[This review was originally posted at the Nieman Journalism Lab on Jan. 18, 2013.] An activist’s death and the open […]
Tramadol Cost, I've mostly watched the Carnival of Journalism's rebirth from afar, but this month's prompt was just too tempting to stay on the sidelines this time around. Here's the prompt:
A failure in your life (personal or professional) that has lessons. It must be your failure and you must take responsibility. But this will be a safe space to discuss our failings and what we can learn from them.
The first step was starting at the student newspaper: I went to their recruiting meeting at the beginning of my freshman year, Tramadol pharmacy, and timidly told the sports editor I was interested in writing for them. The response was encouraging — they had a real need for sportswriters, and they could put me on pretty much any sport I wanted right away; only football had been claimed. Tramadol Cost, I wanted to ease into everything, so I specifically asked for the lowest-profile sports they regularly wrote about, and ended up with women's basketball (and even that was pushing it a bit too far into high-profile territory for my tastes) and tennis. The next year, I added volleyball and replaced tennis with baseball.
So here's the fail: I was quite possibly the worst sports reporter you or I have ever read. Oh, I was technically proficient: I knew where to put commas and periods and how to string sentences together into a story, Tramadol price. But as a journalist, I was terrible. You know how many athletes I talked to in my two years of sports reporting. One, Tramadol Cost. One. And he lived in the dorm room next door to me. Tramadol samples, Every week, I would set up an interview in the office of the coach I was covering, find out how their team was doing, what was coming up on the schedule and so on. Every week, I would try to watch a home game — not really because they actually informed my stories, but mostly because I kind of knew that if I didn't even attend the games of the team I was covering, Tramadol street price, then I wouldn't be able to fool myself anymore about how terrible of a job I was doing. Tramadol Cost, And every week, I would start my story with the same exact Mad Lib formula: "The Wheaton [SPORT] team [VERBED] this week, [VERBING] a [CONFERENCE RANK OR WINNING/LOSING STREAK]."
This is not an exaggeration. Every week: Summary of games drawn from boxscores, rote quotes from coaches, more summary, list of games coming up this week. Tramadol australia, uk, us, usa, That's it. For two years. I made the sportswriting robot look like Grantland Rice.
And here's the weird thing: I knew my stories were terrible, and I wrote them that way anyway, Tramadol Cost. I wasn't stupid; I had read tons of incredible sportswriting, and I knew that my stories had absolutely nothing in common with them.
So why did I persist in my head-scratching awfulness. Two reasons: Because I was scared, Tramadol pics, and because I believed in the journalism fairy. The fear part is easy to explain. Tramadol Cost, I was terrified of interviewing people, and I was terrified of having my peers read my writing. I didn't want to inconvenience or annoy people by asking them awkward questions, and I found the idea of walking up and interrogating someone to be incredibly intimidating. And I didn't want my friends to see me do poorly at something they knew I was passionate about: I desperately wanted for there to be a way I could learn journalism entirely in private, Fast shipping Tramadol, without ever having the chance to fail in public.
Here's what I mean by the journalism fairy: I had this idea that the secret knowledge of how to be an awesome journalist would just magically be bestowed on me eventually. All I had to do was try to keep doing a few journalism-ish things for a while, and suddenly the magic dust would come down, the lightbulb would go on and I'd be a brilliant reporter. After all, I knew I could write, and I could think critically, Tramadol Cost. At some point, I figured, Tramadol no prescription, those two skills would come together, and abacadabra, I'd be transformed into an amazing journalist.
This, of course, Order Tramadol from mexican pharmacy, is ludicrous. But it kept me from learning and doing real journalism for two years, and now, as a TA for journalism undergrads, I sometimes suspect that this idea has infected the minds of some of my students. They have dreams of being high-profile journalists someday, but they're too timid or unmotivated to do any real journalism now, Tramadol price, coupon, while they're in school specifically to learn it. Tramadol Cost, So here's the moral of my failure, especially for journalism students: There is no secret knowledge of journalism, and it will never be magically bestowed on you. There's only one way to become a good journalist — going out, doing it, and then going out and doing it some more. There are no shortcuts. The best young journalists I know attacked their journalism educations, Comprar en línea Tramadol, comprar Tramadol baratos, wringing every last drop of experience out of their four (or five, or six) years in school. And one of my biggest regrets about my own college experience is that I didn't do that.
That doesn't mean you need to get hyper-competitive about your journalism education, nor does it mean there's no room for failure or for trying new experiences that don't have anything to do with journalism. Those latter two are what journalism's all about: doing, Tramadol Cost. Go, take the tough assignment from your student newspaper, online buy Tramadol without a prescription. Talk to the sources that intimidate you. Put yourself out there for internships and freelance work. Jump in with the new on-campus media startup. Take the semester overseas. Sometimes you'll fail, Tramadol alternatives, and you might even find out that journalism's not what you want to do after school. But even if that happens, at least you went out and found out yourself, rather than waiting for the journalism fairy to sprinkle Woodward and Bernstein dust on you. Because as I found out, you're gonna be waiting for that fairy for a loooooong time.
