National Press Club

Costas Wants More Hard News in Sports Coverage

October 14, 2008 | By Gil Klein

Bob Costas before an interview with Marvin Kalb.

Bob Costas before an interview with Marvin Kalb.

Photo/Image: Sylvia Smith

An element of hard news should be in sports reporting, but most television sports shows are shying away from it, Bob Costas, the NBC and HBO sports broadcaster, told Marvin Kalb Monday night during "The Kalb Report."

More than at other Olympics, the one in China allowed him to include "a dollop" of journalism as he interviewed President Bush and included references in his broadcasts to economic, political and social conditions in the host country.

"If I had my druthers, there would have been more," he said. "That's what made these Olympics special ... But I host the Olympics; I don't produce it."

Many aspects of the sports business should be more closely examined on sports shows, he said. While public funds are used to build new stadiums and arenas, he said, the average fan is being forced out by high seat prices. He said when he pursued stories on performance enhancing drugs, "people in the business said that's not your place. All you're supposed to say is, 'there's a ground ball to second base.' "

Costas spoke to a capacity crowd of more than 500 people in the Club's ballroom. The Club sponsors the Kalb Report with George Washington Unversity's Global Media Institute and Harvard University.