Monday, August 15, 2011

Goodbye for Now

I wanted to inform any readers of this blog that I am putting it on the shelf for awhile. I've enjoyed contributing to it over the years, but several circumstances have changed. In particular:

1) Howard Schlossberg has taken over as editor of the Journal of Sports Media. Since he has his own blog it seems to be working at cross purposes to keep this one going. (A reminder also that if you want to submit to JSM, please send your inquiries to Howard at ).

2) Most importantly, other things are occupying my time and interest. If you want to talk to me about something like this, I'll talk all day.

Before I go, I do want to mention that you need to continue to support the Sports Communication Interest group within AEJMC. At the recent AEJMC convention in St. Louis, Pam Laucella of Indiana ( was named Chair and I was named Vice Chair. The Vice Chair is in charge of programming for next year's convention, so if you have any ideas for panels, presentations, etc., let me know.

I'll check in from time to time, but don't know for sure when (or if) I'll be back. But as always, you know where to find me if you need to (

Friday, August 05, 2011

Sports Interest Group in St.L.

Less than a week now to the AEJMC in St. Louis, and don't forget about the sports interest group. It's the first full year for the SIG, and there are a lot of panels, poster sessions and research presentations. For a more complete listing click here. The most important time/date to remember is the SIG members/business meeting. That's at 8:30-10pm, Thursday, August 11.

After a great year on the job, SIG Chair Scott Reinardy will officially hand over the reins to Pam Laucella of Indiana. Scott was instrumental in helping get the SIG off the ground, and if you missed his newsletter you can view it here.

On a side note, Scott also organized a trip to the Cardinals-Brewers game at Busch Stadium on Wednesday the 10th. There may be some single tickets still available for that ($35 dollars apiece). If you're interested, contact Scott at

See you in St.L.!

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Can You Believe It?

If you're watching WPRI-TV sports, the answer is ... maybe not.

According to Deadspin
, the station recreated the ending of an amateur golf tournament in Rhode Island, having the participants fake their final putts for the television cameras. It's hard to determine what the worst part of all this is: the recreation, the reporter's reaction, or the news director's lame excuse--

"The video that Sara Hogan was taking of the players was for a story that she is working on about the players that has not yet aired. It is not our policy to recreate or reenact 'highlights.' It is, however, our policy to specifically and accurately describe and identify the video that we present. It appears in this case that although the video was not described as highlights, it should not have aired in this context."

Saying nothing at all would have been better than contrived double talk, which essentially admitted the crime.

In this age of the Internet, citizen journalism and YouTube, one of the few things that separates real journalism from the other 99% of sports content is credibility. Lose that, and you're just content taking up bandwidth. WPRI didn't lose it so much as the station set it on fire and threw it out the window.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Back from Dallas

Wow, did the last days of my Texas trip get away from me. Lots going on in Dallas, including a minor league baseball game at the Frisco Roughriders (won a free t-shirt), which is one of the best kept secrets in that area).

My overall experience at WFAA was fantastic and the people there simply could not have been nicer or more accommodating. Among the many things I brought back with me, three stand out:

1) No one really knows how multimedia figures in the future of journalism. I get tired of all this talk about "the future of journalism," like people know exactly how it's going to play out. No one does, including the very smart people at WFAA. The station doesn't have a strong commitment yet to multimedia, including its web news, because it can't figure out how to monetize it. WFAA still gets 96% of its revenue from TV advertising and only 4% from the web. The social media (Facebook, et. al.) are encouraged, but not required. Until someone figures out how to make money from all this, multimedia is still somewhat stuck in limbo.

2) I don't think I would want to get back into TV. Seeing the fast-paced life is nice for a visit, but television news is a young man's (person's) game.

3) Even so, television is television. WFAA has more toys and more money, but it's doing news the same way they do it from Abilene (TX) to Zanesville (OH), and it looks a lot like the way we did TV back in the day. The process of television news has changed very little from the days of magnetic weather symbols and greaseboards (which WFAA still uses, by the way).

Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose
--The more things change, the more they stay the same.

Monday, July 18, 2011

A Break from WFAA

A slight break from WFAA this morning to pass along some CFPs that have been lingering in my inbox:

The North American Society for the Sociology of Sport is accepting abstracts for its 32nd annual conference. The submission deadline is August 1 and there's more information at the NASSS website. The conference is November 2-5 in Minneapolis. (Don't forget to pack your mittens!)

The International Journal on Sports Management and Marketing will publish a special issue, "Sport Participation Management and Marketing." Deadline for submission is December 31, and more information can be found at the IJSMM site.

And finally, plans are underway for the Fifth Summit on Communication and Sport to be held at Bradley University, March 29-31, 2012. You can submit either an abstract (200-500 words) or a full length manuscript (5,000-10,000 words, APA style). Deadline for submssion is October 7, and you can contact Paul Guillifor for more information, You can find more information about the summit here.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

WFAA-Days 3 and 4

Sorry I missed yesterday, but it's going so well here I hardly have time to slow down. I've talked to a lot of people the past few days and some consistent themes have emerged:

*WFAA puts a premium on original and unique stories, more than fancy toys and technology. The station doesn't even have a social media policy yet; it's trying to figure out how to implement social media without losing its emphasis on solid reporting. "Technology has to be a critical part of what we do," says Michael Valentine, Vice President of News, "but at the end of the day if we let technology drive the vision and content, then we have not done right by the viewer."

*The station is moving toward multitasking journalism, but there are still segmented roles of photographer, reporter and editor. "What makes unique reporting is giving our reporters tie and resources to find those stories," says Valentine. "If you're out shooting, writing, editing, and tweeting, you're probably not uncovering information that one one else can uncover; you're just covering what's going on."

Such philosophy is somewhat unique in a television environment ruled by multitasking reporters and expensive toys, but you can't argue with success. WFAA regularly dominates the ratings and towers over its competition in terms of Emmy, Murrow and Peabody Awards.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

WFAA-Day 2

One thing I'm finding out by getting back in the newsroom is that despite all the new gadgets, television news really hasn't changed that much. WFAA has a morning news meeting to go over stories and assignments (on a greaseboard, no less); then reporters go out and report while photographers shoot. Reporters will do a VO/SOT for one newscast and a package for another.

And like almost everywhere else, WFAA has some reporters as a one-man band. This morning, I'm with Wyatt Goolsby, who not only one-man bands, but also sets up and performs his own live shots. (We're at city hall in Fort Worth for the swearing in of the new mayor).

Wyatt did the live shot with TVU mobile technology, more commonly called backpack journalism. No live trucks, no satellites ... it transmits using cell phones, and is no bigger than what you see in the picture. Wyatt doesn't simply set the camera on a tripod; he picks it up and gets right in the middle of stories. He does almost all his stories this way, hopping from place to place around the Metroplex.

A fascinating thing about Wyatt: he's only 26 years old. He jumped from the Midland-Odessa TV market (#155) right to Dallas (#5), which is almost unheard of. He credits his ability and willingness to use new technologies like TVU for getting his position.