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Save the Media with Sports: Madison Capital Times Goes Digital

Madison, Wisconsin’s Capital Times’ decision to shutters its presses and lays off dozens of editors to pursue a digital strategy is a fascinating move, possibly signaling a rebirth for an important, progressive local paper.  Jeff Jarvis, Jay Rosen and the NY Times are analyzing the implications, but they may be missing a small but crucial piece of the puzzle.

While it’s part of the bigger picture, critics shouldn’t gloss over the importance of updated sports coverage in digital press. The NY Times writes:

"And while Mr. Fanlund takes pain to stress the need to continue the progressive editorials and watchdog role of the reinvented Capital Times, it is sports that serves as a perfect example of the changes he says have been long overdue.

As an afternoon paper that did not publish on Sundays, he says, his sportswriters would be covering a college football game and “it would be 48 hours until the articles would be read.” Those writers, who will be making the transition online, “see the Web as a new lease on life.”

There is a real trend here, and a great opportunity for news sites to capitalize on, much like ticker updates for the markets.  But the difference–especially for local outlets like Capital Times– is that this is a great opportunity for local sports coverage updates.

A couple weeks back CNET reported on a March-Madness traffic surge for ESPN and sports betting sites: http://www.news.com/8301-10784_3-9918863-7.html