Sunday, February 28, 2010

History Begins with TR

I tell my students at NWACC each year this story from my master's degree days at Northeast Louisiana. Two polar opposites fenced with each other over the nature of History. Dr. England (ironically, the staff UK expert) was a medievalist, and would scoff at Dr. Haynes, the head of the department and the 20th century America lead.

There's not enough time and perspective to consider anything in history in the 20th century. Dr. England's claim was "anything after Theodore Roosevelt was just journalism." Haynes would retort that American history began with TR and anything before him "was simply archeology." It was a collegial battle, but not too serious.

Apparently, the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction may agree with Haynes in an extreme degree. It's been all over the internet as the new proposal to change American history instruction in NC high schools to put the emphasis on what we'd call US II -- everything from 1877 to the present.

The educationists say not to worry, all the history before 1877 for high school juniors would be taken care of in the earlier grades.

Um. Let me see if I get that. The fine points of the Constitutional period. The rise of Jacksonian Democracy. The Dred Scott ruling, the 1850s and the Civil War. Not really sure that's appropriate material to be soaked in by 7th graders, and retained in the way necessary to give the type of perspective needed for juniors to reflect.

To my ear, it seems like some serious capital-H History is underway. The difference between history and History is the interpreter's perspective; often inflicted upon the details of the past to change a history into something much more palatable to the present.

Seems the Tar Heels got turned around for now. For now. The Department of Instruction says the change "will not be a part of that second draft" of the plan.

Here's to hoping it won't be in the final plan, either.

A nice editorial that covers the points from the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, but it is behind the pay wall.

What Does New Media Look Like?

Quick snapshot between races today to provide a flavor of the real-time reporting:

Baseball is underway with Troy at Baum Stadium. There is an audio stream for RazorVision members via RSP's headquarters in Auburn, a video stream for RazorVision (with audio track from RSP) that is going out via the website for members. We have the usual live stats streaming from Baum also, plus one of our New Media students in the press box providing a pair of Twitter feeds.

From @ArkRazorbacks, we only give the inning scoring updates. For home events, those who want to get the play-by-play, that comes out through @RazorbackRoad.

I'm next door at the Randal Tyson Track Center today, doing the same type of feeds. Every race result goes out on @RazorbackRoad, but with the hash tag #SECIndoor, to allow folks to pick up the results. When a Razorback wins or has an impact performance, that doubles over to @ArkRazorbacks.

Our New Media Video Production team is here in Tyson to provide a free live feed of the event. By the way, when you are deciding the "value" of doing Olympic sports, keep this stat in mind. For the past five years, we have our highest traffic days for SEC and NCAA track meets.

In addition, we've got video coming in from our AMR staffers at softball (already transcoded and posted in Flash) and basketball. There's a live audio stream from women's basketball plus those stats streaming over from Georgia.

And that's before we pack up the show and head east to Duluth for the SEC this week.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

The Shame of CoSIDA Continues

The Chronicle of Higher Education issues its annual median salaries of college administrators, and once again, sports information directors are on average the lowest paid athletics administrators -- better than $10,000 less than the next administrator group.

In the survey, only six other administrative positions in academia paid less; only two of them weren't assistant or associate positions to a head administrator.

$46,965 is the all-division median; $59,258 for doctoral, $45,423 for master's degree institutions and $41,672 for BA-granting schools.

The six below: director of Greek life, assistant/associate women's center director, asst. director of student activities, asst. director campus intermurals, housing officer/residence life and assistant registrar.

I guess we can be happy that last year there were only four positions as the SIDs have passed the assistant intermural directors and the women's center directors.

Says more about those jobs than the jump up from $46,020. You can read my longer rant on same survey from 2009 by jumping here.

Greenberg Redeux

A 2009 column gets updated last week by Paul Greenberg, and it bears review. The original column, The Vanishing Newspaper, can be read at this syndicater outside the ADG pay wall.

The gist of the column is newspapers die regularly, the technologies have a life cycle ("hot lead gave way to cold type, and typewriters to word processors") and the industry has faced these events before (radio would kill papers; then TV would kill papers; now the internet will kill papers

I've noted Greenberg's column before, but what struck me this read in Feb. 2010 versus last year was this:

The technology of daily journalism may change, but not the essence of the project. . . . Whenever a daily newspaper is shuttered, free weeklies, community bulletins, and counter-cultural broadsides begin filling in the gap. Like grass after a forest fire.

Friday, February 26, 2010

On-Line Brand Management

The WOMMA Word provides today's blog fodder with a link to an article at the Wall Street Journal about brand image by Mahesh Murthy.

