Sunday, March 30, 2008

More for on More Signs of the Apocolypse

All we need now is a zombie movie, Night of the Dead Newspaper. The New Yorker adds its touch to the fin de si├Ęcle literature. A good read, nothing really new here.

Interesting Research on the Next Market

The Millennnials -- not a bunch of tattooed, pierced, boomerangs according the J. Walter Thompson. The venerable adverting agency released its findings of surveys of the 21-29 year olds. Read the whole thing in the Washington Times. One quick quote:

Among the findings: 94 percent said they respect monogamy and parenthood, while 84 percent revere marriage. Eighty-eight percent respect the U.S. Constitution, 84 percent respect the military and more than three-fourths believed in the proverbial "American dream." Fewer than one in four, however, said they have any admiration for Hollywood.

Sounds like a huge future for college sports, that ever-so-old-school hobby.

Thanks for Catching Up

The local student newspaper, The Traveler, has discovered that corporate recruiters may be looking at your Facebook.

More Signs of the Apocolypse

For the traditionalists, the news from Editor and Publisher isn't just bad; it is epic. The lifeblood of the industry is advertising revenue, and it dropped precipitously in 2007. On-line grew, but not even a 10th of what it takes to make up for the print loss. The worst loss in 50 years is how the story characterized the drop. I await the analysis that says this really doesn't point toward a change. Right. Like global warming becomes climate change when one year's winter temps wipe out the statistical rise over the past several.

At the same time, this very clairvoyant entry off the blog of one of the true gray ladies of the industry, TIME, about where the industry is headed. I particularly like the part about how the package we get our news is changing. It reminds me of a quote I heard this week on NPR talking about someone needing to figure out how to "monetize eyeballs" as they harvest news from lots of free sources (that reference at the bottom of the TIME piece on the individual atoms of news). That's spot on -- and it is where those dollars leaving the E&P story are waiting for someone to tell them where to go.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Former IU Gets Digital Lesson

Somebody decided the world needed to see an Indiana 's private photo shoot. A night of fun? An amateur tryout for ? Who knows. Her name's been tagged to several threads promoting the photos. From those indications, she was a senior in 2007, so no news stories about her being dumped from the team. One would think you would not have those kind of photos readily available anywhere on-line to be harvested by breaking security, but I've been surprised before. This time, the lesson likely is that an ex or the photog got ed and decided to out the images. Then again, maybe she did it to get publicity for a new career. Either way, before digital, it was a lot easier to get the negatives back from a night of indiscretion and believe that at least it would have taken more time and effort to copy them than point and click today.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Cuban, blogger update

Once again, Deadspin brings out the latest on the Mark Cuban vs. bloggers in the Mavericks locker room. The cliff note: NBA has ordered bloggers back in and Cuban counters by inviting EVERY blogger in the world to apply.

You know, I haven't been in the Mavs locker room since 1984 at Reunion Arena . . . . .

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Once Again, SNWs Not Always Secure

Once posted, always vulnerable as Facebook is forced to admit that there were significant holes in its privacy functions. A hacker gave the keys to the kingdom to the Associated Press, and they were able to quickly replicate the entry into several private "friends only" photo albums, including some of Paris Hilton.

From the AP story:
The latest lapse serves as another reminder of the perils of sharing sensitive photos and personal information online, even when Web sites pledge to shield the information from prying eyes.

Here's where I do the smug dance: I told you so.

Memories Should Always Match the Video Tape

That's the payoff line of a CBS report that is making the rounds on the internet about Hillary Clinton "misremembering" her visit to Bosnia as First Lady. There are two lessons here. The obvious one is when you are a public person, stick with the truth and don't embellish it. Someone, somewhere will have evidence to the contrary, and in this digital media age, probably video or audio actualities.

The second is more subtle. So how many people really saw this live on the CBS Evening News? No where near as many as have seen it now -- your correspondent included -- because the reference was picked up by new media aggregators like Drudge and blog sites like Politico. Thanks to YouTube, the clip itself lives forever -- far more damaging than a thousand editorials.

