Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Releasing the Virginia Tech Tapes

The decision of NBC and other networks to air tapes of the Virginia Tech killer's manifesto have sparked controversy. Did they do the right thing. Howard Kurtz of the Washington Post wrote a column expressing his opinion and many others have expressed their opinions as well. Here is mine:

I think that it’s all right that NBC chose to show clips from the Cho's videos, however there should have been a viewer discretion warning before the video was shown. Some might argue that by showing the clips, the news media is giving the killer attention, which is exactly what he wanted. However, I think the videos offer visual proof of just how crazy this person was and gives us clues as to why he would commit such an atrocity. If people don’t want to watch they can turn it off. It’s the media’s job to report news, and although it was disturbing, this was news. NBC did not show the entire tape, but instead clips that they thought would give the viewer a possible glimpse into the killer’s mind. Another alternative would be to post the videos on the NBC website, so then people could choose to see them if he or she wanted to do so.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Web 2.0 Application

Google News is a very useful tool if a person wants to find out about a news topic from many different perspectives. When the user first searches for a topic, Google News will list publications that offer stories on the same subject (sometimes there are thousands of different stories). If the user has Google account, it allows he or she to customize the front page of Google News, making it easy to access topics that a person is constantly interested in. It can search for publications in different languages and different countries as well.

The use of Google Alerts is also helpful is the user wants to keep up with the latest news on a subject. A person can tell Google to search for something many times a day and send updates to an e-mail address provided by the user.

One of the most useful features of Google News is the "Advanced News Search." This allows the user to narrow a search to a certain publication, region, time period etc. This is extremely helpful if a person is interested in looking for different perspectives on the same issue.

Thursday, April 5, 2007

MLB Extra Innings

From ESPN article by Associated Press.

Even though MLB Extra Innings ultimately decided to keep cable television as an option for customers, the idea that it could have exclusively gone exclusively to satellite and DirectTV signals a change and the power and impact that a sports media product could have. DirectTV and MLB must have initially thought that their new idea would work and that people would actually switch companies in order to purchase a popular television package. I don't think that it would be a stretch to say that many may have done it in order to watch their favorite out-of-market teams play. Will other companies be following this idea of switching exclusively to satellite? Wouldn't MLB benefit most from having the most mediums possible to display its product?

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Comment on Source 2

From "The Party's Over; Twelve years without a Super Bowl has hit L.A. where it hurts, in pocketbook", Los Angeles Times.

This article demonstrates the economic impact that a Superbowl can have on a city. Since the NFL left Los Angeles, there have been no Superbowls played at either the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum or the Rose Bowl. A Superbowl can bring in upwards of $300 million to a city and Los Angeles has not been able to capitalize. Before the Raiders and the Rams left, 7 of the first 27 Superbowls were played in Los Angeles. It highlights the impact of sports and business on society.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Theory in Action

This example about Staples Center in Los Angeles presents the relationship between sports, business and media.

With the construction of a stadium or arena comes the opportunity for massive advertising and other revenue streams. “The Staples Center in Los Angeles is home to three major pro sports franchises: the Lakers, Clippers and Kings. The owner of the Staples, Philip Anschutz “is able to command top prices for advertising and sponsorships [because of this]” (7). Office supplies chain, Staples has naming rights and other major sponsors include Southwest Airlines, Miller Brewing, Toyota Motor, Verizon Communications and Carl’s Jr.

While Staples Center in unique because of the three franchises, it also has a media deal with Fox Sports, which owns a stake in the arena. Because of this, almost all of the teams home games are broadcast on a Fox Sports cable network.

Fox Sports Network (FSN) has been able to build itself around solid regional coverage. When FOX purchased the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1998, it did not do it to build a contender and win a World Series. Instead, it used the Dodgers to start what would become a series of regional networks by broadcasting most of the team’s games on FSN West. FSN West grew to FSN West 2 and then networks began sprouting across the country. Today, Fox Sports reaches from coast to coast with 25 networks such as FSN Northwest, North, Rocky Moutain, South, Southwest, Detroit, Chicago, Ohio and Pittsburgh (4).

However effective FOX is with regional coverage, it lags behind ESPN on a national scale. In college basketball, the Pacific Ten Conference along with the Atlantic Coast Conference have contracts with FOX. Unfortunately, the Pac-10 is for the most part exclusively on FOX, while the ACC also has a contract with ESPN. Aside from being on the west coast, the FOX Sports deal is one of the reasons why the Pac-10 does not receive as much acclaim as the other schools. As a recent article in the Arizona Star states:

'“The best part about the FSN deal is that the network is not ESPN; the Pac-10 does not have to fight as many conferences for time slots, and does not have to budge from its traditional game days and times...The worst part about the FSN deal is that it is not ESPN...."In recruiting kids nowadays, all they want to talk about is exposure," Washington coach Lorenzo Romar said. "They want to play on television. That's big. For us, on the East Coast, sometimes they don't get to see us" (4).

