Shams vs. the ‘Woj bomb’: Sports reporters are duking it out for scoops on Twitter, and their value is soaring

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  • NBA reporters Shams Charania and Adrian Wojnarowski are in high demand because of their brutality with the scoop and their huge Twitter followings.
  • Sports journalists were earlier better known for their personalities than their breaking news skills.
  • Charnia, Wojnarowski and NFL reporter Adam Schefter all have contracts that expire in 2022, which could lead to big offers from new suitors.

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Shams Charania’s primary job is straightforward: break news on the National Basketball Association. This is not a new profession, but historically it has never been a particularly lucrative business.

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Social media and legitimate mobile sports betting have changed the game.

Being the first to tweet news of a business, free agent signing, injury or executive change has become an esport of sorts in its own right, with information reaching millions of followers in an instant. NBA fans on Twitter are on a first name basis with Charnia and equally intimate with his former Yahoo Sports colleague Adrian Wojnarowski, better known as Woz, who now writes for ESPN.

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During the NBA off-season or nearing trade deadline and players switch teams at lightning speed, one in two journalists will almost always break the news. His tweets garner thousands of comments and the public keeps score.

Wojnarowski’s scoops even have their own nickname: “Woz Bomb.”

Fans who have too much time will post videos of superimposed Wojnarowski stung on Charnia, or Reverse. Charaniya said that he tries not to heed the comments.

“I have blinders like that,” Charania told Businesshala in an interview this week. “I try to have tunnel vision, so every single day I can keep my focus.”

While sports broadcast personalities such as Craig Kilborn, Keith Olberman, Bill Simmons and Robin Roberts have earned millions of dollars by leaning on their charisma and developing popular TV shows, radio programs and podcasts, seven-figure salaries have historically not been paid. Is. Breaking news reporter.

But Charnia, Wojnarowski, and ESPN NFL reporter Adam Schefter are now the most popular items in sports journalism, and they’re all due to pay off big-time. Each reporter’s contract ends in 2022, according to people familiar with the matter, who asked not to be named due to confidentiality.

Wojnarowski and Schefter alleged to make Already $2 million to $3 million a year on ESPN. Both declined to comment for this story. Charania declined to comment on the details of his contract.

The race is on to find out who will be running and where they will all end up.

millions of followers

The interest stems from his huge social media presence. Charania has 1.4 million Twitter followers, Wojnarowski has 5 million and Shafter has 8.9 million. Nearly 3 million people follow Ian Rapoport of NFL Network.

Captive audience is the key value. Gambling companies, which rely on a growing customer base to expand their business, are Allegedly salivating at the idea of ​​hiring Major media names, even if it cost them millions of dollars to do so.

Kaiser Sportsbook already tempted Former ESPN personalities Kenny Mayne and Trey Wingo for creating and distributing sports betting content.

But they are not breaking news reporters. Finding information first and tweeting it to a mass audience is a very different skill. It is almost mechanical. The value is in speed and accuracy, while opinion and humor can get in the way or distort information.

“When you have legal gambling, all the information is important, and so is the timing of its release,” said Brian Curtis, editor-at-large of The Ringer, which has been tracking sports media for decades. “News breakers will continue to wield more power than the rest of us, to the extent that is humanly possible.”

Charaniya’s rise to fame has been particularly remarkable as he is only 27 years old.

About a decade ago, while studying at Loyola University Chicago, Charnia began digging into NBA news. He got a job writing for a small basketball blog called RealGM. As a freshman, Charaniya began to form relationships with fringe players from the Chicago Bulls and began cracking short stories about the players. Signing 10-day contracts.

When the Bulls denied Charnia game credentials because he was still in college, the Cubs reporter began driving to Milwaukee. The Bucks were in a small media market and let them cover the team daily.

In 2014, while a student at Loyola, Charnia made her first big scoop. He told that the then-Bulls forward Luol Deng was traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers for former All-Star center Andrew Bynum and draft picks,

Senior sports writers congratulated Charania’s initial tweet. Wojnarowski called him “the best young reporter in the business”.

“I was definitely pumped, my heart was racing,” Charaniya said. “It was exhilarating. Still is.”

A year later, he got a job reporting for Yahoo with Wojnarowski as he continued his studies. He soon began to build a reputation by breaking the news on big deals.

In 2018, a year after Wojnarowski left Yahoo for ESPN, Charnia joined the Stadium of Athletic and Sinclair Broadcast Group.

monetization breaking news

There’s tremendous pressure to be on top when you have millions of fans glued to your every tweet. A critical error can destroy your credibility, especially from those who splurge on information.

“It should be accurate and true information at all times,” Charania said. “If I’m doing anything other than that, I feel like I’m failing everyone.”

Charaniya means not only people but also corporate sponsors. Charania is Now Appearing in an AT&T 5G Ad Which emphasizes the speed and reliability of the network, which are the most important traits for its success. it is part of a season-long partnership AT&T, between Stadium and Charnia.

T Mobile launched a similar campaign With Wojnarowski and Schefter in 2018, and Samsung followed Along with a TV spot featuring two ESPN journalists.

Work is a piece. The lunch meeting with Charaniya means a continuous series of five-minute interruptions from a stream of texts and calls, said Chris Reina, former editor at RealGM, Charania.

“I think Woz has kids, but I don’t know how someone with kids and family obligations manages to do this,” Reena said.

The rise of the sports breaking-news journalist underscores the growing importance of data and information in the 24/7 digital world, compared to earlier eras, when talkers ruled major TV news.

The Ringers Curtis attributed the change to fantasy sports, Twitter, and “nationalized sports fantasy”. He said “legitimate gambling will complete the process.”

The Athletic’s $550 million sale to The New York Times last week is the latest chapter in the story. The Times wants to incorporate The Athletic’s data-driven analysis. The Athletic’s focus has been print journalism and podcasts, rather than video, which have historically garnered more value due to higher advertising rates.

As traditional pay TV loses millions of subscribers each year and younger consumers turn to social media instead of cable, the importance of breaking news via Twitter and other social channels will only increase.

“The world we are living in now is completely different from the world five, six, seven, eight years ago,” Charania said. “Social media is how we can reach people. Because of Twitter, people were able to see my work and were able to identify with me, and I was able to gain an audience base. I’m lucky that I am able to do this work now.”

Watch: NYT to acquire The Athletic for $550 million

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