The takeaway quote on how to take action with your social media problems:

Then intervene in conversations and respond to complaints, visibly, with your own Twitter account or some other way of interacting. It's important that on-lookers see your response to a complaint in the open so they know that you can take care of theirs too, if they ever have one. This is where your real brand is built.


Thursday, February 25, 2010

CoSIDA Orlando Vets Remember

This tidbit from UA colleague Jeri Thorpe. Everyone who was at the 1999 CoSIDA convention remembers the incident where a man climbed into the orca pool at SeaWorld and became a rag toy for one of the killer whales. Well, same whale has killed again.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

The Coldest Hotel in the World

While my new job doesn't present as much travel, working out the kinks of a new scanner has brought back some old Kodachrome. To many new followers of this blog, the whole "Road Scholar" thing is lost without the hints for side trips and road food.

Here's a golden oldie -- from the Lady Indians/Indians great Utah tournament DH. Women's team at Provo the same weekend the men were in Salt Lake. This picture is the scene of the coldest hotel in history. Part of the deal with BYU was a set of hotel rooms; typical of the day. Unfortunately, a large part of the Provo Inn had been winterized. Surprise, you've got more guests than rooms AND a foot of fresh snow overnight.

Literally no heat in the rooms, so we slept in our clothes and shivered.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Remembering Salad Days

Ah yes, the SPJ convention of 1983 in our nation's capital. Sam Donaldson was the brash enemy of the Republican White House, and ABCNEWS had launched its new brand -- World News Tonight -- a little earlier. (Um, I'm the one WITH hair in college, thank you)

My classmates arrived in DC as specialists -- print, radio-TV or advertising. Today's news from ABC is quite different -- the entire news division offered buyouts. Terms tossed around in the story like "digital journalists."

Preditors. Multi-taskers. Multi-medias. Convergence. Pick your term, but what appears a reality today for traditional legacy news is tomorrow's fate for SIDs.

Ask yourself -- can you rough cut video? Script out a podcast or sound bite? Keep pace to write a real-time blog? Someday, excellence in individual tasks may return, but for the short term future, the mechanic will reign, the general practitioner, the renaissance SID: good all, great at none.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

You Know You Know Someone Like This

Dave Kindred's column about writing a column on deadline from the National Sports Journalism Center is a riot. It also has several priceless bon mots for the future columnist like:

Deadlines exist for good reason, sometimes ignored by artistes who believe they are a construct of wicked editors out to sabotage their art for the cackling good fun of it. Well, on deadline, I don’t want artists, I want mechanics.

Amen. Preach on brother.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

MLB, Steroids and Bad News

A must listen for those interested in aggressive use of networked and digital media from the Feb. 5 edition of NPR's On The Media. The story covers Mark McGuire's admission of the usage of steroids during the great home run season. As the NPR reporter Bob Garfield puts it, that McGuire made his mea culpa wasn't a surprise -- it was where he did it and with whom.

The where was on MLB's own new network and with the MLB's star reporter, Bob Costas. "A watershed moment," according to Garfield.

Garfield interviews Indiana University's Tim Franklin, one of the principals of the National Sports Journalism Center. Franklin:

"They broke a major national story on their network, and I think you are going to be seeing more of that. It is a trend that is about to take off."

Why? Economic reasons, says Franklin, and the one we've being saying here for some time (Last week | Twice | Last December | Last Summer | 2008):

"The ability to have a little bit more control, perhaps, over the message."

It's not a bad thing, he continues, pointing out that fans will have more places to find the news, including from the teams and leagues themselves.

"Just like in politics, you read many different newspapers or different news outlets -- you may need to do the same in sports and then do the compare and contrast."
Franklin continues that leagues and teams want credibility for their websites: "That means some of the hard stories."

If you want to check out the entire episode of On The Media, jump to their website (there's also an interesting story about the impact of Madden on "real football").

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Next Step for Real Time

Tonight, one of our remote booster club meetings was live blogged by one of our predominately networked media outlets. No big surprise to me, and in many ways a follow on from events of 2005 and 2006 where citizens recorded AD comments and forwarded them the legacy media stations.

The thing about tonight's Tweets -- and a notepad/blog posted tonight as well -- is the further understanding for your coaches and administrators that you are "on" at every speaking engagement. There is no such thing as closed doors or private get-togethers. Haven't been for years.

Actually, the question now becomes, do we join in and make sure that notes are provided from every speaking event we attend? That happens to some extent now with Tweets from the football and men's basketball coach radio shows.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Before You Hate on Me

Let's be real -- I just got a Tweet from informing me that video from Tom Collen's postgame at Auburn where the Razorback women's team won its first road game in SEC play.

And who else was there besides to bring that interview to fans, friends, even the legacy media itself?

That would be us #brandjournalists.

