By SPENCER DANDES
A web site that provides free interview transcripts has essentially eliminated the need for sports journalists to master the art of the press conference.
ASAP Sports, founded in 1989, is a company that places stenographers in pressrooms at sporting events around the world. They type everything that is said, much like in a courtroom, and then post their transcripts on ASAPsports.com.
Individual “fastscripts” are sorted by sport, event, and athlete/team. The website boasts that all content is “99.9 percent” accurate.
I covered the Sony Ericsson Open for The Miami Herald last spring. After a frantic battle for clarity between my notepad, my recorder, and a mighty thick Russian accent from the women’s doubles champion, the stack of freshly-printed transcripts in the media workroom was a big relief.
What’s more, ASAPsports.com also sent an e-mail with a link to the full text of the press conference within minutes. Rather than decoding my scribbled notes and muffled audio, I had a simple online resource that added flawless quotes and color to my story that otherwise could have been lost.
“Life in the pressroom has become a lot easier,” a page on ASAPsports.com reads. “There is no longer any guessing about what athletes have said. Complaints about being misquoted are virtually nonexistent.”
ASAP Sports could be viewed as a tool that takes away a level of genuineness from reporters who were present at events. But more importantly, the idea to bring clean transcripts to one global, online hub is a constructive addition to 21st century journalism.