Monday, March 24, 2008

When You Get to the End, You'll Get it

Gene Weingarten of the Washington Post has a very funny, but cuttingly insightful piece on what it would be like to attempt to soak in the complete news cycle -- the whole 24. Or as he titles it, Cruel and Unusual Punishment. Many gems about the blogosphere within this story, which came to me via Arts and Letters RSS feed. And now gets regurgitated here. That cycle of birth and recycling is a part of the opening, and you'll see what I mean in the title once you think about how he follows some idea genesis.

Weingarten hits a lot of the right buttons about the pundistry, but here's where I wonder if he gets his own joke -- he's calling out himself. Or, cleverly, is the joke on us. Nevertheless, a good read on the world outside sports. It won't be too hard for a mental search and replace the names of the politicos with the names of coaches to see how it applies to us in the college sports industry.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

The Future Draws Closer; and the Future is Free

A very interesting perspective on CBS' coverage of the men's Final Four from the Canadian media.

The move to a no-charge, ad-supported model pushed the online audience to more than a million, almost immediately. This year, the network has unshackled things further by eliminating blackouts that were in place to protect local CBS stations. The company doesn't expect TV ad sales will be cannibalized. (BOLD MY EMPHASIS)

Contrast this with the shackles other networks have attempted to put on conferences, and in turn, conferences on schools. It is absurd to restrict universities from streaming live sports against network windows. All it does is reduce the potential to expand interest in the sport. It seems if interest grows, the value of the TV contract increases.

The narrow-minded see live content as a zero sum game. There are lots of very high-paid smart people at CBS that figured out they were not taking away from their affiliates, but instead opening up the games to new audiences.

And if you think it's stopping with the online video streaming:

CBS is also pushing the games further onto the Internet this year, allowing social networking sites such as Facebook and MySpace to link to the games directly. The network expects to shatter last year's record of 1.4 million unique users, which will also drive up ad rates for next year.

Meanwhile, Texas has taken all the subscription cost off its streaming video, turning to an advertising model to pay the freight.

The future is free.

Isn't There Health Care, Something Important Going On?

This is embarassing politics. Sen. Robert Singer of Ocean, N.J., introduced a resolution in the New Jersey legislature to call on the NCAA to investigate the final second clock operation at the Tennessee-Rutgers game.

The REPUBLICAN state senator obviously has not heard about the concept of limited government.

Meanwhile, I'd like to have a few other things investigated. Perhaps the Arkansas state senate could vote a resolution to review the film of the 1969 Great Shootout? Maybe the city of Fayetteville could vote that the laws of gravity should be suspended.

Look, Rutgers and head coach Vivian Stringer has moved on. Sen. Singer might do the same.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Tell Me Again Why You Can Ignore the New Media

Fourth quarter loss for Tribune Corp -- almost $70 million.

In story, now saying they may start selling off some of the core group newspapers.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Costas Responds

Bob Costas elaborates on his comments published in the Miami Herald with a direct call to Deadspin. On so many levels, interesting read -- above all, Bob Costas called Deadspin.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Revenge of the Blog-i

Deadspin squares off on Bob Costas' screed on bloggers. One must read it to appreciate.

I will lift only one passage:

But -- with all due respect, sir, from a fellow Cardinals fan and a longtime admirer -- why are you the only one who gets to talk?

Costas was speaking in Miami when he launched the broadside against those with keyboards and opinions. The starting point of this whole controversy is the Miami Herald coverage of the event. Part of this began with Mark Cuban's move to toss bloggers from access to his Dallas Mavericks, which of course is being called out considering his own blog.

This is the next frontier. Two years ago, it was the rise of the SNWs. Now it's the bloggers, and they're more than ready to bring their rebel alliance against the traditional media empire. OK, that's a two minute penalty for excessive geeky-ness.

Still, as Dan Rather learned the very hard way, where once one did not get into pissing battles with people who bought ink by the barrel, Costas -- and others -- might want to avoid calling out the masses. Next thing you know, somebody's posting your outtakes on YouTube.

Seriously, hit the links.

Standing Corrected

While watching the event, I had my doubts about a tornado touchdown in downtown Atlanta. High wind damage; absolutely. Here was the spotter coming out in me; don't use the "T" word unless you see the funnel on the ground. That's for the NWS to confirm after the fact. Well, today they did and I'd be terribly wrong to not say I was mistaken. More here.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Never Know When Your Profile Will Go Bigtime

Preached and preached about when you post on your profile, you never know how it may be used. Today, we know far more than we ever needed to know about Elliot Spitzer's friend -- all courtesy of the traditional media grazing over one Ashley Youmans' MySpace pages.

