David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Journal of Mass Media Ethics 22 (4):332 – 347 (2007)
This paper explores the marginalized practice of sportswriting to demonstrate the limited ways in which the question "who is a journalist?" has been answered within the profession. Following John Dewey and Raymond Williams, we offer an alternative view of democratic culture that values narrative as well as information. We also discuss how "New Journalists" (and other writers since), in their quest for fresh, sophisticated storytelling strategies, turned to sports as a cultural activity worthy of serious examination. Our goal is to demonstrate that sportswriting fundamentally resembles other forms of reporting and that journalism should not use sports as an ethical straw man against which to defend the virtue of its serious work. This suspension of our usual ethical judgments would deepen our sense of the moral significance of sportswriting and allow us to rethink journalism's relation to democratic culture in productive new ways.
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