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The missing sports section

Written By: Terry Foster | December 13, 2011

Filed Under: Opinion

The Detroit News changed its look at Detnews.com and it struck me how much smarter we are on the web than the actual newspaper.

Amongst the “regular” news of the day on the main page were sports stories about Michigan State losing a key recruit to Ohio State. There was a Lions story and a column about Rip Hamilton and his worth to the Pistons. Sports is a driving force for news organizations. People love sports. They hate sports. But they pay attention to sports.

Sports stories make the front page of the newspaper more often but back in the dark ages of newspapers sports was considered toys and games and editors believed it did not belong with real news. They were wrong.

Here is an exercise for you the next time you go to the airport. If you see a newspaper laying around a gate there is a 90 percent chance the sports section is missing. We read the newspaper. We read the sports section cover to cover.

We carry a newspaper around. We crumple up the sports section in our bag to savor for later.

It is especially true in this town where three of the four professional sports teams are very competitive in their leagues and the fourth — the Detroit Pistons — have won three NBA titles and been to nine Eastern Conference Finals. Michigan and Michigan State are both 10-win football teams. Their basketball teams will have a say in who wins the Big Ten title and Wayne State’s football team is playing for a national title this weekend.

This is one of the best sports towns in America. The Sporting News dubbed it the best sports town twice during its annaual rankings. Detroit will probably make top five again this year when the rankings are released.

Go to the News or Free Press sights and most days three to four stories make top 10 most read. You can write about a Lions’ right pinky and it will make the list.

ESPN is one of the most powerful networks in the nation. My radio show The Valenti and Foster Show has been the number one show in afternoon drive for three years running. It is a testiment that people love sports mixed with the news of the day. Sports pushes every emotion in the book. It relaxes, invigorates, stimulates, infuriates and allows us to celebrate all at the same time.



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4 Responses to “The missing sports section”

  1. RJ Says:

    No doubt T. Sports is the reason I stream your radio show online every afternoon even though I live 500+ miles from detroit now. Keep up the great work


  2. BryanS Says:

    I too lament the missing (or tiny) sports sections in newspapers. But isn’t it possible you answered your own question as to why? Sports is many things, but most importantly, it’s communal. Where as an article about a shooting, or a city financial crisis is more about personal feelings. Those things are about “news.” Sports is about getting together with your buddies at a bar a debating the BCS. Or Calling into a radio talk show to be abused by the host(s). Sports is about the interaction. It lends itself to radio shows and comment sections like this one. Where opinions can be freely debated. As a result, those that are truly interested in sports now seek it out- be it on the internet or elsewhere. There is less of a need for a sports section in the newspaper because the fans of sports, in general, don’t count on it the same way an old man needs to read the story about a politics in the newspaper.


  3. Jim Says:

    Agreed, but explain to me why the sports section is 1/2 the size it used to be 20 yrs ago


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