While the Fox Sports TV deal with the Pac-10 could have an effect on recruiting, it also has its advantages because it does not have to stray from a given schedule due to extensive quantities of games. Since ESPN has contracts with many different conferences, it has to schedule games at strange times during the week. Conversely, most Pac-10 games fall on Thursdays and Saturdays.

Recently, the Pac-10 agreed to extend the contract of its postseason basketball tournament at Staples Center through 2012. Since FOX is contracted with the Pac-10, and also owns the tournament, it has exclusive rights televise the first three rounds on FSN. It only makes sense that FOX would also hold the tournament in the very building that it partially owns. (2)

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Position for Paper 3

Sports is a multi-billion dollar industry, fueled by advertising, ticket sales, memorabilia sales, TV contracts and other revenue streams. Sports can also have a major economic impact on a city. The professional athlete is paid millions of dollars because of the earning potential that he creates for his franchise and the companies that he endorses. In the end the athlete is expected to produce much more in revenue than he is paid.

However, behind earning potential in professional sports lies the news media, the public's source for anything they could hope to know about an emerging star player. The media builds the hype and influences how people perceive a player. It can build a player up and it can also shut a player down. Media drives all professional and college sports. The players receive an enormous amount of attention and fame in the public eye. However, with celebrity and fame comes an increasing sense of invincibility among some players. They may commit a crime or another wrongdoing and a judge might let them slide because they have a big game, and the judge wants to see his beloved team win. Since even the earliest times, sports have always played a key role in society. People are drawn to them. However, when the athletes are held to lower standards in regards to the law and feel that they can get away with anything, the games that so many watch and love, have gone too far.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Comment on Source for Paper 3

This comment is in response to a Forbes article from 2004 on the impact of NBA player Lebron James on his team and the estimated amount of money that would receive from his sponsors during his first five years in the NBA. It discusses immediate impact that James would have on his franchise, the Cleveland Cavaliers, in terms of ticket sales, attendance and the overall value of the team. The numbers are staggering and make James seem like a "steal" for what the Cavaliers were paying him.

However, without the media hype surrounding James going into the NBA, it is doubtful that he would have had as much of an impact on his team. He was one of the first high school basketball players to have some of his games nationally televised. In these televised games, James put on a show and lived up to the hype. Consequently, by the time he got to the league, people had seen him and couldn't wait for another chance to watch him play. This might have all changed if he had mediocre performances in those televised games. Because he played well the media attention boosted his stock to monumental levels. If he had just played his high school games in Ohio in front of the sold-out gyms, without the TV coverage, he would just have been known as this great high school basketball player. The media made note of his nickname "King James." By the time James came into the league, he was already "King." He was on top and there was no where else to go but down. But, James lived up to his billing and his stock remained top notch.

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Wikipedia Entry- Sports, Media and Society

The world has a love of sports as people fill arenas and stadiums to watch their favorite athletes play. The sports industry is a multi-billion dollar enterprise, fueled by components such as advertising, TV deals, ticket sales, merchandise sales and other revenue streams. However, sports would not be as huge in society if it were not for the constant coverage and analysis by the news media. The media can boost or hurt an athlete's image, which can then in a way affect his or her marketability. With the increased coverage of the media, comes the increased awareness of the person to the public. However, this popularity, awareness, and celebrity can have its price as well.

Sunday, March 4, 2007

Post Season Awards, March Madness, and the Media

With the NCAA men’s basketball tournament beginning a little more than a week, the post-season awards are beginning to flutter in. As with the majority of awards, there are many deserving players and someone always gets snubbed. This year has been no exception.

When the Pacific-10 Conference post-season awards were announced yesterday, I was satisfied but not thrilled with the all the results, particularly with the individual honors. The coaches vote on the winners and I’m not exactly sure how the final results are tabulated, but I would assume that each gets a first, a second, and a third place vote.

I’ll start with the two awards that I agree with:

Pac-10 Coach of the Year: Tony Bennett, Washington State.

Absolutely. No Doubter. Start up the plane, help me make the connection in Spokane, warm up the bus, take me on a two-hour drive me past the farmhouses, through the fields and I’ll be the first to shake his hand.

No. The first-year Cougar head coach has no relation to the singer, however he had the people of Pullman rocking. Every Thursday and Saturday they would pack a gym and watch WSU battle legitimately for a Pac-10 title. The Cougars were picked to finish last in the conference and ended up second at 24-6.

A team of no-names, became bunch that hounded their opponents defensively and were able to score just enough to win. Derrick Low and Kyle Weaver were named to the Pac-10 first team as WSU was 8-4 in games decided by six points or fewer.

Pac-10 Freshman of the Year: Chase Budinger, forward, Arizona. Budinger, who was also considered the top volleyball player in America, brought his leaping ability and sweet shooting touch to the Wildcats this season. He ranked 7th in the Pac-10 in scoring (15.8 ppg) and 12th in rebounding (5.9 per game). Possible snubs: Spencer Hawes, center Washington. Hawes averaged 15.2 ppg and 6.3 rebounds, but had health problems in the middle of the season that hindered his performance).

