New Olympics online channel

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The International Olympic Committee has just passed a resolution to create a digital channel for people to watch Olympics coverage year round. The channel will cost about $600 million to run for the first seven years. The Olympic Broadcasting Services will run the channel and hope to break even after the first decade. The Madrid based company will seek advertisers that seek niche audiences related to the sports that are played. Universal Broadcasting president Scott Brown lauded the IOC’s decision and hopes the station will bring in more interest into the games from around the world year-round.

This is a very interesting decision because it will cost about $86 million to run per year when there will be hardly any users watching it when it is nowhere near the Olympic games. It will be interesting to see what they are going to decide to play because they have to fill the time with something. If they play old Olympics highlights of many of the sports, that is one way that they will be able to attract viewers, but if they do not, who knows.

Until we know more about what this site will broadcast, it is difficult to tell whether this is a good idea or not. If it only covers previews of upcoming Olympics events, I think it is doomed. That coverage is fine a few months before the next installment of the Olympics games and leading up to them. I do not think that many viewers would watch it otherwise if it was previewing the next Olympics games that are years away. Time will tell how the channel will fair.

What goes around, comes around

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When the St. Louis Rams traded the second overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft to the Washington Redskins for eight draft picks in multiple drafts, many media members including myself saw it as a huge mistake. After Robert Griffin III’s rookie year in Washington (the quarterback the Redskins selected), the Rams appeared clear losers in the trade. After multiple injuries and a media circus around the revolving quarterback situation in Washington, the Rams are the clear front runners. Rams coach Jeff Fisher, who helped facilitate the 2012 trade had all six players currently on the roster that were drafted using Washington’s picks walk out on the field for the coin toss before the game to further rub it in the Rams faces.

Typically football teams have three captains for the game, so it is even more crazy that Fisher was able to do that. Of the six players acquired, Janoris Jenkins had 3 tackles, Greg Robinson was the starting left tackle, Stedman Bailey had two catches for 47 yards and Alec Ogletree had 7 tackles and a pass breakup. The Rams players really took it to the Redskins in a 24-0 shutout victory where Griffin only came in when starting quarterback Colt McCoy was sidelined due to an injury.

Like all sports, football is a business. The NFL is no different, with thousands of transactions across all 30 teams throughout the year. This is a situation where Jeff Fisher found some humor in the situation and was able to show it off in front of thousands of people in the stadium and millions at home. I love this situation because he did not say a single thing to draw attention to it in the press conference, and it was only brought up by a journalist that covers the Rams after the game. The St. Louis Rams not only won on the field, but won off of it as well. Well done.

Lance Leipold Leaving UW-Whitewater


NFL gains more popularity

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The NFL tweaked its schedule this year, having a Thursday night football game played every week, instead of the last eight weeks of the season like it has been for many years now. To increase this package, the NFL sold the rights to CBS for a $275 million one year deal. In turn, the viewership has risen to an average of 16.7 million viewers for the broadcasts, higher than ESPN’s Monday Night Football. The NFL Network has since taken over broadcasting the last few games and is seeing a 12 percent increase over viewership from last year’s games.

The NFL made an extremely smart business decision deciding to use CBS’s marketing power to promote games on both CBS and the NFL Network. It has seen an increase on shows broadcast after the game on the NFL Network and is helping the NFL gain more and more money. Despite many player’s objections to playing two games in five days for safety, the NFL is making a boatload of money from this deal.

As much as I love watching the NFL, it is an extremely hypocritical institution. They promote player safety, but hide research about concussions that players are likely to suffer from for playing. They force players to play two games in five days, which the players speak out about all the time. They do not heavily enforce steroid testing and had a terrible policy for domestic violence that has been well documented all year. Despite all of this, the NFL will continue to make more money that it has the previous years because more and more people, myself included, continue to watch the product. Football has become ingrained into American culture, and the people that tune in on all days of the week to watch it (including myself) are the biggest reason why it has.

Aereo Files for Bankruptcy

Three years ago, Aereo threatened every major television network. Their business plan was simple. The company had a small antenna that it would rent out to customers for $8 to $12 a month. Using that antenna, customers were able to capture over- the-air signals and watch television shows, live events, and movies from any internet connected television, phone, tablet, or laptop. They were also able to record these shows as well. After a Supreme Court decision that determined Aereo was violating copyright laws, Aereo attempted to try and change their business model at lower courts. After not finding any plausible solutions, Aereo was forced to file for bankruptcy.

I remember learning about this company in a class last year and thought it was very interesting model. Our teacher kept us updated on the legal battles that the company had to maneuver around, but I had not heard anything about it in quite some time. Although this business model is not feasible in today’s society, it is a precursor to new ides that can be introduced in the future. It really only was a matter of time before they would have to file for bankruptcy though after suspending their services since June.

I am sad to see that they filed for bankruptcy. I feel that they had a new innovation that got broadcast companies scared and looking for the next big thing. When companies are threatened, if they are good companies, they find new ways to improve their product in the future. When their product is improved, the customers are the real winners because they get the enhanced product. That is what really comes out of this case.


Sportscasting Edition of the Grantland Dictionary

Grantland is a sports and pop culture site that was founded by Bill Simmons just over three years ago. The site has churned out multiple sports dictionaries since then including basketball, football, baseball, and wrestling. Each one takes the humorous side of how the sport is described by the announcers, writers, and players. The sportscasting edition is no different, as it included definitions of phrases like, “play-by-play man (n.) — An announcer who recognizes a holding penalty about 10 seconds after you do.” Another great example is ““Tough shot … ” (exp.) — How a basketball announcer says, “Terrible shot.” Similarly, a referee’s “tough” call is a gross miscarriage of justice.”

