Subscribing to fellow journalists’ social media reveals stories

As cliché as it sounds, the most widespread stories out there, especially in the sports world, are not always the most interesting.

After subscribing to tennis journalists from every medium and publication on social media, it was interesting to see what I would not have otherwise caught.

Malek Jaziri, a Tunisian tennis player currently at No. 65 in the ATP World Tour Rankings, pulled out of a singles match he was playing in the Open Sud de France tournament in Montpellier. The odd part was, he was up in the match. He proceeded to withdraw from his next doubles match.

So, what? Well, his next opponent in both singles and doubles would have been an Israeli. That is where the history of Tunisia not allowing its players to compete against Israelis comes into play. In 2013, the same situation came into play with Jaziri being asked to pull out of another tournament.

This is not something that would necessarily make tons of headlines on the front cover of a general sports website or publication, but tennis writers who post about it bring an interesting situation, with implications outside the world of tennis to their followers as well.

Take Ben Rothenberg, a frequent contributor to The New York Times for example:

This may not be news of the day, but is something for a web editor to look out for in the future. Perhaps when a writer for an outlet is covering a tennis event in which Jaziri is playing, they would be able to talk to him and really get down to the bottom of what exactly is going on. Does he really want to withdraw? So on, and so forth.

Furthermore, many writers who specialize in a certain beat or area of interest are more likely than not going to know a lot about the subject. Something I noticed after following tennis writers were the little nuggets that they come up with.

Stuff like this may not necessarily mean that much, but it is thought-provoking. Somebody can see this and decide to do a story on theoretical tennis champions. For all intents and purposes, a very low-ranked player could have beaten another athlete who beat Roger Federer.

That isn’t the most newsworthy story, but if people see a headline that might say, “World No. 203 theoretically can beat Roger Federer,” people will probably read that story.

Following news feeds of outlets such as ESPN is helpful as well. They are constantly tweeting news, usually before anybody else. But, as an editor, that is where the work really begins. Take for example something that came up on the “SportsCenter” feed:

This may seem like just a tidbit of sports news, but it could really turn into more than just information. If a news editor saw that, they could put a reporter on it to write a really in-depth future on the player. If he played with such terrible injuries, what does that say about his character? A writer could call Chancellor’s high school coaches, try to contact his parents, or anybody else to try to delve into the history of his toughness, to really tell the full story.

So, social media may seem simple to set up and follow along, but it is key to look at the content streaming through. It is easy to miss something that could be extremely useful for a media company.

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