MLB hired writers, MLS columnists, the great UConn experiment, our own off-and-on commitment to what Wisconsin tagged as "Fan First" -- who else is in these wide-ranging places bringing back the coverage? The embeds from the organizations they are covering.

Who was the only media at both the NCAA men's golf championship and the NCAA baseball regional? RazorVision.

As this goes forward, the key is triangulation among media sources is the rule of the day. News consumers will take in multiple sources, and draw their own conclusions. We've got the right -- no -- the duty to stand in the room and make our point. When we don't, we abdicate the ability to tell our side of the story.

I'm not bold enough to go that step of some in our business to say that we'll be the only voice. A) Not realistic. B) That's not good for anyone -- and borderline un-American. (Or is that Un-American . . . nope, according to the AP [and even a real dictionary like Merriam-Webster] "American" takes a lower-case letter on all prefixes for common usage.)

But as long as no one else is showing up, we'll do our best. Whether or not the public believes these branded journalist is entirely dependent upon their reputations -- and it doesn't take much to fracture that trust.

Hey look, Tom is really happy with the win.

Hey, We Said That

Better late than never to a really nice series of stories on the future of sports journalism in relation to the sports leagues from the Nieman Journalism Lab.

Hmmm. Some of that sounds like this, no? And a little of this. And a little of that.

Remember, you read the concept -- branded journalism -- here back in 2008. Hash tag that baby, #brandjournalism.

Cause when the news is free, who can pay to produce the news?

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

The Past Speaks

Stumbled upon this Edward R. Morrow quote:

The newest computer can merely compound, at speed, the oldest problem in the relations between human beings, and in the end the communicator will be confronted with the old problem, of what to say and how to say it.

The truth has a funny way of not only repeating itself (notice, I did not say history), but resurfacing at the most auspicious of times. Year after year, the tools change, the dilemma remains. We can generate more content than ever, parse it in ways and at speeds that are genuinely unprecedented, but if it doesn't have a core meaning -- well, there's a name for that.

White noise.

Saturday, February 06, 2010

Doctor Facebook

The Chronicle brings us a reminder that student-athletes aren't the only folks with high-profile Facebook issues. "There may be skeletons in your doc's on-line profile" gives us a less-than-encouraging glimpse into the fun and games of medical school students. Not sure if the on-line edition has the same photos as this week's print edition. In that one, there is a spoof photo from the turn of the 20th century as a medical student poses with a skeleton. Again, all sorts of photos were out there before Facebook, we just didn't all get the chance to see them.

In Case You're Slow Like Me

I noticed the other day a complaining post through the CoSIDA feed, cajoling StatCrew to join us here in the 21st Century.

Well, you can make it work in Windows 7 after all, but make sure you're starting with Ultimate -- that's the level you'll need for the real XP emulator and the Windows Virtual Machine.

Save yourself having to completely rebuild your laptop just to use the Stat Viewer -- start with Ultimate. Learn from my mistake there.

Now, that said, let me join in to the chorus -- HEY, CBS, now that you own StatCrew, please come up with a new XML viewer that's open source so we can all port it over to mobile devices.

The future is mobile -- let us take our numbers there.

Friday, February 05, 2010

Going Green

We're about a month away from completing a project that will change the way we do our business at Arkansas. Pics a little later, but if it all works as intended, for a reasonably small cost we can have a tremendous impact on the quality of our still and motion work next year for the website.

Yeah, I know that's cryptic.

Nice Refresher Post

While it seems to be more about promoting the commercial service that will automate the process of looking into your department's athletes, this story recounts some of the key reasons why you must have policies and monitoring in place for your student-athletes.

College Football Fanhouse

There's nothing really new here you haven't read in the space over time, but it's a great refresher for newcomers.

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Thank You 007 NKG

Thank You, mister white Honda Accord driver, for your instruction on how to drive in the snow last week.

Seriously, none of us would have been able make it down Weddington Drive without your sterling example.

Who would have possibly understood that you CAN drive the full speed limit when the roads are covered with an inch of ice?

No, you; you with your brave example showed us all the way.

And, all of us that were que'd up to cross the 540 bridge; what foolish timid drivers we were. Silly us, focusing on an orderly procession over the icy expanse.

But above all, it was your cracked window and your display of your proud, outstretched finger.

Yes, you are number one. Except, of course, you were using your middle finger to let all of us dullards know you were number one.

So, I recorded your plates -- I hope I got those letters right -- but your double-oh status was so clear.

Looking forward to seeing you again next week when it snows again, Mr. Bond.

The Boys from Brazil

Is anyone else out there getting a significant number of requests for "fan packs" or "schedules/pennants" from Brazil? They aren't the same name or address, but over the past month, we've seen a huge interest from there.