Newsy.com has an interesting take on national stories with an app that provides multiple clip mashups. In our field, interesting that the KU ticket scandal reached the level of national news. There isn't a lot of depth in the narrated pieces - only two or three per subject area per day - but they were interesting. Seems to look for the controversy items that have entertaining or slightly sensational personalit-driven angles - Palin accusing Obama of being cozy with BP or Carville ripping Obama for slow personal action. The app is free and with a dearth of decent iPad news apps that don't have ridiculously high subscription models, might get some traction.
Monday, May 31, 2010
From the CoSIDA website, a somewhat obvious story out of PRSA West -- Web 2.0 is very important to your message and legacy media is struggling.
What I find most interesting is the graphic that went with it. A nice representation of the duality of the task in front of us today. Two audiences, one message.
In spite of the demands of the NCAA baseball tournament, I'm pausing as much as possible on this Memorial Day weekend to remember our veterans. I think of my dad, a reluctant participant in the Second World War. I say reluctant, not that he tried to avoid it, but that he was not necessarily "proud" of it. No heroic stories; in fact, pretty gritty recollections that the recent HBO series, The Pacific, brought home.
For my wife's Uncle Buddy, a man who gave very much in service during Vietnam, and for Sam, my mom's "second husband" who lived with her after my father died and then cared so tenderly for her during her cancer. Sam was a veteran of three wars, ending in Vietnam, working rescue helos in the marines.
The Perilous Fight -- the old PBS series built out of existing color film from the 1940s -- is here from NetFlix. Couldn't have come at a better time, and I highly recommend putting it on your que or buying it (there's 20% off this weekend at PBS.org).
And right here, the 188th is back home in Fort Smith -- the Fighting Razorbacks with their A-10 Warthogs. Welcome back, Loel, our regular Kandahar correspondent on the baseball blogs this spring.
To all, a happy Memorial Day and a grateful thank you for all your service.
Saturday, May 29, 2010
Today's local paper brings us two examples of public relations strategies in the face of embarrassing crisis. At the University of Connecticut, the men's basketball program takes the hit of multiple primary rules infractions. The Husky athletic department issued a press release, the documents -- quite lightly redacted, BTW -- from the NCAA, and issued video and written statements of the individuals involved. (I might also add, front page of website, not buried, still in the news rotation today.) We can see from the documents pretty clearly what was accused, who did it, and the only mystery is who was the recipient. It is also out there that the recruit was expelled from UConn -- this we get from the media reports. But UConn is out front, and making their best effort to create a "one day" story. No follow-up FOI requests. No running statements -- the press release made clear there would be no further statements beyond those given. The Huskies hustled to get the event behind them. Over. Done. Do you best to move on.
Contrast that with the open sore that is the Joe Sestak job offer from the White House. Earlier in the week, the White House press secretary found himself repeating over, and over the same statement -- that he stuck to his statement from March -- and that was not satisfying the media. Today, we get a report from the White House counsel's office that indeed, an offer was made to the Pennsylvania Democratic challenger to Arlen Spector's senate seat.
Not exactly Secretary of the Navy. But that's how far this tale had spun out of control. The White House had stonewalled, had denied, had evaded. And if the counsel's finding is true, this appears to be much ado about nothing.
Except it has overwhelmed a race, and could have gone away weeks ago, if the White House had simply said -- we offered the U.S. representative a plum advisory spot if he'd get out of the way of the former Republican senator that the President had promised to help get re-elected.
And, we'd probably not have found out that former President Bill Clinton was the broker of the deal.
To some extend, Sestak is responsible for the controversy when he said he had been approached to get out of the primary battle. But, he never said what he was offered, and the Obama administration -- if not directly denying -- obfuscated the circumstances.
This floats up on our shores because Clinton was in Little Rock for a groundbreaking at his library. Guess what -- he wasn't made available to reporters to talk about the Sestak offer. And in classic three-way drug deal gone bad pistol pointing, no one knows who requested that the Clinton would not take questions from his former hometown paper. -- not Senator Blanche Lincoln's PR team (who Clinton spoke for and endorsed in our Dem runoff), not the Secret Service detail, not Clinton's spokespersons.
