When I first learned that I would be using ESPN as a news source for an assignment I was kind of skeptical about how much useful information they would have there for me to use. I was thinking “Isn’t ESPN just about sports? What else do they have to offer?” Some other preconceptions that I had were about the people who watched ESPN. I thought that a significant amount of the people who watched ESPN would be people with not a lot of education and people with low income. But, according to ESPN’s demographics 87% of the people who watch ESPN are college educated and also the average household income is $72,100, which is slightly above the average American household income of $69,821.
That was not the only thing I thought about ESPN that was not entirely correct. It turns out that ESPN actually does have some diversity in its content and it also has some valuable information. It contains stories from “Spicing it up: Patriots star to debut Gronk’s Hot Sauce“, which was about Rob Gronkowski’s venture into the hot sauce industry and how he is a successful marketer of products, to “Tom Brady wins Deflategate appeal against NFL, judge rules“, where Tom Brady’s 4-game football suspension from the NFL commissioner was overturned by a judge. But, even though those are some of the articles the main topics that are covered are what I expected like who won the game, the score of the game, player injuries(“Tarean Folson out for year; Surgery scheduled“), and what teams players are now on(“Eagles claim Stephen Morris on waivers to fill No.3 QB spot“). It does actually have some variation in the content of the website.
Although ESPN has some diversity in the content matter of its articles it is still limited to sport or athlete related content. This is the major difference between ESPN and other sources of news. For example, CNN had headlines like “The return of cheap gas“, where the article talks about the drop in gas prices, or the Al Jazeera article “North America’s tallest mountain to be renamed Denali“, where President Obama is changing the name of the tallest mountain in North America back to its original name, Denali. While other news outlets talk about world issues or politics ESPN is only reporting sports news. It is due to this that there was no overlapping stories between ESPN and other news sources. On ESPN there was no mention of any of the stories that CNN or Al Jazeera cover and likewise CNN and Al Jazeera did not report the same stories that ESPN covered.
Another difference between ESPN and other news sources is that there was almost no bias in the articles on the ESPN website. ESPN is not affiliated with any sport team or anything of the sort, so the articles did not have influence from some other group or some other faction. So, the articles mostly contained facts. If it was involved with a particular sports team then the articles would probably contain bias and try to convince the reader that they should support that team. Although ESPN is not connected with any sport team they are owned by The Walt Disney Company, so ESPN may be influenced by that some, but when I was reading articles I did not detect any noticeable bias that could have come from Disney.
While ESPN has no bias some of the other outlets do, like Fox News. Fox News leans heavily toward the Republican side of the political spectrum and because of that it has a strong political bias in the news that they report. It is due to this bias that Fox News tells events in a way to show Republicans in a positive light and show Democrats in a negative light. An example of Fox’s bias was the article “Ohio lawmakers slam Obama plans to rename Mt. McKinley ‘Denali’ during Alaska trip“, where Fox talked about the events of President Obama renaming Mt. McKinley as some sort of great “constitutional overreach” and the article talked about how all of the people from Ohio were really upset about the changes. Of course, not all other outlets contain bias, like Al Jazeera a news organization that is funded by the Qatar ruling family. Al Jazeera also wrote an article about Mt. McKinley. It was “North America’s tallest mountain to be renamed Denali” and it was a lot less bias of an article than the one that Fox did. Al Jazeera’s version of the story was more neutral and it mentioned how the Native Americans were happy to have the mountain renamed to what it was originally called by the natives when they named it. In Fox’s version of this event they did not include how the natives felt, because without that information it makes President Obama look like the bad guy, which is what they wanted. It is because Al Jazeera does not have a political side, so they are a reliable source of news and ESPN is the same way.
Through my new experiences with ESPN I have come to the conclusion that ESPN is probably “The World Leader in Sports” even if they do not have all of the sports from all over the world. I think that ESPN is superb at what it does. It informs people about all of the news that occurs in the world of sports and sports related things. If you want a source of non-biased world and global news ESPN is not the place to go. You would be a lot better off looking at Al Jazeera or some other news outlet that has a diverse range of content. Another option is to review two different news sources and compare what they report and make your own opinion on the situation when you have reviewed both sides of the topic. Whatever method you use for your news just be sure that you are not being led on by biased sources.