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Purchase Cephalexin, I've read Bill Simmons regularly for almost the past 10 years now, and sometimes I'm still trying to figure out why. Simmons has a pretty beaten-down schtick (we all do, of course, Cephalexin duration, but Simmons' is more well-worn than most), and given his prominence, that's made him an easy target for criticism.
I think a lot of that criticism is legitimate, generic Cephalexin. And for me personally, Simmons' topics of choice don't help, Cephalexin reviews, either. Virtually every Simmons column or podcast is a combo platter of the following subjects:
1) Boston sports teams
3) '80s pop culture
4) Reality TV
6) Fantasy football
My feelings on those subjects, in order: 1) Unadulterated loathing 2) Meh 3) Still. 4) KILL IT WITH FIRE 5) Hey, something I actually like, Purchase Cephalexin. 6) More annoying every year 7) Even worse than fantasy football, ordering Cephalexin online.
Bill Simmons would probably struggle to name four guys on my baseball team (the Brewers), or even one guy on my college football team (Nebraska). About Cephalexin, And most everything he does care about are things I despise or am, at best, indifferent toward. So why the heck do I still eagerly consume most anything he produces, Cephalexin street price. Purchase Cephalexin, There are several reasons, of course — he's generally entertaining; I'm curious to find out what the most influential sportswriter in America is thinking; I'm a shameless sports junkie — but there's one in particular I want to look at here: I care about what Bill thinks because I can tell Bill still cares.
To say that Simmons still cares is no small statement, either; there are quite a few factors working against Simmons' truly caring about his work. Cephalexin price, coupon, He's been America's most-read sportswriter for probably about eight years now. All of his teams have won championships since he and his "long-suffering fan" persona first hit the national scene. He's moved to the most laid-back city in America (L.A.), where he's pretty regularly running in quasi-showbiz circles, buy generic Cephalexin. His career and pocketbook are set for life at ESPN if he wants them to be, Purchase Cephalexin. That's not a good formula for a continued dogged pursuit of excellence.
And "dogged pursuit of excellence" is probably not a term most would use to describe Simmons' work over the past few years. Cephalexin online cod, His gradual shift from columns toward podcasting has been criticized (even in stuff he's published himself) as evidence of laziness. But it's actually the opposite: It's Simmons taking on the challenge of mastering another medium, or in his words, getting in "on the ground floor of a medium that is really starting to take off."
And you can see that effort in his podcasts — Simmons has vastly improved his skills in that area, Cephalexin results. Purchase Cephalexin, He could have chosen to be another Rick Reilly — another sportswriting icon who pushed the craft forward, then sat on his pile of money and so refused to genuinely innovate from his now-tired style that he became a walking punchline. But he's refused to go that route.
And that's why I'm so impressed with the new sports/pop culture website he's developing — because it could actually fail. Cephalexin pharmacy, He's taking a real risk, and he could fall on his face with this, because it's actually something new.
Many of the same people who rip Simmons for relying on a stale formula are the same people who gush about ESPN's 30 for 30 documentaries, fast shipping Cephalexin, conveniently forgetting that the series is his baby, after all. This guy helped revive good sports documentaries, and now he's trying to do the same thing for the general-interest sports website, Purchase Cephalexin. Cephalexin price, Dan Shanoff's analysis of this initiative is spot-on: The combination of fantastic young talent, Simmons' own significant cachet, a compelling editorial concept, and access to ESPN's financial and promotional resources makes this a pretty good bet to become a big success, Cephalexin without prescription. He may be taking a risk, but he's also taking the right steps to make sure it's a smart one. Cephalexin coupon, As Shanoff notes, Simmons is one of very few American sportswriters with the individual brand power to pull something like this off. It could become the blueprint for what can happen when someone within a major media organization develops a strong individual voice, builds a loyal following, then cashes in on it to pursue a bold editorial vision. That's something that journalists and their news organizations have been trying to figure out how to do for the past several years — and I'm glad Bill Simmons is putting something on the line to try to lead the way.
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Buy Synthroid No Prescription, Journalism professors Carrie Brown-Smith of the University of Memphis and Jonathan Groves of Drury University have been doing some research in newspaper newsrooms, observing and talking to journalists to find out more about how they're changing their processes and routines to innovate for the web. They posted a little teaser on their research yesterday, reporting that the area of the newsroom that has done the most to adapt to a new media environment is the sports department.
For people who have been both avid observers of the news media and avid consumers of sports media (like myself), this isn't a particularly surprising finding. As former ESPN.com writer Dan Shanoff noted on Twitter, Synthroid images, sports content on the web served as the blueprint for the early development of ABC News' and Disney's online presences in the mid-'90s, and for AOL and Yahoo's emergence as media companies in the past few years.
There are plenty of exceptions — I've seen as many curmudgeonly rants by sportswriters as any other type of journalists — but the products speak for themselves: Go to any metro daily website, and you'll almost undoubtedly find that the most active communities and innovative ideas are on display under the "Sports" tab.
