With New Name, Detroit Sports Media Group Makes a Pitch for New Members

Long the home for TV and radio journalists, the Motor City group now welcomes sports journalists across media and will boost initiatives to support emerging professionals aspiring to cover Detroit’s sports scene.

A tiger can’t change its stripes, but perhaps an association of people who cover the Tigers can.

The Detroit Sports Broadcasters Association, which for nearly seven decades has exclusively served TV and radio journalists, has changed its name and expanded its mission. The shift is intended to provide better visibility and opportunities for the city’s sports journalists and those who support them.

DSBA announced last week that it has renamed itself Detroit Sports Media and that membership is now open to print writers, bloggers, photographers, media relations professionals, student journalists, and others who help report on the area’s teams.

According to DSM President Trevor Thompson, the move had been in the works for about a year and was intended to respond to changes in the larger media industry. “In this age of social media, everything has changed so much—the way that people consume sports, the way sports are covered,” he said. “Everything is completely different, so we wanted to be more inclusive.”

Everything is completely different, so we wanted to be more inclusive.

Expanding membership categories, as a recent Associations Now feature reported, often requires additional work to serve those new members. To that end, Thompson says, DSM is revamping its website to become a hub for sports reporting in the Detroit area. And DSM will itself become a news outlet, especially for the high school and college teams its student members have long covered.

DSBA members “would pay their fees and they really didn’t really know what was in it for them, past a couple of meetings that we would have and a couple of guest speakers,” says Thompson. “What I want to do is get our organization credentialed for all our sports teams and then start coverage within our own website. [We want to] provide a forum where our members can write, our members can podcast, our members can do live streaming.”

That shift, Thompson says, preserves the association’s larger focus, which since its founding in 1948 has been to support emerging broadcasters. The group has raised funds for student journalists, provided mentoring, and offered grants for schools looking to equip their studios. Casting a broader net—and building a larger paid membership beyond its current 150 members, according to a report in Crain’s Detroit Business—can potentially enable DSM to help more people.

“Our mission is really to help develop and fund the next generation of those who want to get into our industry,” he says. “We want them to be able to link with professionals who are already in the business.”

Comerica Park, home of the Detroit Tigers. (Ken Lund/Flickr)

Mark Athitakis

By Mark Athitakis

Mark Athitakis, a contributing editor for Associations Now, has written on nonprofits, the arts, and leadership for a variety of publications. He is a coauthor of The Dumbest Moments in Business History and hopes you never qualify for the sequel. MORE

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