Matt Bowen (LAS MA ’09) has seen sports coverage change in the years since he was a professional player in the National Football League. Now, as a sportswriter and analyst, he sees the importance of embracing online media and adapting to how readers want to follow the news.
Sports coverage is a lot different now because of the Internet. People want their news so quickly. I think the biggest key to that is social media. Having a platform on Twitter is just as important as having a platform in the Chicago Tribune because that’s where a lot of people get their news. Sports fans go to Twitter right away. They want to see what you’re saying. It keeps you active during games.
I think everything is going digital. People want more videos, they want podcasts, they want different forms of news. So, it’s changing quite a bit. There are so many platforms out there now and there are so many different ways to get your voice out there. I think that’s a great opportunity.
Bowen has also seen what can happen when writers focus on controversial topics.
I’m not afraid to be aggressive in my writing. I’m not afraid to take chances. I wrote a story for the Chicago Tribune last March . It was a story that broke in the NFL about bounties. A bounty is when you target a player and try to take him out of the game and get paid for it.
I experienced that as a player when I was playing with the [Washington] Redskins, and I knew if I wrote this piece there would be a lot of negativity toward me, but I felt it was my job as a writer to tell the truth. I had to tell the story and do it in a professional way, which I believe I did. I felt it was my job to say “Look, I was a part of this. This is what happened. This is why it happened.” And I stand by doing it. I was a young kid when I did it, 27 years old. There are some things that happen in pro sports that don’t mesh with normal, everyday life and society, and sometimes those stories need to be told.