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New website aims to tackle rise of sports churnalism

By Myriam Dijck

A website and podcast venture created by a group of sports journalists rallying against the rise of ‘churnalism’has clocked up more than 22,000 unique users since launching in April.

The Sport Collective was founded by Matt Ogborn, who runs the website and fortnightly podcast alongside his freelance work for the likes of ITV.com, SLAM, Boxing Monthly and international film magazine movieScope.

He leads a team of two sub-editors and around 20 regular contributors, including journalists from the BBC, Metro, Sky Sports, The Guardian and London Evening Standard.

Thesportcollective.com was formed as a riposte to the rise of ‘SEO-dictated journalism and budget cutting’that forces sports journalists to churn out copy and ‘write shorter pieces in a compressed time frame that do not do justice to us or the events we cover”.

Instead, the website – which has the motto “spurn the churn” – focuses entirely on long-form pieces that seek to ‘peek into the nooks and crannies of sport”, as does the podcast.

Given the success of the site since it was launched, Ogborn is hopeful it will soon start attracting advertisers. ‘It is a passion project at the moment but, in our view, it will become a paid for venture and next week we will talk to some advertisers,’he said.

Ogborn said fans had responded positively to the site, which is evidenced in the quality of its comments section.

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‘The comments we’ve had have been huge and well thought out,” he added.

‘There are so many passionate sports fans out there, and they just don’t get the chance often enough to have an intelligent conversation about sport.”

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