The good part about the new direction of journalism is that it’s so immediate. Breaking news arrives instantly and goes worldwide. But it comes at a high cost, considering the decline of long form and in-depth reporting.
While there are still publications that provide great long-form material, many are caught up in the minute-by-minute frenzy.
Which brings me to my point. I saw where Bill Simmons’ HBO show “Any Given Wednesday” included guest Kevin Durant, who said, “Nobody cares about what I want as a person. It’s all about what I can do on the basketball court. They don’t care if I like going fishing on Tuesdays or like taking pictures on the street. Nobody cares as long as I can shoot that ball into the hoop. Why should I care what they think if they don’t really care about me as a whole?”
Whether he was talking about media or fans, that’s exactly why in-depth journalism matters. It’s a way to present athletes as more than one-dimensional. A way for fans to care whether KD likes to take pictures.
While the speed of news is partially to blame for the lack of depth, so are the players and teams. The Jazz allow just 10-15 minutes of interview time at practice, and a few minutes after games – when deadlines prevent much meaningful dialogue. How deep can a reporter get under those conditions?
Likewise, Utah and BYU football limit access to their athletes to about the same amount of time, once or twice a week.
Meanwhile, athletes are coached on how to answer in bland, distant, abbreviated clichés. Asked about hobbies and interests, most players give this type response: “Oh, I like to watch TV, hang out with my friends, that kind of stuff.”
They don’t want to let a reporter inside, nor are they worried about appearing multidimensional.
They’re worried about not saying anything that might be a “distraction” to the team.
Karl Malone, on the other hand, loved talking about hunting, off-road vehicles, the painting on his big rig, etc. But those kinds of players are rare.
I don’t know how accessible Kevin Durant is, but generally if a player wants to be regarded as complete person, he should make sure he/she is available for more than snippets.
Not only media, but fans want know the athletes beneath the surface. Only the players and coaches can make that happen.