picked a politics writer to cover the LeBron James beat" />
News Home
Quick Bites
News Archive
News Channel
Special Features
On AirNewsClassical
School Closings
WKSU Support
Funding for WKSU is made possible in part through support from the following businesses and organizations.


Akron General

For more information on how your company or organization can support WKSU, download the WKSU Media Kit.

(WKSU Media Kit PDF icon )

Donate Your Vehicle to WKSU

Programs Schedule Make A Pledge Member BenefitsFAQ/HelpContact Us

What's Joe Vardon covering LeBron James say about sports journalism? picked a politics writer to cover the LeBron James beat

Web Editor
M.L. Schultze
LeBron James' return to Northeast Ohio has generated sales, excitement and a new beat for
Courtesy of Sports Illustrated
Download (WKSU Only)
In The Region:

The Northeast Ohio Media Group has found a unique fit for its unique beat. Joe Vardon – who’s made his journalistic name covering politics and government for the Columbus Dispatch – will be covering LeBron James. Not the Cavaliers overall -- but the media-fixation, businessman, philanthropist, sports star and hometown-boy-made-very-very good – LeBron James.

When the announcement came out yesterday, I called Malcolm Moran, who covered sports for the New York Times for nearly two decades and now heads the National Sports Journalism Center at Indiana University.

He says the closest he’s seen to this kind of beat was when Michael Jordan was dominating the NBA. But he says the LeBron beat is different.


LISTEN: Malcolm Moran's take of what the beat says about sports journalism

Other options:
Windows Media / MP3 Download (3:11)

“It makes a lot of sense because so much of the James story is going to unfold off the court. Because he’s from that part of the state, because the relationship always has been personal going back to when he joined the Cavs as a rookie.

"His foundation, his role in the community, his business affairs – all of those things take on a greater relevance now, and news can come out of any of those areas completely removed from his own progress with a new group and how the team plays on the floor.

From sports to politics and back, kind of
Joe Vardon began as a sports reporter at the Wooster Daily Record and his coverage included sports at the Toledo Blade. Moran says that’s not inconsequential in covering LeBron, but other skills matter more.

 “The fact that he has such a varied background and also experience in investigative and enterprise work really makes him ideal person to cover a brand, such as James. You’re talking about big business and how it affects the franchise overall and city overall.”

Moran says sports coverage has been evolving well beyond performance on the court of field.

Think back to Jackie Robinson
“I think that’s a process that’s been going on … in some places, back to the 1940s and Jackie Robinson. Certainly there were some enlightened places who recognized this was a story about far more than an African-American breaking into the major leagues.”

He cites the protests of high-profile college athletes on social issues – Bill Walton at UCLA, Tommy Smith and John Carlos at the 1968 Olympics among them.

“So the whole notion of sports as it relates to society overall has become recognized more and more over the years. And it continues to evolve with coverage of things such as performance enhancement, race issues, gender issues.”

And money.
“That’s what drives it. Whether you’re talking about the professional or the major-college level. You see more zeroes and commas and you say, ‘That’s it, we’ve hit the threshold, it can’t get bitter than this.’ And every year, it does get bigger.”

That’s Malcolm Moran of the National Sports Journalism Center on’s hiring of Joe Vardon to cover the beat that is just one man: LeBron James. Moran says one other factor makes this the right time to develop that beat: Social media and the role it plays in sports and in journalism.

Add Your Comment


E-mail: (not published, only used to contact you about your comment)


Page Options

Print this page

E-Mail this page / Send mp3

Share on Facebook

Stories with Recent Comments

Kasich campaign evokes dark images of a Trump presidency

Backers of legalizing marijuana in Ohio promise to be back in 2016
We should be aloud to grow more than 4 plants and not have to register with the state considering it will be a free market.

Akron says it's had no second thoughts about welcoming refugees
What business does Councilman Neal own on North Hill? I'd love to support him. I am so glad to have the refugees in our neighborhood. I have lived here for 25 ...

Scarborough says the University of Akron is trying to rebuild relationships
In order for the University of Akron to grow and become a desirable place for students across Ohio and elsewhere, it must address the crime problem in the Akron...

Ohio Sen. Cliff Hite wants to end pay-to-play sports fees at Ohio's schools
You can bet Hite and Husted will also rush to the rescue of the Academic Challenge team, the speech-and-debate squad, the Science Olympians and the chess club. ...

Ohio lawmakers consider new gun bills
States that have gun restrictions/cities have reduced gun violence is false. CHICAGO has some of the toughest gun laaws/restrictions but yet fun violence is off...

Cleveland's public transit system considers fare increase for 2016
I work with individuals with disabilities. Yes some of my folks need more help than the average person. As a whole, the group I work with however can manuver ju...

Community group sues to re-open part of Wadsworth hospital
My father was part of the founding group of citizens which started the "new" Wadsworth/Rittman Hospital. For some reason the leadership for the future of the ho...

The Cleveland Museum of Art presents painters who loved their gardens
brilliant masterpiece, Greetings from

Copyright © 2015 WKSU Public Radio, All Rights Reserved.

In Partnership With:

NPR PRI Kent State University

listen in windows media format listen in realplayer format Car Talk Hosts: Tom & Ray Magliozzi Fresh Air Host: Terry Gross A Service of Kent State University 89.7 WKSU | NPR.Classical.Other smart stuff. NPR Senior Correspondent: Noah Adams Living on Earth Host: Steve Curwood 89.7 WKSU | NPR.Classical.Other smart stuff. A Service of Kent State University