So, the Sestak Stall continues. Here perhaps the politicians could take note of the sports world.
Get it over in one day -- and move on.
Friday, May 28, 2010
Bears watching, because if we have invested our social strategies into a platform that users may begin to no longer trust, that would reflect back on brands operating there.
Thursday, May 27, 2010
Highly recommend this versatile, small personal point of view camera. It takes a nice fish-eye shot, but also does video -- HD in a waterproof, shockproof casing with a ton of image stabilization. Made for use in rally racing, F1 and extreme outdoor sports (you know it's tough when you can buy it with a surfboard mount kit).
We expect to do a lot of in-house POV with athletes this year for our video productions.
This shot is from the press box at the SEC Tournament this afternoon. Notice the helicopter circling to take pics for SEC.
Tuesday, May 25, 2010
Anyone who follows me on the message boards know I've used the tag line for some time of "Opinions are Fun, Especially Anonymous Ones." I will admit, that's my own back-hand to the idea of hiding behind a screen name. In this way, call me old school, but I tend toward the general rule of thumb used in the newspaper letters to the editor for opinions -- your name, your address and your home town. A real person had to make a real opinion.
Not so on the internet, and we've had to grow accustomed to the world of screen names. Look, I had a handle back in the 1970s when I used my CB, too.
One of my standing preaching points about public persons participating in the social media is you better go in as yourself and be transparent. Because sooner or later, you can be connected to your posts. There is no such thing as anonymous -- unless maybe you're Chloe O'Brian or Penelope Garcia.
Playing catchup on the road with podcasts, so apologies for referencing back a April 2 edition of On the Media in which the case of the Cleveland Plain Dealer newspaper outing one of its anonymous commentators as a local judge. Bob Garfield, the host, gives the Inspector Renault reaction that he was shocked to learn the editorial staff could have access to the email addresses used to register for comments. The P-D spokesperson replied yes, but we don't have that any more.
The editorial staff might not, but the I.T. department certainly does.
Now the story got more interesting as the newspaper backtracked the handle to discover that the poster had made public comments regarding cases the judge was hearing. Hmm, suddenly we have a lot more than a newspaper trying to even the playing field on an anonymous thorn in its side.
As you might suspect, the judge sued. Guess what? Better read that EULA -- by clicking OK on the P-D site, users (like virtually every site in the western world) waived the right to privacy, that their data could be sold to outside groups and could be revealed to police or other authorities if crimes were suspected.
The judge's 22-year-old law school student daughter stepped up to say she was the poster, but the Plain Dealer made an open records request of the I.T. logs of the judge's public office computer. Guess what? IP logs show the judge's computer logged into the Plain Dealer website at the same time some of the comments were posted.
Side bar -- did you notice the byline used by the reporter "Breaking News, Real Time News" on the blog entry for the P-D?
One of the latest task is coming up with guidelines -- our own digital media stylebook -- for students and interns to follow when operating our feeds. Here's a first installment for comment, that carries the heading of "Essential Twitter."
With 140 characters to say it, economy is important. Punctuation is optional. The AP rules do not apply. That said, the often childish shorthand migrating over from text messaging should be avoided. Repetition should be avoided. And in reality, it should be said in 120 characters.
The choice of the verb in a Tweet is what separates run of the mill texting from genuine real-time reporting. Obviously, there is no room for the passive tense; short active verbs and simple declarative sentences.
Quick shorthand is acceptable. Down and distance in football? 1&10. Time in basketball? 848-2ND or 1348-3Q. Innings? Top 3. Versus? Simple “v” (that’s two characters saved). Start times – 130p, 11a, 4-430p. Other numbers like 10K, 1500m. The character savings here can be used to accurately convey scores, results or times.
Remember the “#” often used for rankings becomes a hash tag in the Twitter world. Unfortunately, this is going to waste characters – No.16 rather than #16.
Speaking of hash tags, employ them for regular events, and be consistent. With a long school name (Arkansas) or a mascot (Razorbacks), know that your natural hash tag labels will be costly to the 120 character overhead. For Arkansas, #gohogs and #hogs are popular with fans. For our own tag searching, we are advocating #WPS (woo pig sooie). It also separates Arkansas tweets from Harley-Davidson fan tweets.
