March 31, 2015
The Players’ Tribune, Derek Jeter’s online media platform, has become a preferred channel of communication for athletes who wish to speak their minds about a particular subject. Last week the site garnered some attention when David Ortiz of the Boston Red Sox published an article in which he candidly shared his frustration about a drug related incident dating back to 2003. With assistance from editors, these athletes are able to craft stories that directly speak to their audiences.
The New York Times reports that the release of Ortiz’s story through The Players’ Tribune “was a small triumph for a website that has a mission to give an athlete a platform to say what is on his or her mind, serious or not, without a reporter playing the journalistic middleman.” Whereas a story about Ortiz and his outspoken comments about his substance abuse may have traditionally launched through an existing publication source, the story first broke on Jeter’s site.
The Ortiz story later went viral and caught the attention of The Boston Globe, which immediately rushed to deliver a related story. According to NYT, the paper had withheld from releasing a similar story much earlier hoping to do so closer to April 5 instead, just in time for its Major League Baseball preview.
Ortiz had reportedly been approached about being featured on the site as early as late last year, when the website originally launched, but the editors would have to wait until last month to finally get a story from Ortiz himself.
“Like nearly every post on the site, the Ortiz essay was not written directly by its bylined athlete but instead crafted from a recorded interview with a Tribune staff producer,” NYT explains. All material cannot be published without approval from the athlete.