Sunday, December 30, 2007

Must-see TV: This Nike commercial

Finally! A Nike ad that really says something fresh and important. Watch UW wheelchair basketball player Matt Scott in a commercial that I hope will direct attention toward the U.S. athletes who will compete in the Paralympics this September. The ad airs nationally tomorrow.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Shuffling to TV, inflating salaries as they go: Where's the news?

Both the New York Times and Wall Street Journal have, in the past week, published stories hyping the migration of sports journalists (Rick Reilly and Selena Roberts among them) to ESPN and Yahoo Sports.
Where's the news? As Slate's Jack Shafer rightly points out, ESPN has recruited from the print ranks for years. And it's no surprise that Yahoo, which has made no secret of its intention to become a major source of sports news, would pull from print (where else would Yahoo go? And now, of all times, when the anxiety in newspaper sports departments may be at an all-time high) Shafer also points out that the breathless NYT reporting on inflated salaries for sportswriters is also not justified -- inflated salaries for a handful of stars in the business is not new (and, in some ways, mimics the sports system it covers.)
As for its intentions, ESPN may genuinely be moving toward more original investigative journalism (instead of pontificating on the work of others), but it's hard to believe until the proof starts showing up on SportsCenter. ESPN has drawn young, male audiences looking to be entertained (not necessarily informed about what might be wrong with sports) by touting its cozy "insider" status with the sports industry.

Friday, December 21, 2007

What do young sports fans want from newspapers?

A little bit of everything -- and packaged impeccably, from our research. In focus groups with male and female sports fans, most of whom were in their early 20s, we also found that they are skeptical about sports journalism in general and see league Web sites (such as as credible sources for sports news. The demand for coverage of women's team sports (such as basketball) was low, but female sports fans did express an interest in coverage of tennis and participatory sports.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Student journalists covering big-time sports

"The Paper," an Independent Lens documentary that goes inside Penn State's independent student newspaper, The Daily Collegian, features sports reporter Jenny Vrentas. Vrentas, who moved on to Columbia's journalism program and became an AWSM intern, covered the PSU football team for the Collegian. The documentary shows her tenacity as a reporter who doesn't let athletic department bureaucracy or the male culture keep her from getting stories.