Bimbo Banter

What Baseball Can Teach Us About the Changing Media Landscape

  • Trends
  • March 23, 2016
  • by Laura Barnett

Spring training must be in the air because here I am engrossed in “Moneyball”, Michael Lewis’ 2003 bestseller about the 2002 Oakland A’s. As the farthest thing from a baseball fan, I can attest to Lewis’ tremendous skill at making baseball and statistics not only engaging but motivating.

If you’re not familiar with the book, or didn’t catch the 2011 Brad Pitt movie, it’s a classic disruptor story.

General Manager Billy Beane challenges the decades-old status quo of recruiting baseball players and building teams by focusing on players’ statistics, instead of how well they fill out a baseball uniform. Thus, he often seeks out players most powerhouse teams overlook. It’s understandable that players who can hit and get on base will improve their chances of scoring more runs and therefore, win more games. But some members of baseball’s old guard have been slow to come around to the “revolutionary” idea.

About two-thirds of the way through the book, in a chapter called “The Trading Desk”, Beane faces the drama and deal-making that comes with the July 30 trading deadline. Obviously, reporters salivate at the prospect of breaking the news of a major trade or acquisition for a team. When ESPN Reporter Peter Gammons calls Beane in the hours before the trade deadline, he doesn’t pick up. Why?

“They all want scoops. There are no scoops. Whatever we do will be in every paper tomorrow. There’s no such thing as a paper that comes out in an hour.”

I can hear reporters in newsrooms all around the country howling with laughter. Just think, that was the truth a little over a decade ago. In the time it took for a baby to become a high-schooler, not only do papers come out every hour, they come out every minute. Reporters’ deadlines aren’t by the end of the day, they’re five minutes ago.

It goes without saying that your media relations strategy needs to adapt to reporters who can post stories from their phones, but it also begs a new question:  if this was the shift from 2002 to 2016, what in the world will 2030 bring? How immediate will the need be then?

Regardless of what news will look like, it is imperative that you adapt to the changing landscape to stay relevant and in front of your customer.

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