As noted by NEWSDAY’s Neil Best today, the Tiger Woods story has appeared on the front cover of the NEW YORK POST 16 straight days, three short of the record set by the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
That’s unimaginable to most, considering television and newspapers are far from the fuel line for the Woods saga. Websites like TMZ.com, RadarOnline, this one and many others not only ignited the biggest sports story of our lifetime, but continue to legitimately advance a complex plot that has the world population obsessed. (Just ask the CEOs of Google and Yahoo.)
Online-only investigative reporting is almost exclusively what has driven Woods to acknowledge his infidelity to the world - forcing all mainstream sports and news outlets to not only recognize the story but also give it a reluctant follow.
The Tiger Woods story is our best example yet about how the balance of media distribution power is shifting. Used to be that a story could only get tidal traction through the so-called legitimate media gatekeepers on television and in print.
But this story is prompted by hustling, bare bones blog outlets free from the tentacles of incestuous financial arrangements with advertisers and the PGA Tour and worries over future access to Woods himself.
For a site like SbB, it’s an even larger impact. To this point, online sports media has mirrored television sports media in that the vast majority of sports fans still only get their sports news from a Bristol-based platform. (See Standard Oil, circa 1890.)
But with ESPN reluctant to cover the daily intrigue that has fueled Woods to acknowledge his infidelities and quit golf, sports fans are more and more discovering sites like mine.
The longer we have legitimate news emanating from the Tiger Woods story, the more people will seek out sites like SbB, TMZ and others. Though ESPN is far from suffering an exodus of consumers, I can confirm that for first time since I started SbB in 2001, there is marked progress in blogs like mine penetrating they psyche of your average media consuming sports fan.
The fan that still thinks Chris Berman in delightfully clever wordsmith and Stu Scott’s sports sensibilities are cutting edge. The barbarians are still a ways from the gate, but I’m happy to report I’ve finally secured a standard-issue pitchfork.