Second tier sport federations and teams need to update Twitter
Last Sunday, I was not in China but I did publish a news article about the Australian women’s national water polo team at coming in second at the last major water polo competition before the Olympics. Did I mention they finished second in China and as a reporter, I was sitting in Canberra?
In the rush to published, I used the best available sources: Twitter, Facebook, live stats from a gambling site and FINA’s official reporting. Sadly, FINA’s updates were not very informative, nor very live. The iPhone application they had for live coverage of FINA events only had diving and was restricted geographically so as an Australian, I would not have been able to access it anyway. Australian water polo provided a few snippets of information but not enough to develop a comprehensive live understanding of how the game was unfolding on Twitter, Facebook or their own site. The players obviously could not update Twitter and if their friends and families were there, they were not updating using hashtags or on the official space to make reporting easy.
Added to the lack of data, one of my reviewers was highly critical of the Australian centric focus of the article. Whether or not the reviewers comments were valid, the lack of referencing the United States in greater detail was because while the Australians updated minimally, the United States Water Polo federation did not appear to even recognise that their women were competing. Instead, they wrote about the men’s national team and a fundraiser. As a media person trying to get a story published with in hours of an Olympic team’s final performance before the games, I could not write about Team USA if I wanted to. Thus, the United States lost an opportunity to get media coverage that could have been helpful to other media organisations during the Olympic Games.
The moral to this story is this: Not every journalist can afford to travel to report on sporting event your team is involved with. Not every journalist can afford to wait for the press release published several hours after an event. Good journalists on a time crunch may use social media to report on your event. Provide updates on Facebook and Twitter not just for fans of your team but for the media to make it easier for them to do their job. The less traditional media coverage your sport gets, the more important it is to do social media and do it well.