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Fanatic Journalism and the Curse of Social Media

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Social media has exponentially increased the viewership of sports journalists in recent years, but does it prioritise quantity over quality?

Social media has proven itself a great tool for sports journalists in recent years.

It allows for us to receive immediate score updates, the latest team news, or Fabrizio Romano to inform us all where our favourite players are #herewego’ing off to in the summer.

All in an instant.

No matter where we are.

However, it is this same facilitating of immediacy that is slowly chipping away at the integrity of sports journalism, promoting short-termism like never before.

Pundits and other commentators flip flop between opinions, as if dictated by something as arbitrary as the direction of the wind.

Take Tottenham, for example.

Before the season, I took a look at their squad, compared them to their Premier League rivals and came to the conclusion that they would likely finish the season around 6th.

After three unconvincing 1-0 wins to start the season, suddenly my opinion was pessimistic, with new boss Nuno Espirito Santo clearly the best thing since sliced bread.

Three games later, all of which were heavy defeats to their London rivals and my retained prediction of 6th was delusional.

It was obvious that Nuno needed sacking.

Barely a week goes by where you do not hear sports journalists on TV bemoan the lack of time given to modern-day managers, yet it is those same individuals often popularising fickle opinions on a day-to-day basis, through mediums like social media.

How otherwise could it be that Tottenham, a team supposedly in crisis and destined for mid-table mediocrity, having a shocker of a season, sit 5th after 8 games?

To put this into context, Arsenal, who are steadily building towards success and allegedly geared up to beat Manchester United in the battle for the final Champions League position, now sit 12th?

Now, don’t get me wrong.

Sensationalist journalism is popular.

After all, these flaky opinions generate an absurd number of clicks, with fans sharing misleading stats in group chats across the globe, perhaps to provoke a mate after a particularly satisfying win at the weekend.

However, the problem begins when people start genuinely believing the dodgy logic behind such posts.

It is a very similar issue to that posed by video games, which seem to have convinced a new generation of young fans that any player over the age of 30 is finished.

There are signs that this is getting even worse.

For evidence of this, look no further than the treatment Harry Kane has received online this season.

At the age of just 28, I have read countless reports that England’s captain is past his peak, a mere shadow of the player we once knew.

The evidence for this?

He failed to score in six Premier League appearances.

To be fair, this is a notable drop in standards from a player with the calibre of Kane, highlighted by the fact that this was the first time he had drawn a blank in the league for the opening six games of a Premier League campaign since the 2015/16 season.

However, the reason why the opinion is so ridiculous, so laughable, is the fact that Kane HAS been scoring this season.

A lot.

Kane has found the net in every other competition he has played in, scoring nine goals for club and country, prior to finding his first in the league against Newcastle this past weekend.

That’s three in the Europa Conference League.

Two in the qualifiers for that competition.

One in the EFL Cup.

Three in consecutive World Cup qualifiers for England.

Add in the goal against the Magpies at the weekend and that’s 10 goals in 15 appearances.

This is not a time for Kane to panic.

I should be clear that this is not a media agenda against Tottenham either.

I heard various reports throughout last season and indeed at the start of this season that Arsenal were legitimate contenders for relegation.

Look at them now.

There are so many points during Mikel Arteta’s two-year tenure as the Gunners’ boss that people on social media have clamoured for his sacking.

The same goes for pretty much every other Premier League manager.

Yet if the Spaniard were to depart North London, there is not a doubt in my mind that, within hours, nearly everyone would be stating how he should have been given more time.

It is this fanatic journalism that is at fault for the short-termism that plagues modern-day football.

The immediacy that is the USP of social media is also its curse, for wider context to an opinion is so rarely provided.

This is not something that is about to change and therefore, you may be wondering whether you have spent the past five minutes reading a rant.

Well, yes and no.

Take this article as a message of caution.

Enjoy the sensationalist articles out there, use them to irritate your mates, yet please think twice before actually believing them.

Loyalty is an attribute severely lacking in modern-day football, one that desperately needs to be restored.

Gone are the days of managers being associated with a single club – a lot needs to change in order for those glory days to return.

That journey starts with how we perceive what we read on social media.

We hope you enjoyed this article ‘Fanatic Journalism and the Curse of Social Media’. Do you agree that short-termism is an issue in sports journalism today? Is social media at the root of this problem?

Follow me at @luke_sport_news and let me know.

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Main Image Credits- Embed from Getty Images

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Sport Editor (Formerly Senior Sport Writer) for Concrete - UEA's Student Newspaper. Third-Year LLB Law with American Law Student at UEA. I am an aspiring Sports Journalist, with interests in Football, NBA, Cricket, Boxing, NFL, Formula 1, Rugby Union, Darts, Tennis and Golf among other sports. I am adept with Adobe Software, including InDesign and Photoshop. I also have experience using WordPress.