New IU National Sports Journalism director: young writers have advantage over veterans in market

Teaching sports journalism at the big U these days would seem to be as valuable as starting classes on how to make a typewriter.

Journalism is a dying industry, we’re told. Read about it in the papers. What’s left of them, that is.

Malcolm Moran is here to say don’t believe everything you read and hear. And listen to this: He contends in many respects the market never has been better for young journalists. So are the opportunities to make an immediate impact.

Moran has seen it up close as the Knight Chair in Sports Journalism and Society at the John Curley Center for Sports Journalism since 2006. And it isn’t just about young equaling cheaper.

“For the first time in the history of the industry, a 20-something journalist could have an advantage over a 40-something candidate,” Moran said.

In January, Moran will be molding those young … Continue Reading

NBC Sports Network will feel pain of NHL lockout starting tonight; forced to air old DeNiro flick instead of hockey

If you’re a fan of old classic sports movies, you’re going to love the NHL lockout.

Tonight, instead of airing the scheduled hockey doubleheader that would have kicked off the season, NBC Sports Network will show The Fan, starring Robert DeNiro and Wesley Snipes. Not once, but twice.

Hey, wouldn’t Slap Shot have been more appropriate for what was supposed to be the NHL’s opening night?

In upcoming weeks, expect to see The Natural, Rocky, Rudy, and whatever else NBCSN can dig up in its vault.

The NHL stoppage (Note: Illustraton by Nate Beeler of Columbus Dispatch) couldn’t come at a worse time for NBCSN. After enjoying a terrific run during the Olympics, the network has had a dearth of live programming from Monday through Friday.

That would have changed with hockey starting. NBCSN is supposed to air games on … Continue Reading

Munich Massacre 40 years later: Remembering ground-breaking coverage and profound impact on a boy’s Jewish identity

Forty years ago this week, I was a 12-year-old who was obsessed with sports.

I went to Hebrew school at a Reform synagogue and was somewhat aware that there were people in the world who didn’t like Jews. But that barely registered on my radar compared to watching my White Sox, led by Dick Allen, battle Oakland and Reggie Jackson for first place during the summer of ’72.

Naturally, my sports obsession had me locked in on the Summer Games in Munich. These were the first Olympics where Roone Arledge and ABC really hit on the up-close-and-personal approach.

Those Olympics were huge. Mark Spitz won a bunch of gold medals. Olga Korbut thrilled the world with her feats. Great stuff.

Then on Sept. 5, 1972, I awoke to hear the news from Jim McKay that something terrible had happened in Munich.

You … Continue Reading

Time to get real time: NBC needs to solve live issue for next Olympics

A couple of Olympics observations before we go back to real sports:

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During a teleconference, I was struck by a comment from NBC Sports Chairman Mark Lazarus. He called critics of the network’s coverage “a vocal minority” compared to the “silent majority” who made up the bulk of the high primetime ratings.

Now I’m not so sure on Lazarus’ breakdown when it comes to minority and majority. And he shouldn’t construe silence for total approval.

Regardless, Lazarus has to know that the “vocal minority” likely make up a large part of the bread-and-butter viewers of NBC Sports. With the non-traditional sports viewers (women, kids) departing until the next Olympics, many in the “vocal minority” will remain to watch Sunday Night Football, Notre Dame football, golf, hockey, and other sports on the network.

The “vocal minority” clearly want to watch their sports … Continue Reading

NBC wins big in London, but challenges loom for future Olympics

That’s it. You can have your life back. As the ad says, “You’re now free to move around the country.

Now the postmortem begins. Here’s my piece that ran in today’s Los Angeles Times and Chicago Tribune.

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With the Olympic flame going out Sunday, it won’t be long before NBC turns its attention to the 2014 Winter Games.

There’s no such thing as an extended break when you have $4.38 billion invested for the rights to the next four Olympics.

NBC will prepare for its trek to Sochi, Russia in 2014 buoyed by ratings and financial success that far exceeded expectations for London. The 17-day extravaganza shows its Olympics franchise is stronger than ever.

Challenges loom: Yet it wasn’t a completely smooth run for the network. Going forward, NBC will have to address tough questions.