From the continuing and insatiable coverage of the New York media:

Sultry pictures of Dupre, referred to as "Kristen" in federal affidavits, were splashed across the front page of every paper in the city and broadcast around the globe, thanks to the girl's MySpace page, which remained accessible to the public far longer than anyone would have imagined.

In the space of 36 hours we went from Client #9's unknown lover to complete photo galleries, audio clips of Youman's singing (complete with snide commentary about the "tired" cultural references in her lyrics by, of all people, the New York Times), and her entire family tree.

Welcome to the blogosphere, Ashley.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

More Changes on the Video Front

The YouTube delivery direct to TiVo later this year comes on the heels of Texas announcing free streaming off its new TexasSports.TV. Add in the Olympics deal to use the new SilverLight to present content on NBC's site, and there is a wave of content creation change just around the corner.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

They Said it Couldn't Be Done

Two years ago when SNW was just breaking into the consciousness of athletic departments, the civil liberties crowd wailed that ADs could not tell their athletes to not be on websites like Facebook. It violated their rights. My counter argument was that we already restrict the freedom of speech and association of college athletes at every level, from league bans on comments regarding officiating to NCAA restrictions on association with agents and gambling interests.

Big story this past week in the Birmingham News about the bans and curfews now becoming common practice across the SEC. Just one of the many examples in the story:

For the Tennessee men's basketball team, "there are places we don't want them to go, there are times we don't want them to go out, and those are rules that are confined within the team," coach Bruce Pearl said. "That's why they're called team rules."

And where is the outrage? At least in this story, there isn't any.

Kerry Kenny, vice-chair of the Division I Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, said he personally has no problem with coaches placing restrictions on free time, even though it may seem politically incorrect.
"A lot of times coaches are put into positions to do something to get messages across to their team," Kenny said. "Before it even reaches that point, student-athletes need to hold themselves accountable. A lot of times student-athletes think they're invincible to some of the situations that have arisen over the years."

How about that -- a voice of reason speaks. It only reinforces the point -- whether they are places student-athletes should not congregate in person or on-line, athletic departments by virtue of the privilege of participation and representation of the institution has the power to enforce restrictions.

The Bicentennial

Happy 200th post to the blog

Sunday, March 09, 2008

So What's It Like

People always think man, you've got the best seat in the house. Granted, when you're calling the game on radio -- yes. Even working the stat crew, you get to see the game up close. But, as is the case with the SEC women's hoops, I spend a lot of time right next to the court looking two computers -- one sending the data stream out and one on-line watching the download to monitor if its still running. Nevertheless, there's no better week of work.

Today I saw a first. I've been to plenty of tournaments where you have an alternate official available, but this was the first time I've ever seen a change during the game. That's 23 years of women's hoops.

Back to work.

Samantha Power Redeux

The Chronicle of Higher Ed's Daily Blog has an interesting take on the "Monster" quote.

According to the The Scotsman, Ms. Power interrupted an interview to take a telephone call from another Obama adviser. When she returned, she reportedly volunteered that the call had been about the Obama campaign’s missteps in Ohio over the North American Free Trade Agreement.

“In Ohio, they are obsessed [with Nafta], and Hillary is going to town on it because she knows Ohio’s the only place they can win,” Ms. Power had told the reporter before the results of the state’s Democratic primary were known. “She is a monster too — that is off the record — she is stooping to anything.”

Later on, the Chron offers classic media training 101:

“Off the record,” as every eager young journalism student knows, is a contract of sorts: The interviewer must agree to the arrangement before the interviewee proceeds. Under no circumstances can someone make a comment and then declare it off the record.