Now, let the rant to begin.

Pac-10 Player of the Year: Arron Affalo, guard, UCLA. If the Pac-10 coaches were casting their vote for the “best player in the Pac-10,” they got it wrong. If the coaches voted for the “most valuable player in the Pac-10” they got it wrong.
However, if they simply voted for the best player on the top team in the Pac-10, well, that’s fine, but it’s no way to decide the player of the year. It should go to the greatest all around player in the Pac-10. That’s not Affalo, it’s USC swingman Nick Young.

Reason one: basic statistics.

Nick Young ranks 2nd in the Pac-10 in scoring (17.5 ppg.) Afflalo is 3rd (17.2). Young is 5th in goal percentage (53%) and the players who are ranked ahead of him are power forwards and centers. Afflalo shoots 47%. Young places 4th in 3-point percentage (44%). Afflalo 12th (39%). Young also averages more rebounds (4.5) to (2.5).

Reason two: game performance and consistency. There is no breakdown of the coaches’ votes just yet. But, I would have to think that they would certainly remember the players that gave their teams a hard time. Granted, Afflalo and Young are just two players and there could have been others, but they are my focus and I’m sticking to it.

Lute Olsen, Arizona head coach, certainly remembered when Young scored 30 points on 13 for 19 shooting in the first meeting of the year between the Trojans and Wildcats. If he wasn’t convinced, perhaps Young’s 26-point effort at the Arizona McHale Center on 9 of 13 shooting got him thinking. Afflalo was also respectable against the Wildcats, scoring 22 and 15 points, but not good enough.

Lorenzo Romar, Washington coach, had to be impressed with Afflalo after his 27 point outburst against the Huskies in December at Pauley Pavilion. However, Lorenzo must have been relieved last week to see Afflalo score 12 points on 4 of 14 shooting against the same Husky team. Young was much more consistent against Washington, scoring 25 points in the first meeting and 26 on 11 for 15 shooting in the second.

In the first head-to-head meeting Afflalo and Young had similar stats, and each made a clutch basket in the closing seconds, with Afflalo getting game winner at the Galen Center. However, in the second match-up at UCLA Young was superior. He scored 20 points on 9 of 12 shooting. Afflalo was 3 for 11 for 16 points, nine of which came from the free-throw line in the closing seconds.

I can keep comparing statistics, but stats can only go so far. I think Nick Young has been short changed this year because the news media doesn’t really focus on USC basketball because they are not yet the a national powerhouse. Awards are somewhat skewed because of media coverage.

For example, UCLA was playing Washington last weekend on CBS. Even though Afflalo was having an awful game, CBS put up a graphic that mentioned Afflalo as a possible Wooden Award Winner (national player of the year). The announcers said “Oh, yeah he’s maybe one of the top five players in the country.” I asked myself, how can Afflalo be considered a top-five player if he is arguably not even the best player in his own conference?

The answer is simple. UCLA gets more national media coverage. People see Afflalo, see that he is a great player, and because he plays for a great team, he is automatically put in the conversation as one the “best in the country.” The argument is the same when talking about USC football. Some USC players are over-hyped because they play for USC.

However, in a little more than a week, the nation will get a glimpse at Nick Young and other players like him who don’t get to show off their skills to the nation on a regular basis. That is the beauty of the NCAA Tournament. “March Madness” is a media spectacle and almost every team receives coverage, regardless of how small they are. In the coming days I will offer more analysis of the exact media coverage.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Tabloids: Are they Legitimate?

Recently, in an interview with country singer Kenny Chesney on "60 Minutes," correspondent Anderson Cooper brought up rumors that had been circulating in the tabloids about Chesney being gay. These rumors started after actress Renee Zelweger divorced him after only four month, citing "fraud" as the reason. The question is: Should Anderson Cooper have brought up something based on a tabloid in an interview? Here is my take:

Tabloids are a type of journalism. Their job is to create controversy and spark topics of discussion, regardless of how “legitimate” the story is. Somehow people feel less awkward “raking up muck” and taking shots at celebrities and questioning their every move. Mainstream news organizations can use the tabloids as they wish, but they have to realize that the credibility of their organization would be taking a hit.

It’s fine that “60 Minutes” did a story on Kenny Chesney. However, what did Anderson Cooper asking about tabloid rumors add to the story? Who cares if he was married for four months to Renee Zelweger and divorced? Why do the personal, intimate relations of celebrities matter? Is it affecting how they work? Do we as humans, have the desire to see those on the “top” take a fall? Are we out to look for a “flaw” in everyone?

I find it amusing how shows bring on news “analysts” to talk about the lives of celebrities, asking probing questions such as, “What do you think she was feeling at the time of the divorce? Are there problems at home? Why did she choose to paint her new ten million dollar house blue?”

If I could figure out what the obsession with finding out all the information on celebrities is, I would write a book. Sure, news organizations can use tabloids to come up with questions, but is that really how they want to be spending their time?

