THE most important question for sports journalist to ask themselves

What am I providing my readers that they can’t get anywhere else?

That’s it.

It sounds simple. But it requires a really honest, self-reflexive answer. Because a lot of sports journalists would probably believe they are giving readers something they can’t get anywhere else.

But are you really?

No … really?

Really think it through. :ook at your last 10 stories. Take an honest look at your last month’s worth of story budgets. Give a hard look at your webpage or your section for the past month.

Are you really giving readers something they can’t get on ESPN? The Athletic? Reddit? Twitter? The team’s website?

No really. You don’t have to say it out loud, but be honest with yourself. Are you?

If we’re entering a world in which we are going to be asking readers to pay for a subscription - on top of the dozens of other platforms they’re likely already subscribed to - sports news organizations have to give people something that makes them want to spend $5-10 a month on them. A sense of obligation, and a business plan built around the word “should” won’t work.

So, what are you providing readers that they can’t get anywhere else?

Here’s the cool part: You get to define what that something is.