Thursday, February 28, 2008

Who's your columnist #6

Your comment must be posted by 30 minutes before the Tuesday March 4 class.
You must include the URL so that others can read the column, too.
Let me know if you have any questions.
See you in class.

NYTimes returns to the scene of the ... miracle

Associated Press

The New York Times revisted the George Mason men's basketball program two years later and found that the memories of the team's Final Four run remain as sweet as ever.

Jeff Zillgitt: 3 things

GRADED EXERCISE: In the comments section below, add the three things you learned from Jeff Zillgitt's presentation. Deadline is 30 minutes before class on Tuesday March 4. No exceptions!

Our guest Thursday March 6 in class is Washington Post sports writer Alan Goldenbach. Please prepare a question in advance of the class for Alan. Also, see the item about Alan below.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Greg Toland: 3 things

Greg Toland is the weekend sports anchor at Channel 7. Greg joined WJLA-TV in October of 2000. He previously worked as the weekend sports anchor at WPGH-TV, the FOX affiliate in Pittsburgh.
Before that, Greg was the sports director at WBTW-TV, the CBS affiliate in Florence, S.C. In 1998, he was chosen the state’s sportscaster of the year. He also won the AP award for best sports story that year. Then two years later, he won the AP award for best sports story in Pennsylvania.
Greg is a 1984 graduate of the University of Maryland. He majored in Radio, Television and Film.

GRADED EXERCISE: In the comments section below, add the three things you learned from Greg's presentation. Deadline is 30 minutes before class on Thursday Feb. 28 No exceptions!

DON'T FORGET your questions for USA Today sports writer Jeff Zillgitt for Thursday.

Friday, February 22, 2008

On this day ...

The greatest sports upset I ever saw was 28 years ago today on Feb. 22, 1980, when the U.S. Olympic hockey team defeated the Soviet Union, 4-3 at Lake Placid, N.Y.
Many people forget that the game was a semifinal and that the U.S. won the goal medal by defeating Finland.

Special guest speaker: Joel Sucherman

My good friend, Joel Sucherman, Executive Producer at USA Today, will speak to my Online Journalism class as part of the "New Media Series" on Tuesday Feb. 26 at 3 p.m. in SUB II, rooms 3-4.

Joel has an extensive sports background -- we worked together at USAToday.com -- and will talk about multimedia production at USAT. You can expect plenty of examples.

Who's your columnist #5

Your comment must be posted by 30 minutes before the Tuesday Feb. 26 class.'
You must include the URL so that others can read the column, too.
Let me know if you have any questions.
See you in class.

And don't miss this story by Alan Goldenbach

Alan Goldenbach, who will hopefully be with us in class on Thursday March 6, has a wonderful centerpiece story on the Washington Post sports front headlined "Blindness Doesn't Deter Mat Vision" about C.H. Flowers High School wrestler Michael Spriggs. Give it a read and leave Alan a comment.

The online version
of the story includes video. That's good use of the online platform to enhance a print story.

You can read other stories online by Alan.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Check out this great story by BJ

Our class friend and Mason alumnus BJ Koubaroulis of the Washington Post and Fairfax Sports Network has a terrific story Thursday in the Post's weekly Fairfax Extra headlined, "Injured 'Sports Junkie' Maintains His Focus."

It begins:

"Through a window near his wheelchair, 17-year-old Nick Cafferky can see the top of a 20-foot-tall chain-link fence that wraps around a full-size basketball court in the back yard of his Great Falls home."

I hope you will read it and post your comments here for BJ.
BJ will visit class on Thursday March 27. You can read all his Post stories online.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Who's your columnist #4

Your comment must be posted by 30 minutes before the Tuesday Feb. 19 class.
You must include the URL so that others can read the column, too.
Let me know if you have any questions.
See you in class.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Julie Ward: 3 things

Julie Ward is the former assistant sports editor of USA Today.
She joined USAT from the St. Louis Globe-Democrat as a general assignment reporter in 1984. She served as assistant sports editor from 1989 to 2007.
She is a Pioneer Award recipient of the Association of Women in Media (AWSM).

GRADED EXERCISE: In the comments section below, add the three things you learned from Julie's presentation. Deadline is 30 minutes before class on Thursday Feb. 14 No exceptions!

DON'T FORGET your questions for Mason Athletic Director Tom O'Connor on Thursday.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Who's your columnist #3

Your comment must be posted by 30 minutes before the Tuesday Feb. 12 class.
You must include the URL so that others can read the column, too.
Let me know if you have any questions.
See you in class.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Communication Day -- Meeting with B.J. Koubaroulis

Meeting with B.J. Koubaroulis ?

For students that will be attending Communication Day on Feb. 7 in Dewberry Hall, I look forward to meeting with you and hearing your ideas, aspirations, goals and gripes about your future as a sports writer or some other more financially-rewarding career!

Here's a quick synopsis of what I plan to discuss in a segment the Comm Department has labeled "Networking and Getting Ahead."

...There are three main things that I believe are crucial in Networking:

1. Earn it
2. Respect it
3. Give it Back

Earn it

...Earn your place in your career. Work hard, invest in your long-term success and you'll see that a network will begin to build itself. Networking is not about using people, which is a common misunderstanding among young and eager professionals. Networking is about sharing yourself with others and earning your place in your career by developing a strong work ethic and product.

