[SPORTS VIEW]Reading sports pages is a skins game

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[SPORTS VIEW]Reading sports pages is a skins game

I've got to hand it to the so-called "sports newspapers." They always find a way to grab your attention.

Yesterday, the front-page headline of one read: "All Nude!" The font was super large and the lettering was sensational yellow. Turns out the story was about some actress who was putting together -- a la Madonna -- a nude photo book of herself. I glanced down to the article and there was a huge color photo of the leggy actress reclining on a lounge chair and clad in a bikini. The picture took up a good quarter of the broadsheet page.

Granted, this is a tough time for the sports newspapers. The professional baseball and soccer seasons have just ended, and it would be hard to fill up the 30-odd pages they publish every day with news on Korean pro basketball, especially so early in its campaign.

These wanna-be sports papers are so disappointing. Why can't Korea produce a true sports publication along the lines of the weekly Sports Illustrated or the Sporting News?

As it stands now, the local sports papers are little more than sensational rags. I wouldn't be surprised if they start using glow-in-the-dark ink.

I read about five or six of them every day. When I put the last one down I'm still hungry for sports news. What I don't need at that point, though, is to go out and buy a girlie magazine. These papers have more pictures of women than men, and the women aren't exactly athletes.

Aesthetically-appealing photos are the bread and butter of these papers. Recently I decided to count the ratio of female to male pictures appearing in one paper, and found that it was 40 to 60. (My methodology was a bit skewed toward a result that would support my theory: I ignored the thumb-size pictures but counted all the ads). But if you take into account that most of the pictures of women were two to three times larger than those of men, the ratio would be more in the range of 60 to 40 or 70 to 30 in terms of space occupied.

Nevertheless, of the 19 or so females livening up the pages, not one was an athlete ?at least not any who compete in any kind of organized sport. the closest thing I got was a picture of a cheerleader for the Yeosu Korea Tender professional basketball team. That was about it.

That brings us back to the problem. There are far too few stories in the sports papers about the professional leagues and athletes. If men want to look at pictures that stimulate their basic instincts, there are plenty of other publications they can buy.

Maybe the publishers and writers of the sports newspapers need to meet people like me, who yearn for more in-depth stories about professional baseball, basketball and soccer. Also, there are far too few stories about college sports out there. Granted, the caliber of college sports here isn't anywhere near what you see in the United States, but surely there are plenty of stories about tomorrow's stars.

Maybe I should go easier on the sports pages; they do put out 30 pages every day, so it must be stressful to dig up enough to cover all that space. Hence the skin. So why don't a few of the sports newspapers switch to weekly editions, providing thorough reporting on all of the local sports teams? Someone should try. I'd be the first to subscribe.

by Brian Lee

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