There is a very long (5,800+ words!), sort of rambling, kind of stream-of-consciousness, but still quite interesting take on the changing nature of beat writing over at a section of SI.com called The Cauldron, an area which bills itself as “Intelligent Sports Storytelling. Shared.”
The name of the article is “The Changing Beat”, with a subhead of “Once the province of beat writers and their ‘exclusive access,’ the sports media landscape keeps shifting.” It is essentially a treatise of how the new world of computers, with its facility at crunching numbers for analytics, seems to be endangering the art of the “game story” to such a degree that its practitioners risk ceding this responsibility to AI sportsbots spitting out dry accounts of fact after fact, at the expense of narrative and storytelling.
Whether you view this with equanimity or with alarm all depends on what you want from your sports journalism. Once upon a time the game story was the essential link between the games and its fans. It was the only way for many fans to even know what was happening with the favorites. Nowadays, it is arguably the game story that is the least read feature in all of sports journalism.
Check it out for yourself and see what you think.
The Changing Beat (cauldron.SI.com)