Why Citizen Journalism Works For Sports

Think back to the last sports story you read, whether about your favorite player, new trade or how the winning goal was scored. There’s a good chance you learned about it on social media -- from a friend’s Facebook post or tweet -- and an even better chance that you don't remember the author’s name.  In fact, millennial content consumption has shifted from a focus on big brands and big-name writers to social stories that are shared by their constituents and capture their attention.

Publishers are realizing the benefits of content produced by citizen journalists -- allowing anyone to become a writer and share their passionate point of view. Here are a few ideas to help publishers tap into this important industry trend and increase engagement with this sought-after millennial audience segment.

Some of the best contributors could be everyday people. Give people a platform, the tools, cool templates and a way to distribute -- and you'll find some of the best content creators in the world are regular people. The beauty of sports is that it forms a community organically. Fans can’t help but want to contribute, share and discuss what they are passionate about. This is where authentic stories are formed.



Speak in the language of your audience. To reach millennials, you need the like-minded voices of their peers to deliver an impactful message. Make your content short and digestible, easy to read on mobile, and a breeze to share. Sports creates a two-way conversation and dialogue best delivered in everyday language. While there is a place for long-form sports journalism, the millennial audience wants short, snackable content, graphics and videos. Programming by platform -- in this case social -- requires a different set of skills or personalities to embrace the writing style.

Influence the influencers. Some of the most popular influencers in sports carry a following unmatched by any sports media property.  Find those influencers in verticals that are endemic to your brand and influence them. And, if you can influence the influencers, you can win consumers faster and more efficiently than ever before.  

With social referral traffic continuing to be a larger piece of the publishing ecosystem, the investment into citizen journalism has begun to  grow signficantly.  When given the right tools, templates and content management platforms, real fans deliver authentic stories with built-in social influence.  By putting the fan first, publishers can enable organizational growth from the outside in, which can be more scalable and efficient across the board.

1 comment about "Why Citizen Journalism Works For Sports".
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  1. Chuck Lantz from, network, July 21, 2016 at 4:12 p.m.

    Damnit!  Yet again, Paula Lynn beats everyone to the finish line!  So, I'll make my reply "short and digestible, easy to read on mobile, and a breeze to share", and just say "exactly!"

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