Friday, April 25, 2008

Project MUSE

Awhile back, I mentioned that all future issues of the Journal of Sports Media would be listed on Project MUSE, which is "a unique collaboration between libraries and publishers providing 100% full-text, affordable and user-friendly online access to over 380 high quality humanities and social sciences journals from over 60 scholarly publishers."

We're happy to announce that the recently published issue of JSM 3(1), is now listed on MUSE. This includes all full-text articles and other information. We encourage you to access the table of contents and take a look.

JSM looks forward to its collaboration with Project MUSE, and the publication of all future issues of JSM. Issue 3(2) should be out some time this fall.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Who owns sports coverage?

Admittedly, this a day late (an eternity in the blogosphere), but Tim Arango of the New York Times had an interesting piece Monday regarding "Tension over sports blogging." At the heart of the discussion, Who owns sports coverage?

I have advocated sport organizations should credential bloggers, or at least embrace the individuals who author blogs specific to a team or organization. My logic is that bloggers, and the people who read the blgos, are highly identified customers of the organization who purchase tickets, merchandise, etc. These are the consumers that marketers covet.

Not everyone agrees with that point of view, but there are no laws which tell us what the ramifications of treating bloggers as equals to the mainstream media might be. This is an important angle to Arango's story - the role of the First Amendment. Arango cites an unnamed hockey executive who thought the Supreme Court will eventually weigh in on this and quotes Frank Hawkins of the NFL as saying "The First Amendment only applies to government. Even if it is played in a publicly financed stadium it is a private event."

I touched on the First Amendment issue in a previous post after the IOC approved athlete blogging from the Olympic Village this summer in Beijing. In my mind, it is necessary to distinguish between the "function" of journalism and the "profession" of journalism. If the First Amendment were only to apply to the profession of journalism, than obviously most bloggers would be excluded. Bloggers have altered the business of gathering news and information previously restricted to the "profession" of journalism. Even the editor at large for Hearst, Phil Bronstein, admits in the piece, that "we don't agree on what the future of journalism is."

League governing bodies such as MLB, NCAA and NFL have imposed restrictions on blogging, online video, and even the number of photographs. Those restrictions are impeding the "profession" of journalism from effectively doing its job, or so the mainstream media think. As John Cherwa of the Associated Press Sports Editors and Orlando Sentinel says, "We're getting tire of everyone trying to tell us how to do our business." But what is the business of the mainstream media today?

I concede Mr. Hawkins' point (or the interpretation of his comment) that the NFL is a private entity and can do what it wishes regarding credentials and the NFL owns the pictures and marks of the league. But does it own the accounts of those games? As Terry McDonell of the Sports Illustrated Group wrote to MLB Commissioner Bud Selig, "S.I. does not own the sports history, but neither does Major League Baseball. That history belongs to everyone who loves the game."

Here are some additional takes on the New York Times article from around the sports blogosphere:
Christopher Byrne of Eye on Sports Media
The Big Lead focuses on following the money trail

BEA Sports Interest Group

I was at another conference last week and unable to attend BEA, but Max Utsler of Kansas tells me that things are moving forward regarding a BEA interest division on sports. Max reports 43 people showed up to the organizational meeting and there is a mailing list of 70. Michael
Bruce of Oklahoma Baptist was elected chair and Rick Sykes of Central Michigan is vice-chair. There were four other volunteers to help in convention panels, the BEA Festival and paper competition.

Max is busy working on a website for the interest group, which should be ready in a few days. If you have an interest, questions or want to join, you can contact him at

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Welcome to JSAS

The field of sports-related research keeps growing with the launch of the Journal of Sport Administration and Supervision. The journal home page includes the inaugural call for papers, and will seem to focus on practical research and case studies. There's also a podcast, which is an interesting and innovative move. All in all, it seems like the developers of the journal have done their homework and we at JSM wish them well.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

JSM 3(1) now available--essays needed!

The new issue of the Journal of Sports Media is now in print. For subscription information contact the University of Nebraska Press. The UNP site also has the table of contents for the latest issue. Check out the journal's new look!

JSM 3(2) will publish this fall and we are open to essays from sports media colleagues. The essay should not be typical academic research, but should be a practical approach to a sports media issue. (Tom Weir and Marc Krein wrote an excellent piece for the latest issue on how Oklahoma State University developed a Sports Media program). The essay should run about 1,500 words and the deadline is July 1. Contact me if you are interested.

We have our research papers for the fall issue, but if you are interested in submitting a manuscript for future issues you can find more information here. Again, contact me if you have any questions.

Brad Schultz, Editor

Friday, April 11, 2008

Help needed: Athletes and self-disclosure

The following comes from Todd Fraley at East Carolina University. If you can help, please contact him at the email listed below.
I have a graduate student who is studying the relationship between athletes and athletic trainers with a specific interest in understanding connections between self-disclosure among athletes in a healthcare setting (i.e the training room) and notions of athletic identity.

I have added some of her thoughts below.

If you have any ideas on literature that might be beneifical please email me. You can do this off the list at

Todd Fraley
Self-disclosure emerged as a significant part of the interactions between athletes and trainers. I believe this is due to the strong role-identity athletes possess. Role-identity can be defined as the characteristics an individual has due to the social groups they belong to (Charng, Piliavin, & Callero, 1988). Athletes in particular have been found to relate strongly to their identities. “Not only do athletes place significant importance on their identity as athletes, but others often place importance on this particular identity.

A professional horseback rider said:

“My body has failed me because it can no longer perform the function I want it to. To ride horses in competition is for me the most meaningful expression of my body’s special capabilities. This restriction has become the focus of my life; it has hit at the inner core of my being,” (Sparkes, 1998, p. 652).