The issue of tape … Continue Reading

New York Times’ Longman in center of storm after Jones’ article

Jere Longman is an accomplished writer and a veteran of many Olympics. Yet I’m fairly certain he will have a different set of memories from this year’s Games.

The New York Times reporter has been a target after writing a fairly scathing piece about LoLo Jones. He said she was more hype than substance.

He wrote:

 Jones has received far greater publicity than any other American track and field athlete competing in the London Games. This was based not on achievement but on her exotic beauty and on a sad and cynical marketing campaign. Essentially, Jones has decided she will be whatever anyone wants her to be — vixen, virgin, victim — to draw attention to herself and the many products she endorses.

The piece ran last Saturday. However, it exploded on Wednesday when a tearful Jones called the column unfair in a Today Continue Reading

Equestrian? Are you kidding when Bolt is running 100 meters? NBC needs to air more live during weekend

Here is one way to get around NBC’s tape-delay approach to the Olympics.

Spend the weekend at a lake that has limited or no Internet access. Then watch NBC’s coverage at night as if it were live like I did.

What? Can’t get away for the weekend like I did. Well, then you’re screwed.

Once again, Twitter was on fire with angry tweets about NBC’s decision not to provide viewers live coverage of Usain Bolt’s bid for gold in the 100. One positive dividend is the entertaining tweets from #NBCdelayed and elsewhere:

@karljohn  Curiosity actually landed three hours ago, but NBC delayed it until after water polo.

@photoarmy1 Hey everyone NBC is showing live video footage of the landing right now….Neil Armstrong is about to step on the surface.

@bgtennisnation (Brad Gilbert)  Another major foot fault on NBC for not showing the 100

Continue Reading

Olympics deja vu: People whine, people watch; NBC pulls another huge rating for Tuesday night

Buzz Bissinger weighed in on NBC’s tape-delay strategy this morning in his own unique way.

@buzzbissinger But Comcast/NBC doesn’t give shit. Ratings off the roof. All they care about. Fuck the first amendment. Fuck free speech. Fuck Comcast/NBC.

Really, Buzz, tell us how you feel. Don’t hold back.

The complaining continues, and so does NBC pulling in monster numbers for its primetime coverage.

The Twitter Olympics helped deliver NBC another huge number Tuesday night. The network pulled a 24.0 overnight last night; the best overnight for the London Olympics to date, topping the Opening Ceremony by 4%.

It was 4% higher than the Tuesday night rating for Beijing (23.0/37) & 12% higher than Athens (21.5/33).

Keep mind, NBC expected this year’s rating to be off from Beijing, which had the benefit of live coverage in primetime.

Of course, as we … Continue Reading

Stop complaining: NBC tape-delay strategy delivers huge ratings

Here are a couple things you need to know: NBC does not operate as a not-for-profit. And a large portion of the massive Olympics audience is made up of non-traditional sports viewers who could care less about watching tape delay in prime time.

So go ahead and complain all you want about NBC saving the best stuff for primetime during the Olympics. While you whine, NBC is laughing all the way to the ratings bank.

Nothing validates NBC’s tape-delay strategy more than the huge ratings for its primetime coverage. The network is breaking all sorts of records.

From NBC:

Through the first three nights of the London Olympics, NBC is averaging 35.8 million viewers, the best through the first weekend for any Summer Olympics in history (since the 1960 Rome Olympics, the first televised Olympics), 1.4 million more than the 1996 Atlanta Olympics

Continue Reading

Newspaper Olympics coverage varies: Philly papers cut back; LA Times, USA Today all-in

Special Report:

Staffing the Olympics used to be a no-brainer for major newspapers. The Games are a major worldwide event and you air-mail as many reporters as possible.

I was among 15 staffers for the Chicago Tribune during the 2000 Games in Sydney.

Obviously, times, priorities, and most importantly, economics have changed. It’s no longer automatic to send an army of staffers to cover an Olympics.

In fact, the Philadelphia Daily News and Inquirer initially decided skip the trip to London. They returned the five credentials issued to the papers. However, at the last minute, the editors decided to send Phil Sheridan.

Said Josh Barnett, executive sports editor for the Philadelphia Daily News on the overall decision: “It’s exclusively a financial decision. It’s a significant commitment (to staff an Olympics). With dwindling resources, you have to make decision of how and where … Continue Reading