Teaching Examples

Double take: Gators!
April 3, 2007, 4:32 am
Filed under: journalism, news, sports


Basketball champions for the second year in a row.

University of Florida

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Sports blogs: What up?
February 23, 2007, 12:56 am
Filed under: blogs, journalism, online, sports

So probably we should keep an eye on Deadspin, if this list of The 20 Most Influential [men, apparently]: [In] Online Sports is any indication of who’s who in sports journalism online. (Wow, Neal Scarbrough went to AOL? Happened in May.)

I went Googling around for sports blogs for a short while. I scanned though The Big Picture, which has a long interview right now with Dan Steinberg, a Washington Postie who writes the D.C. Sports Bog. It seemed pretty interesting — although that is quite hard for me to judge, as the only sports I care about are the Summer Olympics, the Tour de France, and any championship that has Gators in it. This probably explains why I don’t understand why anyone would read SportsBlogs Nation — I don’t mean any disrespect; it’s just that I don’t see the appeal. (CNet wrote a good article about SBNation back in January.)

What I do know is that sports fans tend to be fanatic about certain newspaper columnists — this is nothing new. It stands to reason that a sports columnist might take to blogging like a duck to water. But would that be true for any sports columnist? I’m clearly not the right person to ask.

In a recent post, Trevor Born of TwinsJunkie.com assessed the skills of a bunch of Minneapolis Star Tribune sports bloggers:

Over the past few months, the Star Tribune has made a blogging interface on their website — and it has turned out to be a great decision. The writers who have decided to blog themselves have made it work by actually putting in the time to write everyday, in addition to their hectic writing-for-print schedules.

It all basically proves that they know a lot more about their sports than a lot of people would like to give them credit for, and in addition they have access to things no on-his-couch blogger could ever dream up.

This is good news — I think. What led me to this topic (obviously way outside my area of expertise) is the idea that certain things can be “owned” by a newspaper. Traditionally, the columnists who follow the hometown teams would fall into that category. Nobody outside Minneapolis is going to follow the Twins as well as the local sportswriters do, yes?

Well, here’s the question about SportsBlogs Nation: Could it turn out to be a Craigslist for sports columns? If not SBNation, then maybe AOL Sports’ FanHouse. Because you don’t necessarily need the local newspaper. You just need a local, devoted fan who can write well.

Deadspin doesn’t look to be that kind of threat at all. It’s got a little basketball, a little NASCAR, and little golf … not the kind of team devotion that you see in a local sports column. And yet, it reportedly attracts 1 million unique visitors a month. Go figure.

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The magic combination for riveting video stories
February 16, 2007, 3:17 pm
Filed under: journalism, online, sports, video

I have watched this video from the Toronto Star four times in a row now, so I guess I’d better post it!

“I wanted to play hockey, really, but my mother told me to try figure skating … I never left figure skating because I loved it so much.”
— Patrick Chan, Olympic hopeful

Sports shooters will tell you that a lot of getting that perfect single shot is luck. The right equipment and long experience in knowing where to look MAKE that luck, of course. But in this video — a sports video — luck has nothing to do with how good it is. It’s a combination of wonderful editing (that’s why I watched it again and again — the images are so perfectly edited to the audio track, it just choked me up!) and a solid (audio) interview. This was shot and edited by newspaper photojournalist Bernard Weil. (More Star video here.)

I’m going to be showing this one to students for a long time.

(Found via Multimedia Shooter.)

Update (Feb. 18): John Bonnar posted a very nice critique of this video in the comments.

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Spring training in Florida, on the map
February 15, 2007, 11:16 pm
Filed under: journalism, maps, online, sports

Even though it’s freezing here in north-central Florida tonight, the Major League Baseball spring training season is about to begin. Boston.com built a neat package for all those die-hard Red Sox fans: Fan’s Guide to Fort Myers.

It includes three Google maps that use the free Atlas application to pinpoint sites of interest. A unique feature is a users’ photo page where the photos are pinned to a satellite photo of the baseball stadium in Fort Myers, Florida.

Get a Bugmenot password if the site throws you a bad pitch.

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Photo galleries compared
January 9, 2007, 12:17 pm
Filed under: online, photography, sports

Although it’s about all bowl games (the first eight pictures are from THE bowl game), washingtonpost.com’s photo gallery is about 100 times better looking than this one (THE game only) from the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.

The Post’s gallery (probably built on SlideShowPro) functions more cleanly too.

The Sun-Sentinel’s gallery was designed to function in a pop-up window, but even in the window, it’s clunky. The transitions are jarring and the layout is awkward. The Orlando Sentinel is stuck with basically the same design.

The photo gallery at ESPN took an incredibly long time to load this morning. However, it was worth the wait — 15 carefully edited photos, and they are HUGE. The presentation includes a very intrusive advertisement that interrupts your viewing at least twice (I can understand having the ad at the front, but come on — this was too annoying!)

Update (10:25 a.m.): Just found the first-rate bowl game gallery from The Independent Florida Alligator. We rule in football. We also rule in photojournalism!

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