I have never heard of Kenny Chesney, and even if I did, I wouldn’t care if he were gay. I hate rumors. When people say, “Oh, it’s just a rumor,” it’s not just a rumor. A rumor can instantly put questions into a person’s mind, and shape the way he or she perceives someone. People become curious, the question becomes a bigger deal, and then a seemingly legitimate question in an interview becomes, “To dispel all the rumors, is it true?” Why should the guy even have to be on the program if he is going to have to confront junk like that? Sometimes, a person will actually feel pressured to go on a show, so he can put an end to the rumor. Even though Anderson Cooper didn’t directly ask him the question, the fact that the tabloids were even mentioned, means that people are still thinking about the rumor, and want the answer.

I may be crazy, but I feel that people are out to look for the flaws, without even truly knowing the person. If the “flaw” isn’t there, then people will work to create one. Let a person’s actions speak for themselves. As legendary UCLA basketball coach John Wooden said, “Judge character more than reputation. Character is who you really are, reputation is how people think you are.”

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Zotero, Diigo and Research

The use of computers has made the act of searching for and gathering information easier. Now, with annotated bibliography programs and social bookmarking sites, such as Zotero and Diigo, the act of conducting research online has taken another step forward.

Using Zotero makes the act of constructing a bibliography more simple. The user barely has to think. If he or she finds an article on a site that is supported by Zotero, all they have to do is click a button and, boom, it's done. There are other sites where the user has to enter the critical information for the bibliography, click a button, and it will make a bibliography in correct MLA style. Now, Zotero gathers that information, and makes a perfect bibliography that can be exported to a word processor and printed out. It allows the user to write notes about the article which can also be exported. Sometimes, there are even ready-made summaries of the article. I have no idea who writes them but they are also helpful. The only drawback to Zotero is that unless the user exports the information to the computer, it does not get saved.

Diigo is good if you want to save websites of interest, and then access them from any computer. It does not provide the automatic bibliography of Zotero, but the user could simply save his bookmarks, return to the sites, hit the Zotero button and the problem is quickly solved. Diigo also features a highlighting tool that allows the user to select text from the site and write comments. If the user is logged in to Diigo and returns to the site, the highlights and comments remain. It it also somewhat useful if you want to find websites related to a certain topic that you are interested in. However, finding academic type articles or journal entires in a person's bookmarks is rare.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Social Bookmarks

When searching under the keywords Sports, Media, and Society on, the list that I got had about 39 entries, with most of the links being to ESPN and There was also a Sky Sports link (some network in Canada). When I clicked on the usernames to find out what other types of bookmarks they had accumulated, there was a very wide variety, most of which did not have anything to do with other sports or media related issues. One had topics ranging from politics, to animals, to Jesus. In this way, I think social bookmarking can be similar to regular social conversation.

When I searched for under just "sports," over one thousand entries appeared. However, when I clicked on the user names, it once again displayed a wide variety of topics.

We do not simply talk about one topic, unless we're in a certain group that has an affinity with the subject. Social bookmarking seems to cover a broad spectrum, much like a person would do if he or she were talking with friends. The topic can change at any moment and the conversation can head in a different direction. We search for sites that interest us and about topics that interest us. Most people have more than one topic that sparks their thoughts.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Response to J.A. Adande

In reading L.A. Times sports columnist J.A. Adande’s most recent post on his blog, it appears that the NBA can still not shed itself of the recent hip-hop, gangster image, as it prepares for All-Star Weekend in Las Vegas.

In his post, Adande quotes Las Vegas mayor Oscar Goodman: "I don't want to see some gangbangers or hip-hoppers knocking over a jewelry store at Fashion Show mall."

Adande is also quick to mention that these comments came from the same man who animatedly said that Las Vegas deserved a basketball team. He then refers back to when the All-Star game came to Los Angeles and mentions that there was only one crime that could have possibly been associated with the event

This post reflects how the NBA, no matter what it tries to do to change its image, such as implementing a dress code, cannot shake itself of the gangster, hip-hop image. The media and the NBA itself have contributed to a skewed view of the players in the league.

The NBA brought hip-hop upon itself by using hip-hop songs in its ads. This ended a few years ago but they have yet to recover. Sports media also jumps on anything related to NBA players that would be considered violent. Let’s face it, news media likes violence. Violence plays a part in at least one story on any nightly newscast. The viewers must like it, too, or else networks wouldn’t show it.

When Indiana Pacer Steven Jackson fired a gun outside a nightclub, it was the lead story on ESPN. Jackson was also was part of the Pacer/Pistons/fans brawl in 2005 and that didn’t help him any. ESPN spent a solid two weeks on the aftermath of that story. It then highlighted subsequent games between the teams as “the first match-up since the brawl.”

In late 2006, when the Knicks and Nuggets got into a brawl, it was once again the lead story on ESPN and was covered by all the major news stations. Yes, brawls are bad. Yes, guns are bad. However, a person shouldn’t pass judgment on a whole league for the actions of a few individuals.

