Friday, March 30, 2007

Technology vs. Tradition

One of the debates going on in sports media today, especially in terms of teaching it at Journalism and Mass Comm schools, is how much emphasis do we put on technology? The developments are so amazing that everything we understand about media technology is virtually being rewritten before our eyes.
There are some who insist that convergence is the future of the industry and if we don't get on board we'll be left behind. But the danger of emphasizing the technology is that it changes so fast we hardly have time to understand it before it becomes obsolete. The other problem is emphasizing the technology at the expense of good journalistic standards like writing, reporting and editing. Just because someone is technologically savvy enough to create a blog (like this one!) or a citizen-journalism driven news program like Rocketboom (even with its millions of hits) doesn't make it good reporting.
I failed to mention that what got me started on all this was Michael Hiestand's article on how NBC will now stream on the Internet every second of every event of the 2008 Beijing Olympics. I'm not sure, but that might be one of the signs of the Apocalypse.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Call for Research Help

Got an e-mail today from Stephen Nell, who is a full-time journalist in Cape Town, South Africa and a part-time Masters student at the University of Stellenbosch. He wants to focus his Master's thesis on sports ethics and particularly how ethics in sports journalism deviates from normal ethical codes. He's looking for any previous research and/or a researcher who has done work in that area.

If you can help out Stephen his e-mail address is

Monday, March 26, 2007

Sports Media Research: High School Athletics

Interesting story that ran recently in TV Week about the acquisition of MaxPreps by CBS and College Sports TV. It's part of a continuing trend in which high school athletes and athletics are getting maximum exposure in the national sports media.

It started with recruiting, which has become a year-round topic for Internet sites like and Now, more and more high school games are finding their way not only to ESPN, but to local and regional cable outlets. ESPN has begun airing high school basketball games on a regular basis, mostly to show extraordinary talents like O.J. Mayo. Then there's the growing number of high school sports-reality shows, like MTV's series on Hoover (AL) H.S. football.

I would be interested to know if anyone has researched this growing trend and its impact on teenage athletes.
By the accounts I've read in the media, Mayo is a Michael Jordan-like basketball prodigy, but he's exhibiting some disturbing behavior. Mayo is reportedly making increasing demands on the basketball program at USC, where he recently signed a letter of intent. Is Mayo simply doing what every kid in his position would do or has all this national attention created a spoiled, self-absorbed kid who has already come to expect a special status in life?

Professional and college athletes have come to expect intense media scrutiny, but what about high school kids? Is it really a good idea to have cameras following you around 24 hours a day when you're 16 years old?Much of this probably sounds like the ramblings of an old fogey, but I can remember when high school athletics were supposed to build character and players said "yes, sir" to coaches. If we've lost that, are the media to blame? And is it even a bad thing?

Monday, March 19, 2007

I need a vacation from vacation ...

We're back from spring break, but I think I'm more tired that when I left. Why is it we feel compelled to fill our off time with more work and catching up on all the things we can't ever to get done?

In a comment to our last post before the break, Marysabel Pena of Venezuela found our blog site and needs help. She's working on her thesis and is looking for some researchers/academicians who specialize in sports radio. I checked the Journal of Radio Studies and didn't find anything in the archives. After a little more digging I did find some possibilities. Check with Jennings Bryant at Alabama (, John Owens at Cincinnati ( and Shelley Wigley at Texas Tech (

If someone can help her out, please post the information.

Also, my former student at CSTV said they still have a few internships available. Interested students should e-mail their resume to Alexa Salomon ( asap.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Breaking for Spring

I received an e-mail from a former student now working at College Sports Television in New York, which reminded me how lucky we are to have 10 days off every spring. Spring break starts at many schools on Friday, including here at Ole Miss. Between that, and a virus that has laid up my office computer (I'm writing this from our graphic design lab), the level of postings to this blog should get a bit sparse in the coming days.

By the way, if you have a student interested in sports broadcasting, especially college sports, my former student has been very helpful in arranging internships at CSTV. She started there as an intern and eventually got a full-time position. Let me know and I'll pass along her contact information.

