sports, including participatory sports, not just highly commercialized spectator sports. In addition, League of Fans is asking fans to demand more from traditional sports media and utilize the tools of the Internet to challenge sports media conglomerates.
“Media routines and ruts have been successfully challenged throughout our history,” said Reed. “Traditional sports media companies can be improved by public demand. It’s time to engage in the struggle.”
The announcement came in conjunction with the release of the League of Fans’ eleventh report, “Sports Media Dropping the Ball on Social, Cultural and Economic Issues in Sports,” from its Sports Manifesto. The full report is available here.
Sports Forum Podcast
Episode #22 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Rethinking Sports Fandom with Author Craig Calcaterra – We discuss Calcaterra’s new book “Rethinking Fandom: How to Beat the Sports-Industrial Complex at Its Own Game” and explore new ways to be a fan in the year 2022.
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Episode #21 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Chatting About a Broken Game With Baseball Writer Pedro Moura – Moura is a national baseball writer for Fox Sports. We discuss how and why the game of baseball is broken, what factors caused it, and offer a few thoughts on how to “fix” a great game.
Episode #20 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Coaching Youth and High School Sports Based On What’s Best for the Athlete’s Holistic Development – We chat with long-time youth, high school and college basketball coach Jim Huber.
Episode #19 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Capturing the Spirit of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League with Anika Orrock – We discuss the hoops AAGPFL women had to jump through to play the game they loved as well as the long-term impact and legacy they have in advancing sports opportunities for girls and women.
Episode #18 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Talking about the 50th Anniversary of Title IX and the Lia Thomas Controversy with Nancy Hogshead-Makar – Hogshead-Makar is a triple gold medalist in swimming, a civil rights attorney and CEO of Champion Women.
Episode #17 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Talking Sports With Legendary New York Times Sports Columnist Robert Lipsyte – We chat about Lipsyte’s amazing career and some of the athletes he covered.
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Ken Reed appears on Mornings with Gail from KFKA Radio in Colorado to discuss bad parenting in youth athletics.
“Should College Athletes Be Paid?” Ken Reed on The Morning Show from Wisconsin Public Radio
Ken Reed appears on KGNU Community Radio in Colorado (at 02:30) to discuss equality in sports and Title IX.
Ken Reed appears on the Ralph Nader Radio Hour (at 38:35) to discuss his book The Sports Reformers: Working to Make the World of Sports a Better Place, and to talk about some current sports issues.
- League of Fans Sports Policy Director Ken Reed quoted in Washington Post column titled "What happened to P.E.? It’s losing ground in our push for academic improvement," by Jay Mathews
League of Fans is a sports reform project founded by Ralph Nader to fight for the higher principles of justice, fair play, equal opportunity and civil rights in sports; and to encourage safety and civic responsibility in sports industry and culture.
Sports & Torts – Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans – at the American Museum of Tort Law
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Ken Reed’s Author Page on Amazon