I think it is the athletic-identity that causes the high rates of self-disclosure in the athletic training room. Although all people value their bodies, I feel that athletes’ especially place emphasis on their bodies and it’s health because their bodies act as machines in an important factory. If their “machines” aren’t properly functioning, they risk not only their bodies, but their cores, their identities.

Self-disclosure between athlete and trainer is based on trust. Northouse & Northouse say that trust “is present in relationships when individuals feel that they can rely on others,” (p. 71). Relationships in health care settings require “that individuals’ communication be descriptive rather than evaluative, problem oriented rather than control oriented, spontaneous rather than strategic, empathic rather than neutral, equal rather than superior, and provisional rather than certain,” (Northouse & Northouse, 1998, p. 72).

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Owner of media company limits media access

I'm not really certain what to say about this story from the New York Daily News this past Sunday. Apparently, the New York Knicks and their owner James Dolan (who also owns Cablevision) have some intriguing policies for dealing with the media. A few interesting observations from the article.

First, apparently the Knicks keep a binder on each writer who covers the team, sort of a scouting report.
"There are certain writers that the company won't deal with because of negative stories they've written," said the former executive, who requested anonymity. "Other writers they know they can play ball with. There are some influential writers and radio guys that people at the Garden will say, 'We own them.'"

Second, how would you like to be the intern who listens to radio talk shows and makes the "naughty and nice" list? I work at a university which has regularly sent interns to Madison Square Garden. I have never heard of an intern doing that, but then again I suppose MSG might be censoring their journals.

Third, in "fairness" to MSG, Dolan is giving new GM Donnie Walsh control of media relations and Walsh has promised a more professional working environment.

At any rate, the article is a good, er, interesting, read and there is a link to the 16-page media relations document "obtained" by the NY Daily News. See the top of the first page for the link.

Paying the Piper

Quiz time here at the JSM blog!

No sooner had Kansas coach Bill Self cut down the nets on the Jayhawks recent NCAA championship than speculation began he might be interested in another job. Why is the speculation so rampant?

a) Oklahoma State currently needs a head basketball coach
b) Self is an Oklahoma State graduate with strong ties to the school
c) OSU donor T. Boone Pickens is throwing around money like party confetti
d) all of the above, but mostly c)

Pencils down, and the answer is ... d). There are a lot of reasons Self might return to his alma mater, but it's hard to ignore the millions Pickens will undoubtedly pony up to bring the OSU program into national prominence. Billionaire alumnus Pickens already has already given the OSU program more than $150 million, and his deep pockets apparently have no limits when it comes to helping his beloved Cowboys.

But Pickens' largesse raises several interesting issues, most notably conflict of interest. Like any smart businessman Pickens expects some kind of return on his investment and probably wants some say on how the money is spent. Do big-money donors like Pickens and Oregon's Phil Knight have too much power in terms of how college athletic departments operate? OSU named its stadium for Pickens, but that would hardly seem to placate a high rollling operator who expects quick results.

It will be interesting to see how much, if any, input Pickens has in the OSU basketball coaching search. Self would be wise to realize that if he makes the jump he may be more accountable to Pickens than to the university. No athletic department in the country would turn down an alumnus who wants to donate millions of dollars, but there has to be limits. If not, then college athletics will become like the professional ranks and those schools with the biggest donors will be the biggest winners (say what you want about the current situation, but if results were based on alumni donations Harvard would win the national championship every year).

One good thing about Pickens--he didn't get involved in uniform design like Knight and Nike did at Oregon. The result may be the worst football uniforms ever made. Oregon could bring back some measure of control, not to mention dignity, by telling Knight thanks, but no thanks.

Monday, April 07, 2008

Free Speech in Illinois?

A dispute between the Illinois High School Association (IHSA) and local media photographers has turned into the latest battle over freedom of speech.

The IHSA instituted new rules this year that banned media outlets from reselling the photos they took at IHSA events. A couple of newspapers took the IHSA to court and while that case winds its way through the system, the Illinois legislature has weighed in. The Illinois state senate has sponsored a bill that would overrule the IHSA and allow outlets to resell the photos. The bill is currently under consideration by the Illinois House.

Of course, all of this has less to do with free speech than it does with money. The IHSA has a contract with a company to sell the photos and doesn't want any competition. What's not as clear is the IHSA's stance on fans bringing their own cameras to events and taking pictures. Although it's unlikely, any one of the fans who capture images at an event (and there as many, as witnessed by the picture above), could in turn sell that image for profit. If the IHSA restricts professional photographers doesn't it have to restrict everyone?
As a practical matter the IHSA's stance is unbelievably short-sighted and outdated. In this digital age you can no more restrict the redistribution of images than you can _________ (fill in your own improbable metaphor here). Someone, somewhere has a video or a picture and they have no reluctance about sharing it, whether there are rules or not (Hey, ISHA ... have you heard of YouTube?).
Yes, this is certainly a free speech issue. But even more than that it's a great example of an organization trying to impose 20th century rules on 21st century technology.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Sports Communication major

The following comes from Chris Kasch at Bradley. If you have any input, please contact him directly.

I am teaching in the Department of Communication at Bradley University, where we are developing courses for a new major in Sport Communication. I have been tasked with developing a course proposal for a course entitled Sports and Interactive Media.

I have taught computer-mediated communication for 10 years so have some idea, but would very much like to here any thoughts people on the list might have regarding salient content and skills that should be focused on in a course such as think.

Chris R. Kasch