Re-definition of sports journalism
The recently held 2019 National Lotteries Authority National Sports Awards has served to redefine the terminology of who is a “Sports Journalist”.
According to the National Sports Council, the organisation which oversees the annual recognition and awards for our nation’s sportsmen and women, a Sports Journalist, is one who has access to a technological gadget and can post on Facebook the exploits of some Vincentian sporting individuals.
Additionally, there is no need for that person to conduct interviews, be present at local sporting competitions, write first-hand articles, and do any reporting of substance.
Likewise, a sports journalist can just repost press releases, and has no need to know or can identify who is who in sports here in St Vincent and the Grenadines.
In short, the National Sports Council (NSC), the organisers of the annual exercise, has in some way rerouted and re-calibrated people’s assessment of what is expected of a sports journalist.
Therefore, when the term of “sports journalist” can be trimmed to the extent of being the responsibility of a triviality and terse information, puts the profession/vocation in trouble.
Unfortunately, the NSC, by awarding a person as the “Sports Journalist of the Year”, has done just that, as it has left those who toil in the vineyard of sports here in St Vincent and the Grenadines, second guessing their stance and contribution.
Such an accolade, as announced at the NSC’s function two weeks ago, reflects the new thinking, the new mode of providing sports coverage of Vincentians.
This is not to dispel that the use of social media platforms, as in this case Facebook, should not be utilised to disseminate information on sports, or other areas for that matter, but without prior notice, the NSC has decided to go that route.
One accepts without any contradiction, that social media is a fast way of getting information out in quick time, and with instant coverage.
But some of those outlets do not have copy editors, and other chains of accuracy and filtering mechanisms, hence become free for all.
What though is also worrying in the whole scheme of things, is that with the NSC’s choice and what constitutes who is a sports journalist, it can open up the flood gate for the devaluation in standards of sports reporting.
So, quality is sacrificed for trends in what is the being purported as sports journalism.
It is somewhat incongruous that the said NSC expects of others who are engaged in traditional media, to act on their behalf; carry their press releases and the likes.
But that is the responsibilities and ethics of true sports journalists, who endeavour to carry out their duties as professionals.
With the NSC putting a new spin to sports journalism though, would not deter persons who have dutifully represented without prejudice, the hard work of our sportsmen and women.
The true sports journalists of St Vincent and the Grenadines will continue to promote the work of the those indefatigable administrators, both at the community and national level.
Conversely, those bonafide sports journalists will, when the need arises, be critical of those sporting organisations, when they are not carrying out their mandate, nor serving their respective sporting disciplines, in a manner that is short of being efficacious.
Sports journalism here in St Vincent and the Grenadines, despite its average acceptance and appeal, is an integral part of the development of sports and community development.
The few persons who are the pacemakers and foot soldiers of recording the sporting activities, do so though with the bigger picture in mind; that of, the promotion of the God-given talents of the sportsmen and women, and most of all, enhancement of humans, as worthwhile beings.
Titles or no titles, recognitions or none, the real sports journalists of St Vincent and the Grenadines will soar on.