These dictionaries inform the readers of commonly used sports terms, but also keep it light and enjoyable. I read just about everything sports-related article that Grantland produces, but these articles are definitely my favorite. I always learn a few new terms and find myself laughing out loud at some of the definitions given. When I have the time, I would love to try researching and writing a column similar to this.

I would definitely recommend any sports fan to read these dictionaries because not only are they humorous, but they are also informative. Non-sports fans would also be able to learn something from reading these articles as well. Grantland has many big advertisers such as Subway that are typically fighting for space on the popular website, and I can definitely see why. If I were an advertiser company, I would be paying a fortune to have my ad shown on their website because of its popularity.

New Long-form journalism start-up on the way

Jill Abramson and Steven Brill are combining to form a brand-new long-form journalism venture. The former New York Times executive editor and award-winning journalist/ Court TV  founder respectively want journalists to write “substantial, longer-than-magazine length articles.” The pair will give writers $100,000 to get the venture going. The site will offer only one story per month.

This is a stark contrast to most journalism sites that have many short articles posted daily, while Abramson and Brill’s idea will only feature the one article per month. It is an extremely unique idea that will serve as a large test study to see if other websites can mimic it. Free-lance journalists should be licking their chops in anticipation of having a chance to have their stories featured on the site that is yet to be named.

I think this is an extremely unusual business plan, and I am very interested to see how it pans out. I will definitely check this site out and see if it is feasible in the future. I have many doubts about it though because I am not sure how the site will be able to generate any kind of revenue. I would have to assume that advertisers would not be very interested in advertising in that type of website, but only time will tell. What are your thoughts on this revolutionary idea?

Minneapolis Star Tribune hosts open house

The Minneapolis Star Tribune is hosting an open house on Nov. 1 for all employees past and present to see the building one more time. The Tribune is relocating to a new building next summer, but wants to let all of the employees check it out one more time. The Star Tribune has been one of the leading Minneapolis area papers since 1920, which is cool to see that they are doing this for their employees.

With many newspaper companies merging and folding, it is a nice change of pace to see one company values the nostalgia that the employees felt about the original building they have worked in for years. This really hits home for me as an aspiring journalist as it really shows that this company values its employees. I am definitely interested in applying for either internships or jobs at this company now.

This also intrigues me as my local paper, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, is looking to move its building as well. The Milwaukee Bucks are looking to buy the Journal Sentinel building to build their new stadium on the property, according to recent reports that have just surfaced in the last few days. As a Bucks fan, I could not be happier because it shows that the owners are actually searching for new sites for the new arena to keep the Bucks in Milwaukee. I also have conflicted feelings about it though because I am sure that the Journal Sentinel building is just as historic to its employees as the Star Tribune’s. I definitely would love to tour the Journal Sentinel building now, before it goes away.


Is another long-form sports site needed?

When Bill Simmons launched Grantland in 2011 under ESPN, many other sports industries took notice. SB Nation and then Peter Gammons own website quickly emulated the Grantland long form sports writing model. Sports on Earth was also a very popular long form sports website, but they just fired 85 percent of their writers after losing a lot of money.

All of these reasons make NBC’s decision to launch their own long form sports website even more curious. NBC is calling it NBC Sportsworld and featuring writers Joe Posnanski, Joe Prince-Wright and Nick Zaccardi who are already digital contributors for NBC Sports. Along with the long form story-telling, the site will display documentaries and videos from the NBC Sports Group. The NBC Sports Group also includes the Golf Channel and NBC Olympics. One of the site’s first stories is a video where contributor Eric Angevine investigates how social media and YouTube have changed the way people view sports.

I am a huge fan of  Grantland. Bill Simmons is still my favorite writer/media personality, and he has hired fantastic writers that I look forward to reading everyday. The problem NBC Sportsworld will face is finding a media personality as polarizing as Simmons to attract readers to their site. That is where Grantland will have the advantage as NBC Sportsworld attempts to find its footing in the long form story section of the sports world.

What do you think about the NBC Sportsworld? Do you think it will be successful like Grantland or go the route of Sports on Earth and eventually fold?

Vine can be a valuable tool for journalists

Why is this topic important?

Vine is a fast-growing app that allows anyone to take a six second video on their phones. They can stop and start it at any time, they just take their finger off of the screen to do that. Journalists are able to get vine accounts and link it to their Twitter or Facebook accounts to give their readers a sneak peek of their story. They can also use it to post short clips of breaking news stories like Mashable’s Ashely Codiani did while covering the Ferguson protests.

Why do I find it interesting?

I had the vine app on my phone, but I did not post too many videos and eventually deleted it. If I were hired as a full-time journalist right now though, I would definitely re-download it to tease a few of my stories. Vine initially was very popular, but now is starting to fizzle out. I now only see it used for short comedy  posts linked to Twitter accounts. If this begins to catch on, I think Vine will make a roaring comeback.

What is my opinion on the topic?

Vine is mostly used for funny posts as I previously stated. I love watching the humorous vines that are constantly retweeted on my Twitter timeline. News companies could definitely take advantage of this platform and be able to use it to promote stories going forward. Working for the Royal Purple now, I really want to test it and see how my Twitter followers like it. Maybe this new trend catches on, maybe it doesn’t. One thing is for sure though, it is good to see media companies always looking for ways to expand and evolve.