And why only 120 characters? You want to be retweeted, and you want to give those resending your information space for their own RT or via. Make that space for them.
Posts may be scarce again -- time to head east to the SEC baseball tournament today in Hoover, Ala.
I am looking forward to this -- first trip there for the baseball tournament for me.
Also can't wait to bring our interactive blog on the road, and meet some of the Birmingham area BlogHogs who have been taking part in the conversations.
Mini don't fail me now.
Monday, May 24, 2010
I've been asked recently, why do you use your name prominently on blogs that you post the department website? Massive ego, of course. Well, that's what some may think, but it actually comes down to a pair of things that should be considered as a part of a social media strategy.
The first is transparency. The readers and fans want to know who you are -- it is a social medium, after all -- and they can relate more to you as a person rather than the blanket cover of generics like "sports information," "media relations office," etc.
The second is accountability. Putting in byline isn’t just to promote the writer. Anonymous work tends to have anonymous mistakes. For the fan base, it also validates our desire to use real names by them.
While we operate for the greater whole of @ArkRazorbacks or ArkansasRazorbacks.com, by clearly letting the fans know who is making a post or is on the keyboard reinforces our transparency -- something that we have not been doing lately and need to begin doing immediately. Old habits die hard, so I'm sure it will take a bit for us to all remember to use the caret tag.
For Twitter work, the accepted shorthand is a caret symbol then the writer’s initials: ^BS, for example, for Bill Smith. This also helps the fans understand when different voices operate the same feed, or when someone else besides the named individual posts. This is most important if the media contact for a team update a coaches’ named Twitter feed; same for assistant coaches on head coach feeds. The on-line community understands when there is no caret at the end that the person writing is the feed owner.
Several high profile digirati have deleted their Facebook profiles, making this the latest cool kids move among the uber-geeks. Leo Leport of TWiT and Jason Calacanis of Mahalo recently "committed suicide" or "jumped" with their profile deletions.
Leport makes an interesting point on his recent podcast -- yes, he had 10s of thousands of followers but he essentially was helping Facebook populate its world by bringing his content and brand to them. Leo has begun to doubt the value of "Facebook's megaphone."
Calacanis is much more biting with his feelings. His weblog provides a detailed account of his issues with the privacy failures of Facebook, and his concerns about Mark Zuckerberg specifically.
It is an interesting pro-con read, as his commentators are making some hard points against the move.
Certainly, it would be counter intuitive for an athletic department to walk away from the chance to organize and communicate with their large fan bases -- over 51K for the Arkansas Razorbacks, for example.
Calacanis does raise some serious questions for individuals, however, that use the system.
Sunday, May 23, 2010
Yesterday's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette devoted its lead editorial to a late obituary and tribute to the late Guenter Wendt.
If you read the editorial -- they are subscription, but worse when it goes archive for even higher fee, so jump soon if you're a local -- it describes the life of the man who for almost all the major manned space missions was the last person seen by the American astronauts. He was the German who closed the hatch and saw to the final details. There's a throw away about how Tom Hanks used an insider joke about Wendt in Apollo 13.
In the piece, there is also the creepy detail that Wendt helped pack away the most precious cargo of the U.S. on all but one of it's great Space Race missions: Apollo 1. Different subcontracter, didn't have Wendt on the crew. Knowing the details of what caused that catastrophe, hard to say that Wendt could have changed fate; but he sure was there for the rest of Apollo.
Why remember an ex-Luftwaffe man who became just another stereotype German mechanic emigre for NASA in the Werner von Braun era? From the editorial:
Think of the backstage crew of an opera, or at a newspaper. Guenter Wendt was one of those millions upon millions. They may have a wrench in their hand and stripes on their shoulders at a Marine supply depot in Afghanistan, or a mouse in their hand at some computer in Washington, D.C., or two hands on a tractor’s steering wheel in Lafayette County, Ark., but they’re the ones who make the world go ’round. And they don’t mind that their names don’t appear in headlines. Not at all. They just do their jobs. Competently. Guenter Wendt was one of them.
