Jonathan Kelley uses mobile journalism to bring tennis action to fans

In reality, not very many people care about tennis in the United States. Narrow that down to a college tennis tournament, and that number will dwindle even more.

So, as Jonathan Kelley provided mobile coverage for ZooTennis this past week, he found a niche that appeals to the few people who would care about the ITA National Men’s Team Indoor Championships.

For those who could not catch a live stream of the match between the University of Southern California and the University of Oklahoma, Kelley’s 81 tweets more than sufficed. He even added a recap to sum up the day’s action.

In a way, sitting and waiting for the score of a match to change by following a live scoring application could be aggravating. It asks more questions than it answers.

How did one player win the point, or did his opponent lose it? Does the student-athlete losing look like the weaker player or is he making uncharacteristic mistakes.What about controversy?

Following along with Kelley’s often-filled Twitter feed answered all of those questions.

For those simply looking for a quick update on the action, the recently-started blogger was on top of all of the action.

It is that sort of color that a mobile journalist can add to what otherwise may look bland based on pure statistics.

It helped that Kelley was at the event, as he was able to use his phone to show the tension in the air, capturing the biggest points of various matches between the two teams going on. Whenever a big set point or more importantly, a match point came up, he was on the spot with a quick clip, giving much more than a score could.

College tennis matches are not quite the same as what one will find in a contest between Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal. There are three doubles matches that determine the team with the edge heading into singles play, where six new matches take to the courts.

Literally, one match between two schools can go on for hours on end. For Kelley, that meant a reward for his efforts.

Along the journey, however, he used the multimedia tools available in his pocket to help show the importance of the event that he was covering. With six matches going on at once for a while, why would tweeting or taking a picture of one given court be more important than the rest?

When the head coaches of both teams are anxiously watching one match at the same time, while five other players from each team are going at it, that contest has to be coming up on at least somewhat of a big moment.

In fact, as Kelley told his followers of Oklahoma’s success in singles play early on, he used a picture to show that USC was not quite out of the championship just yet.

Eric Johnson of USC had just won his match to keep the team contest within reach, but time and Kelley’s Twitter would both show that it would not be enough. Eventually, the Trojans succumbed to the Sooners in a back-and-forth battle with many close matches.

Kelley even went a step further and gave his followers insight into how the sides felt after the match, one which most players or coaches would be devastated to lose.

Without Kelley there to talk to those involved, one may think that Peter Smith, USC’s head coach, would be upset.

So, while Kelley grabs some Popeyes, one could open their eyes to his work, a solid way to use mobile journalism.



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