Word around the schoolyard is the written word doesn’t matter much any longer in the Fox Sports sandbox.
The cynical and perhaps cyclical evidence comes from FoxSports.com and its short-sighted philosophical shift in content this week, when it came out that nearly two dozen writers and editors were officially dead to them, and new life was given to executive producer Jamie Horowitz’s vision. He’s all about repurposing video clips from the undisputedly loutish FS1 chat shows he created and staffed, mixing in other superficial slide shows and large-caption presentations with music that pretend to be written pieces, and convincing the company that this will be the most productive and profitable way to story tell in today’s short-attention span audience.
Sorry, we got a bit wordy there. Next time we’ll have someone capture a 30-second offensive-sounding digital clip of those related thoughts above, send it through a baseless Skip Bayless filter and flood it through various means of mean-spirited social media. Then someone at Fox might finally get to it.
Phase one of Horowitz’s red-herring hirings at the Pico lot/asylum has brought us to this apparent tipping point. An abundance of empty-calorie digital chum has been tossed overboard, and anyone in the business of writing or editing need not apply their talents here. This is apparently why the typing gods created spellcheck and Google searches.
Yet, if you were previously visiting FoxSports.com for any long-form, thought-provoking journalism outside of Stewart Mandel or even Bruce Feldman, you’re getting what you probably deserve now anyway.
We’ll always champion creativity and future-function thinking in figuring out ways to distribute sports news and features and opinions and investigations, especially as technology evolves and consumer habits devolve.
Words supplemented with video and audio can be compelling. Video and audio minus words lose context and nuance, an embarrassment to our communication development chart.
But there lies FoxSports.com looking like a YouTube lost beta test, or an amateur Hulu limbo contest winner. How low can you go?
YouTube has channeled the false hope for nouveau execs that more hits, clicks and derogatory follow up replies you can get are preferred versus thoughtful attempts at enlightening and entertaining. Horowitz and others are perpetuating that now.
Issuing a memo last Monday that we assume employees were actually able to read aloud to themselves, Horowitz told them that “gone are the days of uploading content to a hub and hoping an audience seeks it out … We will be taking a proactive approach to distributing our content to sports fans on their preferred platforms.”
And that means …?
We pestered the folks at Fox to at least give us some more guidance in what this “Think-Speak-For-Yourself” dystopian approach would entail. Can Horowitz explain this in light of what others had been reporting in parallel stories…