Future of the gamer

By Tommy Hamzik

This past summer, the Associated Press employed a new method for its baseball game stories. Instead of the standard narrative gamer, there were five or six big picture takeaways or key points from the game and a handful of other notes.

Back home in Cleveland, The Plain Dealer has experimented with stuff like this too. For high school football coverage, there’s a short blurb at the beginning saying who won, then there are five key plays from the game, two standout players, some stats and some soundbites.

I’ve wondered for the last couple months if that’s something The Pendulum should experiment with. In the age of Twitter, how many people still take the time to sit down and read through a whole game story? They saw what happened via tweets. What more will a narrative tell them?

Now, when a gamer is done right, it can be a flowing, descriptive piece with lots of faces and visuals. But I read lots of bland gamers (some of them my own) nowadays.

So I was intrigued to see what Phillies beat writer Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer had to say about this during his session “Writing Game Stories.”

His main message: There’s still a value in and a market for the narrative.

I agree to an extent, but his answer didn’t sway me definitively either way. So that’s something I’ll still play around with in my head.

The one other major area covered was tweeting during games, which was great. His direct quote on giving play-by-play of a pro or college game you’re covering: “You’ll just get unfollowed.” I agree, and I have been unfollowed for that reason before. I really liked how Gelb equated Twitter to your best friend on the couch who knows everything. Give insightful stuff you won’t see just from watching the game.

Great stuff today in Philadelphia. Looking forward to our last day here tomorrow.

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