Respect it

...By working hard and developing yourself as a professional, you will naturally develop a respect among your peers and colleagues; hence a network. This respect is only earned through hard work and it is this respect that will allow you to grow in your career. As a sports writer, your byline is your career. Respect it and hold it in high value and you'll watch your network grow.

Give it Back

...There are so many ways that a person can give back. Giving back is not always about being the most highly-regarded financial donor to a university. Giving back is about creating opportunities for others in your network and those who need one, for example up-and-coming professionals that need a break in the business. Giving back is the most important part of networking.

I look forward to meeting you all at Communication Day.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

BJ Koubaroulis: 3 things (extra credit)

On Thursday Feb. 7, the class will meet in Dewberry Hall of the Johnson Center in order for you to participate in the Communication Department's semi-annual Communication Day event between 10:45 a.m. and 3 p.m. (see seperate e-mail for the full agenda).
Please consider attending early, especially for Jennifer Carroll's 12:15 p.m. presentation on media transformation and what kind of future in the business awaits you (make a 3-thing extra credit entry in the blog item just below). Jennifer is vice president of New Media Content for Gannett's 85 newspapers. I've know her since 1985, when we both worked at the Lansing State Journal. This a wonderful opportunity.

Please look for me at the Journalism table in Dewberry Hall. I'll be joined by BJ Kourbaroulis (left in photo) of the Washington Post and the Fairfax Sports Network. BJ, who has just been selected as the Communication Department's Alumnus of the Year (a terrific honor, so please congratulate him! will speak at 1:35, then will meet with you at the Journalism table.

I need to leave at 1:45 (but you will remain with BJ to talk about networking and getting your career off the ground; make a 3-things entry here for extra credit) for the GMU-TV video studio in 455 Innovation Hall for a 2-3:15 p.m. video conference with former Vice President Walter Mondale as part of my Online Journalism class. The unusual time is to accommodate the former vice president, so I am looking for students who are interested in attending the session (I have 16-18 seats). Please let me know if the opportunity interests you.

Jennifer Carroll: 3 things (extra credit)

Jennifer Carroll, Vice President/New Media Content, Gannett

Jennifer Carroll works with newspapers throughout Gannett in developing strategy, readership and content initiatives in new media, from building digital communities through social networking to reaching niche audiences and innovative dimensions in public service journalism. She helped conceive and launch Gannett’s Information Center, a model transforming the way newsrooms gather and disseminate news and information to engage communities across all media platforms. She also works on convergence across Gannett’s Broadcast and Digital divisions. She is a frequent presenter and facilitator for media-related conferences and workshops.

Carroll joined the News Department in 2000 as Director/News Development and was named to her current role in 2006. Previously, she had top editing roles including managing editor of the Lansing (Mich.) State Journal and The Detroit News, and was executive editor of The Burlington (Vt.) Free Press. Carroll was a member of API's Newspaper Next task force researching innovative industry business models in 2006. She serves on the board of iFOCOS, the Institute for the Connected Society and co-chairs the Audience Development Committee of Newspaper Association of America and the Innovation Committee of the American Society of Newspaper Editors. She is Gannett’s liaison for Arizona State University’s New Media Innovation Lab, a cross-disciplinary master’s program studying innovative media models.

She was named
Gannett’s Corporate Staffer of the Year in 2006, and was a co-winner of the Chairman’s Special Achievement Award in 2007 for her work designing and implementing the Information Center.

Alan Goldenbach: 3 things

NOTE: Alan had to cancel, so this assignment will be rescheduled.

On Tuesday
Feb. 5, our guest in class is Washington Post prep and takeout writer Alan Goldenbach.
Deadline for this exercise worth 3 final grading points is Thursday Feb. 7, 30 minutes before classtime.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Covering baseball in a major market

Let me introduce myself first. My name is Jeremy Cothran and I'm a former student in several of Steve's classes at George Mason University.

Like my former colleague B.J. Koubaroulis, I was also the sports editor of the Broadside. I graduated in 2005 and currently work at The Star-Ledger, which is based in Newark, N.J., and is one of the largest daily newspapers in the country. I'm the beat writer for the New York Mets, a team most of you know just pulled off a major trade in acquiring Johan Santana from the Minnesota Twins.

Covering sports in New York City is a different animal than anywhere else in the country. But it's especially crazy with baseball. On my beat alone, I compete with six other major metro papers and a reporter from MLB.com. Compare that with, say, the Washington Nationals. There you only have the Washington Post and the Washington Times as papers that travel full-time with the club.

What will get you in trouble in a market like New York is to be content with the status quo. I'm always searching for great story ideas, ways to improve our paper's Mets blog, and ways that I can improve my source-building. If you follow a pack-journalism mentality, writing what everybody else is writing, you'll end up with bland stories.

Going back to the Santana trade, it was a story that consumed our market. And that's even with a good chunk of the media at the Super Bowl. Our paper alone has 14 people (eight reporters, six photographers) in Phoenix right now.

Working on a major baseball story like that, you're not going to get any information at all from team officials. In fact, if you're the type of person that waits for news releases to write stories, you are in the wrong business. So you work the Blackberry, calling and e-mailing all the sources you've cultivated over time. (Another tip for future beat reporters: Develop a confident persona over the phone!)

I'm glad Steve gave me this forum to share some stories about covering baseball. If anybody ever needs advice or has a question, feel free to email me: jeremyc28@gmail.com.