That is why we remember Guenter Wendt.
Yes, the provocative title of the panel I've been asked to speak at CoSIDA this year.
Previous post touched on part of the result of the decision to be more pro-active with our media production. Every time this gets brought up, I hear from legacy media members about how the goal is to replace them.
No, not at all. They continue to serve their valuable societal role -- watchdog, commentator, etc.
What many of them also want to do -- harvest the low-hanging fruit of easy streaming - is where some of the tension happens. All it takes is the tech to set up a camera and stream out a press conference.
Individual protestations of legacy media members notwithstanding, I don't see our role at RazorVision as trying to "control" our message by serving as the streaming provider. Quite the opposite. Not unlike the White House or C-SPAN, we're making sure the entirety of events are presented to everyone; and that all sports get represented.
So yes, we do want to be the one that brings you events -- and of those 148 events we produced last year, probably 100 of them had no media coverage other than what we provided.
Now, I'm not going to pretend to be naive and say we don't have a point of view in a lot of our other work -- a media release, a feature package -- but on the streaming events, it is pretty hard to "manage" something going out pretty raw and complete to fans and interested parties.
And since almost all of the media events are free, I'm also not understanding complaints that we are trying to profit off a post-game basketball press conference.
I'm interested in feedback here -- from fellow CoSIDA types and media. As with all other previous national convention presentations, I'll roll out many of the details and points here over the next couple of weeks.
Saturday, May 22, 2010
At least this TPS report is one that gives me some sense of pride. Last academic year, our little New Media operation cranked out 148 live game/contest streams. On our TriCaster unit, over 250 hours streamed alone. That doesn't count the 54 live press conferences or announcements, another 20-30 audio only streaming events.
All of that is before we add in the 143 audio streaming events from the rights holder, ISP.
Not sure, but it might have something to do with our page views and uniques hitting new highs this year too.
Friday, May 21, 2010
The New York Times provides this stunning graphic that brings the recent wave of Facebook privacy issues into focus. You can see the whole item here:
Business Day -- May 12
It graphs out the over 100 little details, defaulted public, by the way, that daunt the Facebook user.
I like the factoid that the EULA on privacy has grown from 1,000 words to well over 5,000, and is now longer than the U.S. Constitution.
Here's a simpler way to deal with your Facebook privacy: Assume you have none.
Thursday, May 13, 2010
Interesting and profound thought in the Chronicle's recent 40 years after Kent State story. Taking about how campus has changed wi th more meetings for clases, more sports and Title IX driven teams, there is a lack of time to sit and plot - not time for The Brain to declare to Pinky that tonight, we do what we do every night, try to take over the world.
In seriousness, the time sinks that are college sports - off to practice - or the more vocational of our curricula - got a study session tonight - or the increased social aspects - another meeting to attend - runs smack into the even greater impact of the 24/7 culture and Moore's Law (as it speaks of students arriving with "more low-priced electronic gadgetry than a family SUV can haul to campus").
The key quote:
"Forty years ago, one hall phone for a dozen rooms and a television lounge shared by students in the dorm necessitated the negotiated use of social space and fostered a common sense of American life. Now, students are plugged into their own isolating iSpace, Facebook, Twitter, and the Internet may create community of a sort, but those communities are fragmented and isolated from one another."
The author, Jerry Lembcke, continues that groups like SDS find themselves undermined by the new paradigms of study. A junior year study abroad program at the moment one might have gone to Port Huron instead; seniors obsessing over GREs and final years internships.
Great read, but I was most taken by the "iSpace" quip. Look, at the signposts up ahead, you've now crossed over, into the iZone.
Wednesday, May 12, 2010
Here's another iPad plus - a silent keyboard that allows for note taking Nile students are taking a test. I've written my share short blog posts waiting for the tests with ever so careful and slow typing on the classroom computer. There was never a way two keep that clacking down to a quiet level at the speed I type.
Oh, but turn off the sound on the iPad, and you can go to town at full speed and Underwood No. 5 force.
Sometimes you get immediate feedback that is discouraging. OK, a lot of the time if you are in a creative field. You learn to deal and take the positive out of it.