Meanwhile, in other media news, it seems according to a recent Harris poll that radio is the most trusted news form. Of course, this tidbit comes from a story on NPR's news coverage -- hmm, wonder it that colored the placement. Nevertheless, I can anectotally support that survey conclusion. An internet rumor often first becomes a media truth when it appears on the local talk sports show, and generally goes there before TV or print. Here's the quip:

A Harris Poll of 2,300 adults conducted Jan. 15-22 and released Thursday found that radio trumped television, Internet-based news sites and journalists in general — with 44 percent of the respondents saying they trusted radio. Online sources came next with 41 percent, followed by TV with 36 percent and the overall "press" with 30 percent.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Travel: Best Libraries

Last weekend, I saw a travel section story about the best libraries to visit on the road. Several in the story were quality, but the two glaring omissions were Seattle and Nashville. And of the two, there is little comparison to Nashville's downtown public library. Just to reconfirm, I strolled over again this morning. A great building, a nice collection, a very solid cafe.

Considering the armageddon snow storm had shuttered most of downtown (I kid -- two inches, tops and mostly melted by the time I walked over), the library was quiet and a great place to read. I've found some great pieces of research for my professional work there on previous trips.

One aside, it bothers me how our public libraries have changed. I grew up in the library as a child, wandering the stacks. My mother-in-law was a librarian, and she also lamented the shift from public place to loitering place. I put a lot of that on the new wave of book stores that are quasi-libraries with reading areas. Combine that with high-speed internet and a growing scanning of research works and fewer people go to the public library.

Let me rephrase that -- those with means don't go to the public library as much, and only when something can't be acquired on-line or browsed at Barnes and Noble. Call it the privatization and tonying of the library.

That's a shame. We lose yet another place of public interaction when we stay behind our screens and don't interact. Now that's the pot calling the kettle black as I type this blog from the confines of the Sommet Center media room.

Nevertheless, I had a wonderful time joining the locals at the library. You should too.

When SNW Meets the NCAA

Elena DelleDonne and her family is finding out the hard way the the new media is not welcome in the corporate sports world. At the same time, exactly what was she thinking by cutting an endorsement for anyone.

Everyone wears some blame here, but the whole business begins with, well, business. And if you have to start calculating whether or not something will be kosher -- that's your first warning that it just might not be OK. The money quote here, from the USA TODAY account, by the website owner thinking it was permissible -- "They are still student-athletes. There are no rules on that."

What? Maybe you mean high school athletes, cause you just used the association's definition.

Here's my future advice: If you need to parse, you better pass.

After Thursday's USA TODAY on-line story (which is much shorter than the printed version), the local Delaware media has followed with a more interesting recount of the events. I highly recommend reading both -- there are some significant variances between the accounts.

The nugget from the local paper:

Ernie DelleDonne pointed out that Elena often is approached by videographers, representing various media organizations, after showcase games, which are designed to attract college recruiters and scouts. He said he was standing with Elena when they were asked by one videographer what they thought of mybasketballprofile.com.

Elena responded that she liked the site, Ernie DelleDonne said.

"The video had Elena and I mentioning the entity," Ernie DelleDonne said, "but it was not an endorsement."

The video has disappeared from the original site, but one has to think it will YouTube soon.

Remember the old SNW advice. Once posted, easily distributed -- especially when it is within a tightly knit community.

CCM Weighs In

More on the Samantha Powers "monster" story from the Center for Citizen Media blog.

For those of you scoring at home, did I mention this is one of those required reading RSS?

Friday, March 07, 2008

Media Training Reminder

As we tell our coaches, administrators and student-athletes, there is no such thing as off the record. Just ask former Barak Obama staffer Samantha Power. The money quote:

Power's interview Monday was published Friday in a Scottish newspaper, even though she tried to keep it from appearing in print.

"She is a monster, too—that is off the record—she is stooping to anything," The Scotsman quoted her as saying.

If that wasn't bad enough:

"You just look at her and think: ergh. But if you are poor and she is telling you some story about how Obama is going to take your job away, maybe it will be more effective. The amount of deceit she has put forward is really unattractive," she said.

Oh, and just because you said it to a media outlet that's out of town (or out of the country), there are those pesky internets. More here and here.

Bookmark This Blog

Sometimes if forget -- but today in the course of reading several pertinent entries it reminded me to post a link and promo for the Center for Citizen Media. This particular link is about how journalists are their own worst enemies on censorship, but the blog as a whole is a daily must read for those interested in the new media wave.