Have a safe spring break ... and don't forget to move your clocks forward on Sunday.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

IJSC Call for Papers

As noted earlier, the International Journal of Sport Communication will begin publishing in 2008. Here is the official call for papers, along with other information. For more information, contact editor Paul Pedersen--

Indiana University
Bloomington, IN 47405 USA
Phone: (812) 855-4066
Facsimile: (812) 855-3193

Call for Papers: Human Kinetics is pleased to announce the 2008 launch of a new journal: International Journal of Sport Communication (IJSC). This refereed and multidisciplinary quarterly will promote the understanding and advancement of the relationship between sport and communication.

Journal Mission: The mission of the International Journal of Sport Communication (IJSC) is to provide a platform for academics and practitioners to disseminate research and information on the unique aspects and divergent activities associated with any communication in sport, through sport, or in a sport setting.

·Research: The journal will be principally committed to the publication of theoretical and applied sport communication research from any tradition of scholarship.

Aim and Scope: Articles published by IJSC have been reviewed by its editorial board for their perceived contribution to the understanding and advancement of the field of sport communication. All submissions are welcome as the quarterly is an international peer-reviewed journal that has an interdisciplinary appeal to researchers and practitioners in the field. Examples of acceptable topics for consideration range from sport public relations, all-sports cable channels, sport journalism, and interpersonal communication in sport to sports broadcasting, organizational communication in sport, sport Web logs, and sports radio. Other possible foci of submissions include socio-cultural issues in the sport media, international sport communication, sport media management and production, diffusion of sport media discourses, historical and political aspects of sport communication, content analyses of sport programming and media messages, strategic management in sport communication, economic, and financial aspects affiliated with the sport media, sport film and photography, media sports consumption and negotiation, human resources development in sport communication, emerging technologies in sport media, management of sport media organizations, sport media and the law, and sport communication personnel.

Audience: The published contents of the journal are intended for academicians engaged in researching or teaching sport communication, and professionals and organizations engaged in the practice of sport communication.

Cross-Disciplinary Appeal: IJSC welcomes innovative and original research submissions by academics, practitioners, and research students on any analysis related to sport communication. The members of the editorial board (and prospective manuscript submitters) are sport communication scholars from diverse fields such as critical studies, sport management, advertising, communication policy, history, media studies, psychology, telecommunications, cultural studies, sport marketing, international communication, gender studies, journalism, public relations, communication theory, and new media.

JSM Board Welcomes ...

... Dr. Lawrence Wenner, a pioneer and preeminent scholar in the field of sports sociology and sports ethics. Larry has edited two books on media and sports, and has authored countless academic papers on a wide variety of sports media topics. He is currently the Von der Ahe Professor of Communication and Ethics at Loyola-Marymount University in Los Angeles.

We welcome Larry to JSM and look forward to his contributions.

Why do we like sports?

Although I've recently resigned from the JSM board, I plan to continue posting. And, in fact, I plan to do more of that now that I feel freer of my own reservations about having to uphold a high academic standard of research. I am much more an observational kind of sports fan and sports media fan as opposed to someone who likes to do research. With that said, I'll be offering up more of my observations. If any ideas strike you as possible research topics, feel free to take them up, and I'm open to some kind of collaboration if that seems fitting so don't hesitate to contact me.

This information is taken from "For women, sports is a field of dreams, by Heidi Dawley, Jan. 18, 2007,

A study recently from Initiative Sports Futures, the company's global sports consultancy division (whatever that is!), found that more and more women are watching the world's top sporting events. In fact, they found, "In some countries women can account for more than half the viewing for some major events." This study focused on the FIFA World Cup Final, the UEFA European Football Championship, and the Summer Olympics.

More on more American female sportsfanship comes from a study quoted by Sheila Gibbons in 2003 in "Sports News Shortchanges Female Players, Fans" on the Robert C. Maynard Institute for Journalism Education website ( says:

"According to a recent national study from Scarborough Sports Marketing, 50 million women follow sports sponsored by the National Hockey League, National Football League, National Basketball Association, Women's National Basketball Association, Professional Golfers Association, NASCAR, Professional Soccer or Major League Baseball. The percentage of women 18 and older who are loyal (very or somewhat avid) sports fans has doubled in four years from 28 percent in 1998 to 58 percent in November 2002, according to Scarborough, which says they remain a huge untapped market for sports marketers."

What caught my attention was the first study prompted the writer to ruminate on what might cause women to be paying more attention to the sporting events these days. (Her main theory was that for women it had more to do with celebrity than sports, i.e. the David Beckham phenomenonl).

