As an example of how much the sports media landscape has shifted, veteran Sports Illustrated reporter Peter King cited the annual NFL draft combine in Indianapolis. In 2000, King said, he was one of 15 media members covering it. This year, he was one of 1,017.
"So you have to basically say: 'OK, how can I be different? How can my voice be heard? What can I do that's going to make any sort of difference in this cacophony of crapola that is out there in the media these days?'" King said Thursday. "That becomes a challenge."
King was part of a media panel at the IMG World Congress of Sports presented by SportsBusiness Journal/Daily in Los Angeles. Here are some highlights from the other panelists:
** Former ESPN executive editor John Walsh said the current media era is the greatest since invention of the Gutenberg Press. But he added that it's also premature to reach a conclusion on what social media means.
"You look at Twitter and you say: Well, is it promotion? Is it advertising? Is it content? Is it news breaking? It's defining itself over a period of time," Walsh said. "Future historians will look back and take a real look and say: 'This is what social media meant to this era of American media.' Right now, it's too early to judge.
"Just like on breaking news stories, when something breaks, it's too early to make judgments, and yet the American media-consuming public want to have the answer to whatever questions breaking news puts forth for them. Those answers, they don't come for sometimes days, sometimes weeks, sometimes months. It'll be a long time before we really feel and figure out what social meant to this era of American media."
He also said the quality of work counts.
"People and audiences, especially sports audiences, recognize quality," he said.
** Pam Oliver of Fox was asked about her statement in Essence magazine: "It's not difficult to notice that the new on-air people there are all young, blond and 'hot.'"
Oliver told the panel that her comment was unfair without greater context.
"I feel there are very capable women out there who just happen to be drop-dead gorgeous," she said. "I'm not hating against blondes or anything like that.
"I don't want to insult anyone. Just turn on the television. You see kind of what I'm talking about. I didn't want to imply that these women are incapable of the jobs they're handed. But it doesn't benefit any network or media outlet to put somebody in a position -- Fox, ABC, NBC, ESPN -- you don't put anybody in a prime position if you don't feel like they can handle the job."
** Veteran columnist Jason Whitlock talked about plans for his ESPN site, The Undefeated, which launches this summer.
"We hope that it's going to be the industry leader in race and culture through the lens of sports," Whitlock said. "We want to be ahead of the conversation and more focused on what's the truth, what's provable, rather than just writing what's popular at the moment that will get you a lot of retweets on Twitter."
For a more in-depth conversation with Whitlock, check out this video interview.