On-Line Media Restrictions

Major League Baseball joins the NCAA this week by putting serious restrictions on the re-use of material gathered by the new media. In some ways, they are reasonable and understandable. It blends the growing restrictions on TV stations as the leagues look to protect their own channels. Still, no one tells the New York Times they can't run pictures every day in print -- only on-line. The mode of transmission should not matter.

For more on the Online Media Association response to MLB.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Some Things Don't Change

The opening day of the SEC tournament is always filled with excitement and quality basketball. Day One -- except for a 10 minute early hicccup -- went just fine from our end. Much better than previous years, and kudos to the Sommet Center staff for solid connectivity.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Welcome to the SECs

Set-up night for the 2008 SEC Women's Basketball tournament. Nice and quiet in the arena as we load in the monitors and computers for this year's event. Once again, the Lady'Back stat crew is providing services.

Lots of folks ask what that means and why Arkansas. First, all the official stats that flow from the floor come from our stat crew. This year, the Sommet Center (and say it so-MAY, otherwise is sounds ominously like the coach of the big Orange machine -- something one does not do in Nashville) has a new Daktronics center-hung scoreboard. That means we'll touch everything -- arena scoreboard stats, press row stat monitors, truck feed for Fox Sports and the internet streams. Most of the recent venues have not had the scoreboard interface. So, credit or blame if the steams aren't up.

The second one -- well, nobody else can do what we do on the women's side. The good part about separate in the past was having the ability to bring in the right people and control the software and equipment. Over time, we have harvested through surplus a complete set of flat screens, VGA distribution units and low-loss cable to have one set that stays at Walton and one set that can travel. I can only hope that we don't get harvested by the new combined department.

While having the equipment is important -- some schools don't have press row monitors, arenas that aren't set for pro basketball either -- the big difference is our people. No students or interns -- they are computer IT professionals ranging from Fortune 500 to higher ed. They live for this week, and it costs them more in missed wages and vacation days than any league could afford to pay (but don't think we don't appreciate it).

I've heard in the past from other schools -- why can't we do the tournament? Look, there are lots of keyers and callers that are great, but this gig isn't about sitting down behind the keyboard that you use in your home arena. It's the knowledge of how to rig the systems in other venues AND trouble-shoot it when problems happen (they always happen). It's the ability to pace for four straight games on consecutive days. And, above all, its about having a team that is as driven and success-oriented as the teams on the court. They respect the game. They know the game. By virtue of our home schedule and the annual trip to the SEC, they work and stat more college women's basketball than almost any other university-based crew.

They are the best in the business, and I'm privileged to work with them. Tomorrow marks the 13th time in the past 16 years Arkansas has crewed the stats. I hope that continues in the future.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

And Somehow You Don't Think It Applies to Sports

A recent Zogby poll found roughly half of the Americans surveyed went to the internet for their news; 70% thought the media was out of touch. Story from Reuters.

During the past year, it would be incredibly hard to not say that bears out at Arkansas with sports. I still hear colleagues both near and far say that the blogs, the internet chat, the new media are not impactful.

People -- wake up. Do you somehow think that a go get the info from the traditional media gene keeps fans from only using the internet for political news?

Sir, Your Spoon

We've never had a lot of luck with food at Auburn. It's a small town, and you need to know the lay of the land. We bet the wrong horse tonight -- very average. I'm loath to dog out a local eatery, so we'll leave it at that. Nevertheless, it prompted a stop by the convenience store for a little ice cream to settle the entree. On check-in, I asked the restaurant for a spoon. That proved a production, with the single spoon carried across the seating area to me as if the person were the cross-bearing acolyte at the head of a church procession. Here sir, is your spoon.

That probably should have been a sign. The ice cream at least brought back memories of the cheaper grade ice cream of my youth, and my father's disdane for it. "It's nothing but whipped air," he would grouse. "They're pumping air in rather than cream." He'd know, farm boy and early life restaurateur.

Travel Karma

When you go on the road, you never know what you'll get for a rental. Particularly with one company that tends to work well with the FBOs where charter planes arrive. Never had a bad car, but I have certainly had cars that gave me the chance to know I'd never buy them.

This very well may be the last road trip -- period. Certainly with the rumors of travel rule changes, the last one where we have anything that resembles the freedom to be flexible. So, what a great piece of karma to receive the key to a Mercedes-Benz -- at the same low cost of the compact that we booked.