Contrary to some, boxing journalism is thriving in its online capacity and has an abundance of young writers cutting their teeth in boxing.
Boxing websites, blogs, and enthusiastic individuals are popping up seemingly every day on Twitter and other social media sites. Fans are attempting to realize a dream of having your passion as your job. The birth of the internet has firmly leveled the playing field.
The transition of reporting from print to online has been swift and unforgiving for some. The older generation of scribes has largely struggled to get to grips with how boxing has evolved through the internet explosion.
Some of the more established writers have embraced the change. While others lesser-known scribes seem compelled to look down their noses at the new breed.
Many write their own assumptions of whether there is a place for all in the sport.
I can understand when you hear some arguments on grammar and the standard of writing, but not everyone can get a degree in this day and age.
My philosophy is ‘the more you write, the more you learn, and the better you can become.’
Writing a 2000 word essay does not necessarily mean you are better than any other writer. It more than likely means you have the education, the money, and the time on your hands to do so.
Saying that – my own writing style is just to my taste – three or four hundred words and straight to it. A style – I must say, that’s is swiftly being adopted by all the major outlets.
In a nutshell, I prefer not to read long-winded articles. I like to get straight to the point to feed my thirst for current affairs (not only in boxing but all sports).
This doesn’t suit everyone, especially newspapers and print magazines. Hence the decision to begin my own site. WBN was born.
Thankfully, WBN – World Boxing News is now the top ten independent boxing websites in the world due to my own hard work.
Working 16-hour shifts to build-up your site is the norm. To begin with. Therefore, putting down writers who want to try their hand at it can only come from the perspective of someone who doesn’t need to, or has never had to, take the knocks that come with it.
For eighteen months at the very beginning, I worked on WBN for £5 a day. That was seven days a week, sixteen hours a day.
Hopefully, this can help those understand my frustration when internet boxing journalism is belittled in this way.
Some of the highly-derogatory views expressed are not helpful to the writers who harbor a dream of one day making a living solely from a website or blog. They, in turn, show a narrow-mindedness, bordering on disdain for these hopefuls.
WBN began in 2010 and faced dark days to get to where it is now. Therefore, as long as these new journalists get their facts right and are not trying to damage the sport in any way, I can’t see why these stuffy-nosed ‘established writers’ want to bring them down.
Granted, there are some terrible websites out there. I could name a couple of American sites, plus at least one UK site, that writes provoking headlines solely for hits and post press releases. But overall, these so-called ‘smaller sites’ and blogs are writing from the heart and not harm.
The posting of stuck-up articles questioning hard-working people’s credibility does more damage than any of these hopefuls could ever do. There’s a solid call to let them be as it’s their own time they are putting into pugilism.
Many of the older hands are obviously threatened by this wave of new writers for fear they will become irrelevant themselves, even though they may not realize that they already are.
Their days of free gym passes, being best friends with fighters, and VIP ringside treatment is coming to an end. My view is that some are lashing out at who I see as the bread and butter of the sport – the boxing fans.
Without these enthusiasts, boxing would certainly be in a more precarious position than it is now. All boxing journalism, old and new, should come together to encourage anyone who wants to write original articles to stick to it. They can only improve the more that they do.
I have had my fill of some of these know-it-alls who look down their noses at internet editors. And as some of you may have noticed on my social media sites, I long for the day when hard work gets respect, rather than handing kudos out based on which clique you do or don’t belong to.
Change is good.
The views expressed in this article are that of the WBN Editor, Phil Jay. One of the top-visited independent boxing news website in the world.
Phil Jay is an Auxiliary member of the Boxing Writers Association of America. Follow on Twitter @PhilDJay.