On most TV broadcasts of NBA games, the NBA advertises its “NBA Cares” program, which shows the players going out and helping in the community. However, on a sports news show, the producer will rarely decide to run a story on the good deeds of an NBA player or any other professional athlete. The second something awful happens, it becomes news. However, it seems that something has to be “remarkably” good for it to become news.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Annotated Sources

From the article "The Future of Sports Media"

This article talks about the changing nature of sports media, discussing how ESPN has created a model with its abundant coverage of sports. It offers print, broadcast, and online media. Other sports teams, such as England's soccer team Manchester United, have followed this model. The team has its own network. However, Manchester United has taken its "brand" to the next level. It offers services ranging from financial advice to car insurance.

The role of streaming online media and sports is at the forefront. Major League Baseball is one of the pioneers of broadcasting all of its regular season games as streaming video over the internet. Other organizations, such as the NCAA have asked MLB for help when setting up user-friendly sites for streaming video during the NCAA basketball tournament. Bloggers are also becoming a bigger influence in the sports media world and the media can no longer "filter" all of the content. The article doesn't go as far as saying that bloggers have actually broken many sports-related story, but it does suggest that the trend may occur. In final, the sport media landscape is constantly changing and adapting.

Summary of a book review of “The Ultimate Assist: The Relationship and Broadcast Strategies of the NBA and Television Networks.”

This is a review of a book by John A. Fortunato that talks about the way the NBA chose to market itself during the time of Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson and Larry Bird. The author tries to prove that there was more going on to promote the league other that the on-the-court product.

The reviewer writes that Fortunato suggests in the 1980s, the NBA purposely did not air many games on television in order to “leave the fans wanting more.” Then, when there was a game, the fans would really tune in. The author talks about the use of visual media during the games in order to paint a picture of the players. The fans could somehow, then, relate to the stars. This was also the start of “storylines” for games (the game was not just a game, it had higher significance).

The review also says that Fortunato discusses how the NBA marketed its product by giving the media extra access to the players. The book documents the NBA’s growth over time. The main point is that the NBA controls its own agenda. It is also able to market its product so well through the use of various media, that other companies are following the NBA’s model.

This seems relevant to the way that the NBA chooses to market itself today. Each year the league tries something different. Also, the NBA has focused less on the actual teams playing in the games. It chooses to hype the match-up between star players from each side.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Visual Appeal of and

In this post I will attempt to discuss what makes such sports websites as, What works and what doesn’t work.

On the ESPN website the creators have a picture with the main story on the left and various other sports headlines on the right. The right side of the page also features ESPN Motion, where the viewer can stream highlights of recently completed game. Across the top of the page, it lists all the major sports, such as NBA, NFL, MLB, College Basketball and more. When you drag the cursor over any one is brings up a pull down menu, where the user can access information about stats, scores, players and other information. If you click on the sport the site will bring you to the sport-specific page where you can find all the info and stories pertaining solely to that sport.

On the main page it also has the “spotlight” section that scroll through the various stories accompanied with pictures. It also has an interactive poll question pertaining to one of the recent trends in the sports world. I think the site in well set up and the user can access anything that they ever wanted to know about sports. The site might be a little too extensive and there is a lot of content on the page. delivers the user the same information and has a somewhat similar layout to ESPN but it is not nearly as cluttered. It has the main story on the left, followed by feature stories underneath. The sports are listed on the top with pull-down menus. Sports headlines are on the right, there are highlight videos and an interactive poll just like ESPN. There are fewer “flashy” components to site and it’s less distracting. When you log on to ESPN, it will immediately start playing highlights on ESPN Motion. The user has a choice on It’s a simple, straightforward, layout and the user can access the same information in the same amount of time.

Probably the number one thing that a viewer of ESPN or is going to want to find out is quick scores. Fox Sports has a scoreboard on the front page and you can pick the sport. ESPN has a scrolling scoreboard that displays only one score at a time. The user can pick the sport but again is limited to one score at a time. is both visually pleasing and productive. ESPN is great visually, but can sometimes get in the way of what a person is trying to accomplish.

Tuesday, February 6, 2007

OJ Mayo, The Media, and Invincibility

University of Southern California bound point guard OJ Mayo has been anointed “the next Lebron James.” He plays in front of sold out crowds for Huntington High School in West Virginia. His team is considered the top high school squad in the nation.

However, last week, his image took a hit after he received two technical fouls in a game against Capitol High School and was ejected. After the ejection Mayo went over to the referee that gave the fouls and according to many accounts, nudged him and caused him to fall. This incident has sparked controversy around the country as to whether as not Mayo intentionally bumped the referee. Enter YouTube.

The video has been viewed over 180,000 times on YouTube, shaping people’s opinions of the incident. After watching the video it appears that the contact was incidental and that Mayo was approaching the referee to ask what he did to earn the second technical foul.