Teaching can be the same way. Tonight was the final for my class at NWACC. It had been an interesting mix, and some weeks, I felt like my own "troubles" - and that is a bad word choice, but the only thing to come to mind when you are battling against tough work demands and challenges - sometimes made my performance in class not as inspiring, fresh or organized as I wanted.
When a class does bad on a test, I take it personally. Sure, some of them just don't study, or have given the amount of effort they need to get the less than outstanding grade they want. (I have always been most frustrated when people settle - whether in class or elsewhere.)
So tonight's final was touching. Sally Field touching when one student after another came up to thank me for the class. Three wrote letters or notes after their essays about how they had hated history in the past, but thanks to this class, they were reconsidering that.
I'm not writing this to brag. I'm writing it to thank them. Each semester I come to this class wanting to change students view of how history is important to every one of them. Important to this nation. That the past is important to the future. And when I can have a year like this, where they respond and they get it - you know, it really isn't about the teacher (or the coach) - it is about the students. If they get it, you did your job.
Might add, not all these kids were the A students. In fact, a couple of them were genuinely struggling. But they stayed with it, they made progress, they improved.
And as much as you all in HIST 2013-11 say you enjoyed the class, I enjoyed that from all of you.
Thank you for making my semester.
Saturday, May 08, 2010
Clean up your Apple bookmarks for the home screen by adding an icon to your websites. Right now, the default method of making a home screen button used by Apple's mobile OS is to screen capture the page, then allow you to label the button.
The result is really nasty looking postage stamp sized micro views.
What if you could control that logo? Make a faux app icon so that your website matches the real apps.
Create your icon as a 45 pixel square, and save it as a PNG graphic rather than GIF or JPG. The naming is the key -- "apple-touch-icon.png"
Save the icon into the root directory of your website, and voila. That's all it took for my work on RazorbackFoundation.com. If you have an iPhone, try it and you'll see.
If for some reason your don't have access to the root, or in a virtual directory hosted situation, have your provider load the following line of code into the HEAD section of the index and templates of other pages:
link ref="apple-touch-link" href="/target/ "
(Obviously, add the "<" and ">" at end of the code that I had to remove to make Blogger recognize this is not a piece of code -- note that it is an "open" piece of code that lacks a close tag.)
where the ~target part is the location where the apple-touch-icon.png is saved. This was the solution our provider had to do on ArkansasRazorbacks.com.
If you want to watch a step-by-step video of how to, go to the Adobe Creative Suite Video Podcast and go to the April 13 episode, "Create Custom iPhone/iPod touch home screens."
You'd be shocked at the number of websites and social media types that still haven't taken advantage of this small detail.
Friday, May 07, 2010
Site discovered this week - they cover exactly what you might expect, paid content on the internet, and has a lot of resources and stories about media strategies to create and foster paid content.
I come across it through TWIT (of course) as they made a throw-away mention of a statistic from the site that currently, video consumers under 35 will utilize just over three different devices in the same day to view content. The projection in five years was over six devices.
Do the math. That means your video/audio/live content needs to live on the television (1 -- and a nod to the old school in listing it first), on the static internet (desktop/laptop) and the mobile internet (iPhone/Android/etc).
That's today. Is that happening, or do you still have rights holder walls preventing that?
Thursday, May 06, 2010
I worried about the eye strain of the lit screen on the iPad versus Kindle. As my colleague Blair Cartwright said about his, you don't need a night light to read anymore.
I had done the bed reading before, but tonight, on a gorgeous spring night with a strong swirling wind, it was simply delicious to sit on the deck outside our bedroom and read in the dark among the tree tops.
Yeah, score another point for the iPad. And bonus at with "writing a blog post in the dark", too.
This month's new buzz word is "curation," as in a column that curates what's on the internet about a subject of interest. Hmm, sounds a lot like Topix hypernews from back in the ancient days of 2000. That oldest of old school -- links pages and news aggregation.
Well, everything old is new again. If you want a primer, this column isn't bad from Business Insider, but it is over a year old.
The new roles for SIDs in this become serving as the curator for their sports. They already should be doing the old tyme version of that: saving and archiving stories, stats, images, data. Now they need to become the sorters of on-line information about their teams and sports. Oregon is doing some of this with their sport contact blogs.
