NewsTrack Week 2: ESPN Gets Personal

Something I noticed about ESPN this week was the word choice for their headlines.

Sports news, boiled down, would be just the facts: This team won X-X, this player was injured, this played scored, this player fumbled, this player fouled. It’s surprising, though, how flashy ESPN is, and how personal each article is.

Screen Shot 2015-10-09 at 10.34.21 AM
Screenshot from Oct. 9

Here, instead of simply saying “Arian Foster throws Gatorade,” they say he “takes it out” on the cooler. This casual tone opens the door to their audience and makes ESPN closer to their readers. The sports audience is only seeking sports, the same way that celebrity magazines cater to those only interested in celebrities. This informal wording is rarely found in sources like CNN or the New York Times. I wouldn’t say that this tone makes them less reputable, but it definitely makes me want to read the article to draw my own opinion, instead of framing the story for me.

Screen Shot 2015-10-09 at 10.35.10 AM
Screenshot from Oct. 9

Another thing that struck me was this headline about the Royals: this reads very biased to me, and I would think that ESPN of all places would try to be completely unbiased because you have fans of all teams coming there. Other major news outlets, though they shouldn’t, tend to lean one way or another, and this is slightly acceptable because their audience knows that. For example, a very liberal student likely isn’t going to go to FOX News to get information.

I hadn’t noticed this on my pervious visits to the site, but the Twitter feed on the side acts like the mobile and online versions of Twitter do: real time updates of when new items arrive, alerted to the reader by this blue bubble:

Screen Shot 2015-10-09 at 10.35.28 AM

Now that I’m taking a closer look at ESPN, I’m wondering if I will continue to see a trend of opinionated and leading headlines, or if the personal statements will be in the meat of the text.

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2 thoughts on “NewsTrack Week 2: ESPN Gets Personal

  1. Hi Hallie, see if you see such headlines primarily with columns. And, yes, there is often a different style with sports hedlines — think tabloids, like the Boston Herald. Tho a sports business story or a story about a sports figure on trial is likely to be played differently.

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