However, the brunt of the story doesn’t end with the ejection. Mayo received an automatic two-game suspension for the two technicals and many of his teammates were also suspended for leaving the bench.

Huntington High’s next game was against national powerhouse Artesia High School at Duke University’s Cameron Indoor Stadium. So, OJ Mayo would learn his lesson by missing a key game when his team needed him, right? Wrong. The issue was taken to court, and Mayo and five other Huntington players were allowed to play against Artesia because the judge changed the hearing to February 9. Huntington won 73-66 and Mayo scored 19 points. Coincidentally, Huntington’s next game was against the number-one team in Kentucky, a game in which Huntington was upset 72-68.

Have high school sports and athletes become so important, that players get lawyers and set court dates so they can play in a game against a top team? It lets the players off the hook. No matter what they do, they are somehow above the rules.

The news media is partly to blame for this phenomenon. Writing that players are the “next big thing,” nationally televising their games, and constantly telling them how wonderful they are, gives some a sense of invincibility at a young age. The judge himself has probably heard of OJ Mayo and perhaps knew how “important” the games were.

Knowing nothing about OJ Mayo’s character, it’s difficult to say if taunting other players and earning technical is normal for him. However, the issue is not that he earned technical fouls, it’s that he was granted permission suspension at a particular so he could play in an important game.

The issue extends beyond high school to the professional ranks. Chicago Bears defensive lineman Tank Johnson violated probation on gun possession charges and yet a judge granted him permission to leave the state so he could play in the Super Bowl. Los Angeles Times columnist Bill Plaschke expressed his view in this January 31st column:

“One semiautomatic rifle. One loaded .45-caliber handgun. One collection of four other guns. One ammunition stash of 550 rounds.
One police raid of his home. One book thrown at him on multiple weapons charges. One probation violated.
One scene of his two young daughters being carried from his home during the raid. One visit to a club the next night, where someone murdered his bodyguard.
One game suspension by his team. One home confinement ordered. One judge in Bear's clothing allowing him to attend the Super Bowl.
One apology?
I asked Tank Johnson if he was sorry.
"Sorry to who?" he said.
Sorry to society?
He turned his broad back to me. He shook his head. He laughed. He said nothing more.
There are many legendarily dumb questions asked at the Super Bowl's annual media day.
On Tuesday, asking a criminal defensive lineman to show remorse was apparently the dumbest.”

Here is a professional football player facing gun charges and he’s still allowed to play in the Superbowl. This instance is much more extreme than earning two technical fouls. It’s about owning unregistered semiautomatic weapons, violating probation, being allowed to play in a football game and then showing no remorese. A football game in the scheme of things means nothing. Athletes who think they can get away with anything is everything.

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

YouTube, Blogs, and Media (1)

Has mainstream media caught on to the effects of YouTube and other video sharing platforms on the way news stories develop? The answer is yes. The Los Angeles Times and other media outlets (blogs included) have written stories (or posts) discussing the effects of YouTube, blogs, and the emergence of so-called “citizen journalists.”

In a Los Angeles Times article written in December 2006 titled “YouTube Journalism," the author illustrates a changing form of the way receive and evaluate information:

‘“Welcome to the "YouTube effect." It is the phenomenon whereby video clips, often produced by individuals acting on their own, are rapidly disseminated worldwide on websites such as YouTube and Google Video. YouTube has 34 million monthly visitors, and 65,000 new videos are posted every day. Most are frivolous, produced by and for the teenagers who make up the majority of the site's visitors. But some are serious…Some videos reveal truths. Others spread propaganda and outright lies.”’

The observation that some videos actually reveal “truth” is the start of a trend that is changing the way journalists approach stories. Yes, a journalist might have a great clip for a story from YouTube. But the question remains: Is the story legitimate? Even though a video poster has uploaded his or her video for the world to see, the journalists still have to sift through the fact and fiction. They still have to make the phone calls and set up interviews to confirm information.

The author of the L.A. Times article also points out how the internet has made it possible for many people to evaluate, critique and confirm the information in a story:

“The good news is that the YouTube effect is already creating a strong demand for reliable guides — individuals, institutions and technologies — that we can trust to help us sort facts from lies online. The millions of bloggers who are constantly watching, fact-checking and exposing mistakes are a powerful example of "the wisdom of crowds" being assisted by a technology that is as open and omnipresent as we are."

The bloggers who “expose mistakes” and write about it are actually keeping the reporters honest. Granted, the blogs themselves should be checked for credibility before they are used to either back up a story or spark a new one. The Internet has changed the way we can comment on a news story. No longer are the “Letters to the Editor” limited to a hand-selected bunch. Any person can now comment and have a voice on what they hear or read in the news.

The website “Online Journalism News” suggests that blogs can provide a new outlet for professional journalists to express their thoughts as well:

“Then blogging went mainstream. Established print journalists from outlets such as MSNBC and Guardian Unlimited started to create their own weblogs to sit alongside news and features, blurring the distinction between journalism and blogging still further.”