So why is that, Buy Synthroid No Prescription. Synthroid from canada, Brown-Smith, Groves and several others on Twitter this morning tossed some answers out, and I thought they might be helpful for people thinking about newsroom innovation in other areas, too. Here's a rundown:
Sports departments operate outside the rest of the traditional newsroom structure.
This is the first reason Brown-Smith and Groves give: Innovation and risk-taking usually take place in autonomous divisions within an organization, "and at most news organizations, Synthroid maximum dosage, the sports departments are separate beasts, often working different schedules and feeling relatively less shackled by [tradition]."
Sports have long been thought of as the newspaper's "toy department," the place where journalists can try out new styles and strategies, and since it's not "real news, Buy Synthroid from mexico, " no one will get too worked up about it. Most sportswriters still bristle at the term "toy department," but as Jeff Jarvis and John Zhu suggested, it's easier to experiment when you've been cordoned off from the sections of the paper that take their mission too seriously to try anything out of the ordinary.
Sports journalists' frenetic pace and round-the-clock deadlines are more conducive to the web than to print.
This is Brown-Smith and Groves' second point, voiced well by a staffer at the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel: "Every night in sports is election night, Synthroid for sale. Buy Synthroid No Prescription, We are used to that kind of workload. We are used to doing it late and doing it quick."
Jim Brady, general manager of TBD and former washingtonpost.com executive editor, spelled this idea out in a series of tweets: Even in print, sportswriters were used to filing fast and in chunks because of the deadline push caused by night games, Purchase Synthroid online no prescription, and their stories often didn't make early editions. Consequently, they saw the web, with its inclination toward 24/7 news and bite-size pieces of information, as more of an opportunity.
This makes a lot of sense to me: Sportswriters have had to do less to adapt their routines to the web, because their reporting processes are a more natural fit there anyway, Synthroid interactions. That level of comfort leads to a lot more experimentation and innovation.
Sports journalists have tended to value their readers more highly — a key attitude in adapting to the two-way nature of online news.
This idea, too, was expressed by Brady via Twitter, though he wasn't exactly sure why. Synthroid overnight, NYU professor Jay Rosen offered a possible explanation: "In sports, the difference between what users know and reporters know isn't as wide; therefore it's harder to be princely."
Rosen comes at this observation from a background studying the political press, but I think it rings true. Generally speaking, since televised sports became ubiquitous in the 1980s and early '90s, dedicated sports fans have been able to ascertain for themselves quite a bit of what reporters know about their favorite teams, Buy Synthroid No Prescription. They're watching the same games, and many fans have been studying those games just as intently and for as much of their lives as the sportswriters they read. All they're missing are the locker-room and press-conference quotes, Synthroid cost, which are often laughably devoid of insight anyway.
The web was practically tailor-made for the way fans want to consume information about sports.
This reason was only hinted at by Brown-Smith and Groves, but I think it's key to determining why sports departments' online innovations are so much more substantive and successful. There is no other type of news that is as social as sports, and none for which the audience's appetite is as ravenous. No other area even comes close; politics is a pretty distant second.
Sports are inherently social; in fact, Japan, craiglist, ebay, overseas, paypal, they may be the only televised content that's more commonly watched in groups than alone. And in between those televised events, the biggest element of fandom is talking about sports with others — friends, co-workers, strangers at bars, radio call-in show hosts. It's easy to see how ideally this translates to the web: Check out, buy Synthroid no prescription, for example, the enormously popular game threads that are the bread and butter of many of the blogs of the quickly growing SB Nation network. Buy Synthroid No Prescription, There's little newsy information being conveyed there; they're purely social, a way to create the normative group-viewing experience in a virtual space.
Likewise, there's no other area of news in which audiences hang on each and every tidbit of news and analysis that a journalist can provide. This attitude is a perfect fit for the rapid-fire, bite-size, Doses Synthroid work, analytically based formats of blogging and Twitter.
These two aspects combine to make for a ripe environment for success in experimenting with interactive, immediate forms of online news. This, in turn, creates a remarkably effective positive reinforcement loop for those innovations: When sports departments launch beatblogs, cheap Synthroid no rx, or podcasts, or Twitter accounts, or live chats, or mobile updates, Synthroid australia, uk, us, usa, they're often rewarded with enthusiastic readers and eager interaction. That success, of course, only spurs more innovation. Sadly, the reverse often happens in other news coverage: Attempts at innovation are met (at least initially) with apathy, Synthroid coupon, which journalists use to dismiss innovation as a waste of time.
Those are the factors we've come up with - if you have any theories of your own, I'd love to hear them in the comments.
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For virtually every other American old-media company, this decade has been one of collapse, of downsizing, of a steady chipping away of authority. The theme of this decade in news media could easily be Yeats’ line, “Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold.”
Yet for ESPN, this has been the decade of expansion, of hegemony, of steadily mounting authority.