However, the linking to others is a little bolder. Oklahoma has one of the more intricate and dense curation blogs for its football team. One stop shopping for a lot of info. Ole Miss has a nice blog by its SID personnel that does similar work, but more overview and broad based. And back at OU, their senior associate AD, Kerry Mossman, has a long-standing column that's not terribly unlike my own Bill's Blog, but more topic driven than event driven. (Mine have gone in two forms, the traditional features, the traditional game and now much more of the CoverItLive interactive.)
The future lies in between -- little more detail, more links for those sports that generate them.
The value and the danger is in the judgment calls that lead to what makes the curation page. This may be the separation point between real-time reporter -- the digital correspondent that repeats what they see to whoever is listening -- and the journalist -- independent or branded, who uses a background of the subject to sort the wheat from the chaff.
It really is an information fire hose out there -- curation becomes the nozzle that makes the stream drinkable.
Wednesday, May 05, 2010
Interesting study from Pearson, the scholarly publishing company, that more professors are using social media than you might think.
As in, four out of five.
Get the whole story at the Chronicle, but to me, another vital pull quote:
Professors with more than 20 years of teaching experience use social media only slightly less than do their younger peers. (Mr. Seaman found a similar lack of age discrepancy in an earlier survey about faculty members and online education.)
It's not an age thing; it's a mind set.
By now, you've surely seen the SocialNomics YouTube PPT about the value of social media. In it is a mainstay item of how long go X number users/viewers of key technologies of the late 20th century.
Well, here's the next slide: while Apple isn't officially talking, industry experts see iPad at more than a million units (some say 1.3 this week with an additional 300k of the new 3G units).
What's the big deal?
iPad has been out for less than one month.
It took iPhone 71 days to reach a million units.
And iPad has no compelling use. It costs a lot more than he phone.
But those 1.3 million screens are threatening to change they way the entire Internet presents video (the flash debate). Just might make good on the promise of reforming the print media industry. And in further news this week, Amazon makes a grand gesture by changing its banner ad to a "download the Kindle app for iPad."
Yeah, it's just a toy.
Tuesday, May 04, 2010
Dwight Howard certainly has star power, but to use a Hollywood phrase from the Dennis Miller lexicon, does he really have (bleep) you money? Maybe as NBA commish Stern handed out $35k fine to Howard for his comments about how much he perceives to be a foul target of officials.
Hope it was worth it.
Now that Howard gets disciplined for comments isn't that odd, really. Corporate America has adopted social media policies that restrict free speech and sometimes lead to not just fines, but termination.
What I find interesting is that I come across that story not on the sports wires, but listed under Internet news on Reuters.
Monday, May 03, 2010
That's the total number of readers on the first 30 CoverItLive interactive blogs for ArkansasRazorbacks.com. Not bad, but add in another 14,682 replays.
It's serious participation. Percentage of that reader count that stays longer than one minute -- 80%.
This past Sunday, average time each reader spent with the page: 41 minutes.
I think that's what the new age advertising types call "engagement."
I've been asked why do you do it? Why spend the time it takes? Why not just assign a student? (well, full disclosure, I have trained one of our students to take some of the load, and he does just great work.)
What's it good for? Too much risk. What about negative comments? How can you manage that and still do media relations.
Let me refer back to the above figure -- this job is about public relations, and with an average readership plus replays of around 1,400 per event, that's equal to or better than home attendance average for most of our teams.
Besides, the media reads it, and they get notes and seem to like it too.
Point of fact, we had 775 at Bogle Park for the softball regular season finale, another 75 on the blog. There were just over 8,205 at the same time at Baum Stadium for baseball, and another 1,456 total readers on the blog.
Adding another 10 to 20 percent to the attendance virtually? I'd say that's reason enough.
But it is not just the numbers, it's the bonding. I've said it before here, I'll say it again -- and BTW, I'm filing a trademark request for it -- the key to the future for any organization is converting Brand into Bond.
Anyone can talk about the value of their brand, the power of a brand, the reputation of a brand. Guess what, with today's social media world, that brand is only what the users of it say it is.