In these blogs, the journalists could perhaps add some insight that was not printed in the original story. They could provide more opinion aspects to the story as opposed just straight reporting.

When discussing bloggers and video posting, a person must also bring into question the reason for a person to post a video. Are most people who participate doing this because they want to bring an issue into the mainstream, or are they simply posting a “cool video” that they want people to watch? Did they intend for it to become a story or could it be staged? The author of the L.A. Times article suggests, “YouTube is a mixed blessing…How do we know that what we see in a video clip posted by a "citizen journalist" is not a manipulated montage? How do we know, for example, that the YouTube video of terrorized American soldiers crying and praying while under fire was filmed in Iraq and not staged somewhere else to manipulate public opinion? The more than 86,000 people who viewed it in the first 10 days of its posting will never know.”

If the “citizen journalist” is truly trying to report something and a major network picks up the video and airs it, should that person in some way be compensated for his or her contribution to the story. As one writer from points out, the rise of the “citizen journalist” could benefit a professional in their reporting:

“But as we’ve already seen with photography, citizen journalists can produce compelling and immediate content that the professionals can’t always get…Nor would citizen produced videos mean a reporter is out of a job – if anything it would add to the pro-am style that rounds coverage out – giving the journalist more time to do ground level reporting.”

A citizen journalist and his or her video clips gives professional reporters more time to focus on gathering information for the story. They are not bogged down with having to film shots for the story. They can go deeper into the subject and then write based on the clips.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Duke Lacrosse

The Duke Lacrosse case provides an excellent example of the power of the media in shaping a person's perception about a story. I don’t know which media outlets could issue an apology for the somewhat skewed coverage at the beginning of case. As so often happens when something of this magnitude surfaces, every major media outlet is trying to be the first to break the story and acquire the “latest” details. In the scramble, sometimes the great reporting goes out the window and it replaced with people looking for a great sound bite or something that will stir things up. They seemed to jump at any opportunity for an “exclusive” interview.

The media painted a picture of naturally aggressive lacrosse players and focused on the racism that still exists in the south. When you discuss racism and that the victim happened to be African American, it makes it seem more likely that something like this would happen.

The biggest mistake was allowing the district attorney have huge amounts of airtime, while the defense was not given as much. I think the district attorney was looking for something to gain in this case. Now that the facts have surfaced, he has left the case and should probably lose his license to practice law.

The news media was not at fault for extensive coverage of the case, but needed to be more responsible with gathering information. It is an incredibly powerful tool of manipulation, and it influenced people to feel a certain way toward the lacrosse players. Their lives will be forever tainted by what did or didn’t happen that night at the party.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Comments on other Blogs

From Los Angeles Times- See Resource List

"YouTube is a mixed blessing: It is now harder to know what to believe. How do we know that what we see in a video clip posted by a "citizen journalist" is not a manipulated montage? How do we know, for example, that the YouTube video of terrorized American soldiers crying and praying while under fire was filmed in Iraq and not staged somewhere else to manipulate public opinion? The more than 86,000 people who viewed it in the first 10 days of its posting will never know."

"The good news is that the YouTube effect is already creating a strong demand for reliable guides — individuals, institutions and technologies — that we can trust to help us sort facts from lies online. The millions of bloggers who are constantly watching, fact-checking and exposing mistakes are a powerful example of "the wisdom of crowds" being assisted by a technology that is as open and omnipresent as we are."

  • This is an interesting opinion. The fact that someone could actually use YouTube as a manipulatory device is something that I haven't thought out but I guess it is certainly possible.

  • It's good to hear that the author says that people are relying on bloggers to sift between the fact and fiction of the YouTube posts. That really suggest that everyone now can participate in some sort of journalism.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Profile of "Blogscapes" (2)

Profile of “Blogscapes: Blogging about Blogging and New Media

The blog is about the use of new media and the role of “citizen journalists” and bloggers in society. It is unclear who writes the blog, but it seems to be a compilation of blogs based on a set keywords related to "new media" It doesn’t say which exact sites the posts come from. There have been two recent posts and the site archives back to October 2006. Based on a search on Technorati, not many blog link here.

The blog posts also relate to the use of "new media" and its direct effect on society. One post discusses the need for responsibility when people post sometime on YouTube:

"Don’t they ever learn? A British supermarket chain has started investigations into the posting of video clips on Youtube showing people perfomring stunts while wearing the company’s uniforms. The staff were shown to be fooling around and skiving from work. They were also reportedly shown giving management “the finger”. Not a smart move. Now, it seems that cyberspace is also used for cyber-bullying. In the past, bullies were more or less confined to a particular space, like school or work, but now, it’s taken on a new global spin, with cyber bullies taunting their victims 24/7, transcending time and also space!"

This relates to the topic of my blog and raises similar questions. Are people posting violent videos an the internet because they want their viewers to realize that the violence happened, possibly spurring a bigger story (investigation)? Or are they simply posting them because they think it is a “cool” video? Could it even be like this author suggests--Is there a certain "mocking or bullying" involved in the posting of violent videos.

