A new approach to sports reportingPosted: April 2, 2009
By: TOMMY MCGAHEE
There are numerous rules involved in covering collegiate sports, and one local college student is taking a unique approach in delivering information to the public.
With a goal of providing alternate sources of sports news, James Carr ventures into podcasting and live blogging have the potential to relay message. Carr, sports director at WUOG 90.5 fm, hopes to tap into social media to bypass the legal complexity of the University Athletic Department.
The WUOG sports staff currently covers baseball, a fall home game tailgating show and six talk shows a week. Add interviews and the annual play calling for the spring football game, and anything else would sound foolish.
But according to Carr, turning to the internet has only allowed additional opportunities, especially in the legal caveats of athletics.
Carr plans to bypass traditional athletic media restrictions by creating a weekly podcast show. Although forbidden to give live interviews while enrolled, Carr found a loophole with athletes and the internet.
“Anyone who is currently in the SEC is not allowed to do live interviews, but they are allowed to do pre-recorded interviews that can either be played over the air or, in this case, downloaded from the internet,” Carr said.
His first episode will guest star Jeff Owens, the starting defensive tackle for the University of Georgia football team. Owens maintains his own blog and expressed interest in being the inaugural interview. Carr hopes promotion on Owens’ Web site will launch the show and provide online traffic.
Owens is concerned with the negative stereotyping of athletes and their privileges on campus. Through his online writing he attempts to dispel wrongful accusations, especially those including athletes’ reception of illegal incentives and gifts.
To combat lingering doubts, during the show Owens will illustrate a typical athlete’s day-to-day activities. Topics will include the combination of study and schedules with practicing and injuries.
“It’s something that no one really knows much about and it’s something I’m interested in,” Carr said. I know it would be something the Georgia following would enjoy.”
Carr hopes to set the foundation for the podcast before summer, and have consistent updates in the fall on a variety of sports.
Live blogging is another avenue Carr is looking to pursue, with an initial focus on college baseball.
With restrictions placed on the quantity of updates during SEC games, Carr wants to make sure each post is unique and informational for the reader.
He also wants to differentiate himself from local commercial stations by providing details others often overlook. From pitch speed to player’s ranking in the lineup, Carr hopes to deliver an experience that keeps readers coming back.
“My main goal with this is that no other media outlets are doing live blogs,” Carr said. “I thought that was the best niche for us to get in and get the most people to the site who could find a different angle to the games.”
Carr realizes that reader response will trickle in, and is only hopeful for the future. With 17 homes games left in the season, Carr plans to attend as many as possible. He feels the community deserves another outlet for sports news outside of the mainstream offering.
“We want to get more community involvement and feel like we’re making a difference,” said Carr. “We want people to be interested in what we have to say, and we’re going to try and make a big impact on the Georgia sports community.”