When it comes to journalism, I’m not not much of an academic. I teach it in university from a strictly practical perspective.
When faced with the question “What is journalism?”, I don’t have an academic definitions to fall back on. I consider the act of journalism to be a black box. Facts go in one end and interpretation comes out the other. Journalism takes a complicated stew of facts and opinions and turns them into summaries that are more easily understood.
It is with that definition in mind that I looked at Rookie, a new Web site for sports stories. I intentionally avoided the word “journalism” there because the site doesn’t mention it on its About page:
Rookie is a sports site. But it’s not like any sports site you’ve read before. Instead of regurgitating the same scores and boring articles as everyone else, we’re working behind the scenes, hand-selecting the storylines that are important, and using quotes and comments from people that matter to tell them (players, coaches, and insiders). Accompanying the stories are the best sports photos you’ll find this side of an art gallery.
And that’s what it does. Each “storyline” is a collation of quotes from other journalistic enterprises and Twitter. Rookie doesn’t even try to write articles, boring or fresh.
Each storyline does have an introductory paragraph. It’s something. Is it enough to pass as journalism according to my definition? I think so, but only because of that paragraph. Blurbs count.
Does that make this good journalism, though? I doubt it. Good journalism would incorporate those quotes in an article instead of leaving them in list layout. Am I being to old-fashioned?
One thing unquestionably positive about Rookie is it’s pretty. The layout is stunning.