Thus, what is the vital key to strengthening the attachment fans, consumers, etc., to the brand? You guessed it -- anything that allows them to participate, to be a part and to convert the Brand into Bond.
Oh, and about that 743 per event that you've likely done the math on to say -- gee, that's not much. Remember, one of our 30 events was a test with 1 reader and the first softball event with only 35 (but it had 102 replays). It launched with no pre-publicity. No hype beyond placing it on the home page.
Other schools and pro teams have used this with greater success in raw numbers than Arkansas, but if you'll commit to it, be open with the fans, be willing to take a reasonable criticism. On that age old fear that we can't have anything negative on the official website; watch, your fans will take care of that with positive feed back better than you can. Why? Oh, it's that Bond thing -- and I don't mean James Bond.
Short of live video -- which most of these folks also watch from us WHILE they are on the interactive blog -- nothing will keep fans on your site longer and in greater numbers.
Sunday, May 02, 2010
Baptismal events at the Episcopal Church tend to happen on certain days; today was one of those with the bishop in town.
I did not know the little boy before hand, nor his parents. They brought him in his stroller, a Pooh bear attached to the front bumper bar. Once they passed toward the front, I could see the medical devices. Then, I noticed the tubes -- they looked like ventilation ones. No special stroller however; a family working hard to make this youngsters life what some would call "normal."
I know a little bit about those rigors. One of our kids had a monitor, we have had both parents face long-term care issues. I say little, because our challenges were nothing compared to what I could perceive theirs might be.
But today, that was not evident at all. Smiles. Faces of genuine glee. And, an angelic sort of contentment. Maybe blessing is a better word.
They were so happy. They had gotten their young son to church, and he would make it to his baptism.
A lot of our ceremony is about the commitment of the god parents and the congregation to support the babies and young children baptized along their life long path. I couldn't help but wonder if this little man -- I say that because children who weather such challenges are often more mature, more sated, more together at times than adults -- will be with us for us to live up to our end of those prayers.
This much I know today. Whatever difficulties I face, whatever events that seem so terribly important, they aren't anything like his. And I could only bask in the true happiness of little Nicholas and his parents and extended family.
Thank you Nicholas. God bless.
Saturday, May 01, 2010
Last night was tragic for our state, and while managing the live blog last night for the Razorback baseball game was typing with and monitoring reports from the tornado zone.
So the moment I get out of the Baum Stadium press box, it's a bee-line home to the DIRECTV to see what I can. First up, The Weather Channel. They should have live coverage, right.
Well, no. They were having some Friday night movie feature - Wind and Weather, Horse and Hound, who knows? - but was one of these new programming features of cable channels to "broaden" the base. Think TBS Dinner and a Movie, but weather oriented.
Are you freaking kidding me? The station quick to send Cantore live at the drop of a hat - holding with this programming.
Look, I know that the History Channel's highest rated program is Ax Men, a reality show about logging. That Cartoon Network is launching it's first non-animated series. You looking for music videos - don't turn to MTV. You know you're old when you can remember when that stood for Music Television.
OK, so The Weather Channel has gone into entertainment. Fine. What's on CNN. Um, Louisiana oil spill wall to wall in the Situation Room. Alright, Fox News - nope, that's an O'Reilly rerun from 7 p.m. Right, they're into programmed news. Certainly Headline News - the original breaking news station - must be live.
Oh my . . . . Entertainment news, parcing John Edwards' bastard child's mom words with Oprah. Seriously.
[Hand raised in front of distant computer screen] Excuse me, what in the hell does this have to do with YOUR channel here?
Thank you, glad you asked. Functionally, I run the Razorback Channel. And days like this remind me exactly what our fans/viewers/constituents want: all Razorbacks, all the time, and most important, when and where they want it.
So what I really wanted last night - to see the four Little Rock TV stations, live, on my TV to get info. I wanted IPTV. Of course, I could have fired up the computer and maybe gotten some of that, but at the end of a long day on the keyboard, I just want to punch it up.
That is what our fans want. They don't want to hear about blackouts and platform exclusivity. Many of them do understand it costs money, and will pay for that access. Most don't want it free, but they do want it freed.