That got me to thinking about why I watch sports, because it's certainly not for the celebrity. But THAT got me to wondering why no one ever questions why men watch sports. I don't believe the desire to watch sports is encoded in a man's DNA, so there might be just as many different reasons for them as for women, and some of those reasons might be the same for both genders. And, the trend for ESPN and SI to focus more in recent years with stars, legends, and the next big thing--even to trying to find them in high school now--points to men sliding over into making celebrities a focus of watching sports. I can see it too in the sports anchors' and other athletes' hero worship of athletes, the off-the-field emphasis of athletes promoted by sports media (i.e. Barry Bonds getting his own reality show for a while and SI's new, ever-expanding department on Players and their "real" lives), and other sports entertainment developments (the ESPYS--athletes get their own Oscars!, the Pop Culture Grid in SI, the "For Love or the Game" department in ESPN: The Magazine. All of this has more to do with athletes as celebrities than the game/sports themselves. So, to paraphrase Daniel Boorstin, athletes make a name for themselves in sports but then they're nearly as famous just for being famous and their performance diminishes in importance.

I know I miss the emphasis and description from TV and print on the sporting events themselves. I do have to confess when I watched football in high school, I did pick who I was going to root for based on how many cute guys were on a team (Tinker Owens clinched it for the Sooners against Nebraska; Nolan Cromwell did the same for KU then the Rams). But I also had started watching football after reading Jerry Kramer's classic, "Instant Replay" when I was 12 because of how he wrote about the game and the strategy, and I was already listening faithfully to baseball games on the radio (not caring what they looked like, because it was always going to be the Cardinals).

I do always have to explain why I'm an avid sports fans, but everyone takes for granted men are. I find that interesting. I'm going to have to ask my male sports fan friends why and see what I come up with.

Monday, March 05, 2007

NCA and Sports Communication Group

JSM supports the work of Andy Billings at Clemson, who is trying to create a Sports Communication Division within the National Communications Association .

The NCA will consider the proposal in November, but in the meantime Andy is gathering names of supporters to include on a petition. You would need a membership in NCA to add your name to the list. If you are interested you can contact Andy at:

Dr. Andrew C. Billings
Associate Professor
Dept. of Communication Studies
409 Strode Tower
Clemson, SC 29634-0533a
864.656.1477 (O)
864.656.0599 (F)

Friday, March 02, 2007

BEA Convention

If you're headed to Las Vegas for the annual BEA Convention, these panels might interest you--

Saturday, 10:30 AM-11:45 AM
Nobody Roots for Goliath: Analyzing the Presentation of Televised Sports Management & Sales
Moderator: Paul MacArthur, Utica College Pamela Laucella, Indiana University
Monday Night Football: Roone Arledge, Pete Rozelle, and the Ascent of Sport as Entertainment--R. Glenn Cummins, Kennesaw State University
You Call the Shots: The Psychological Effects of Select Camera Techniques in Sports Broadcasting-- Erik Peterson, Florida State University, Arthur Raney, Florida State University
Buzzer Beaters: The Relationship Between Perceived Suspense and Enjoyment of Televised NCAA Basketball Tournament Games--James Angelini, Indiana University

I'm also involved in a panel. I got a last-minute call and will talk about the relationship between the news producer and sports producer in local television news--

Thursday, 5:15 PM-6:30; Producing Producers 5: Managing Relationships
Moderator: Mary T. Rogus, Ohio University; Gary Hanson, Former News Director--Kent State
Managing Up--What the Boss Wants-- Chris Saldana, KLAS-TV News Anchor
The Most Important Relationship in Producing--Ken Fischer, University of Oklahoma
Sports: More than Just a Time Saver--Brad Schultz, University of Mississippi

The BEA convention is always held in conjunction with the annual convention of the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB). The convention this year is April 18-21 at the Las Vegas Convention Center. You can get more information about the convention and the complete convention program.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

... And goodbye to ...

As the JSM board welcomes John Fortunato, we reluctantly accept the resignation of board member Angela Renkoski of Drake. Angela has worked tirelessly to help promote the journal, and her dedication and passion helped us through these challenging first years. We will miss her and her valuable opinions.

Of course, that leaves an opening on the board. If you know someone who is interested, or maybe are interested yourself, please contact me at