In another post titled "Using New Media Responsibly" the author brings up yet another instance of violence on YouTube and once again questions the poster's motive for shooting the clip:

"In a separate incident overseas, a beating of a girl was posted online. It’s not sure if this is another case of happy slapping. Or if the person who caught it on camera simply wanted to show it to the world instead of helping the victim. Or is this a new form of citizen journalism where the citizen journalist goes round looking for a story, not unlike traditional journalists. And not unlike traditional journalists, they face the dilemma: do they interfere or intervene in an event, or do they simply act as the recorders of the event?"

When the author says that it is a "dilemma" whether to intervene or shoot the clip, it is completely true and something that I had not really considered before. A person is shooting a violent act, but perhaps they don't feel like they could possibly help stop the violence. They might feel that they are doing a service toward stopping future violence by posting the clip. There could be fear involved with not wanting to immediatety jump in and break up a fight. Should the journalist or the citizen journalist be an integral part in the story"

As noted above, this site raises many interesting questions. The site offers other perspectives and perhaps some of new topics that I, too, could discuss. My site will also focus on "new media" (YouTube, Blogs) and regular news media (broadcast, print) and the influence on a person's perception of a story.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Citizen Journalists


Today journalists are expected to write, grab photos and shoot short video to create a complete package for a story. The art of SoJo (solo journalism) isn’t exactly new – but it has reached a new level with the rise of smaller, cheaper and better digital equipment.

According to Howard Weaver “in Fresno, they’ve had good success using little digital video cameras that sell for less than $200.”

But this raises a question. To what extent do newspapers need to rely on their reporters for video clips?

As CyberJournalist points out: “now, newspapers know that it is far cheaper to ask entry-level videographers to shoot digital video of a news event and post it on a Web site than to pay a TV reporter, video photographer and producer to create a three-minute news report for television.”

“Entry-level videographers” – why not just come out and say citizen journalists?

That’t not to say that there isn’t an advantage in having a seasoned journalist like Carr create his own videoblogs. But as we’ve already seen with photography, citizen journalists can produce compelling and immediate content that the professionals can’t always get.

Nor would citizen produced videos mean a reporter is out of a job – if anything it would add to the pro-am style that rounds coverage out – giving the journalist more time to do ground level reporting.

I completely agree with the growth of the so called "citizen journalist" contributing to some of the stories that professional journalists. Just today, a story came out that discussed three girls brutaly attacking another girl. The story came out of video that was posted on the Internet. and then an ABC journalist continued her own reporting, added a voiceover, and provided more depth to the story. CNN and Fox News are doing special segments on the story, and it will also be the main topic on Larry King Live tonight. This all started from a piece of Internet video.

I also agree with the writer's view that by using someone else's video, it gives the professional reporter more time to focus on gathering information for the story. They are not bogged down with having to film clips and putting them together. The clips are the story. Only one question remains-- should the person who posted the video be compensated? After all, he or she did have a major impact on final product.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Monday, January 15, 2007

About the Site (3)

With more people with camera phones and DV cameras, anyone can film something, post it on the Internet, and networks can decide how to use it. I'm interested in journalism, but I have increasing questions about ethics. What is a story and how should it be covered? Is the role of journalism changing?

This website and blog is going to focus on the nature of journalism in the time of the Internet. What should or should not be shown on television or in newspapers? Are the types of the topics that are covered in the news legitimate? How are computers and the Internet changing the way we receive news and the types of clips that we can access?

After searching through some websites I came across the term “citizen journalist.” This person will venture into the world and film something that he or she might consider newsworthy. This raw footage might then be posted on YouTube and any news outlet could access it, stick it on the air and use it as a story. Maybe the person who filmed it never intended for it to become a full-blown news story and posted it on YouTube because he or she thought it was a “cool” video. While I would definitely not say that the news media relies on YouTube and other sites for its content, there has been an increase of Internet video used as the basis for a story. Is the need for trained journalists decreasing?

There is also constant discussion about the ethics of journalism. What pictures and clips should appear in print and broadcast media. I recently viewed the Saddam Hussein execution in a journalism class that was taken by a cell phone and then spread on the Internet. It has been viewed over 15 million times on Google Video.

It shows Hussein mocked with the noose around his neck and then falling through the trap door. The video then zooms in on his dead body. Should this clip be shown on mainstream news stations with a viewer discretion advisory? Should we even be allowed to see this? Should that person have been allowed to film it? The fact that one clip can be spread around the world so quickly is scary. Wouldn’t a simple report saying that Hussein was dead suffice or is human curiosity so powerful that we have to see events with our own eyes to confirm that they actually happened?

I will attempt to examine other controversial media choices in this blog as they relate to current stories and how these choices could influence a person's opinion on the subject.

I also have a strong interest in sports and will also examine how the news media can affect the world of professional sports. How does the media frame the way the public perceives athletes? How does the media influence the career of a professional athlete?