Monthly Archives: March 2011

Weekly Report: Survey gives us some anecdotal help

Here’s a couple helpful responses/data from the survey. We don’t have enough for the results to be statistically valid by any means (27), but it’s still telling early-on I suppose.

Interested in Sports: Split almost exactly half and half between interested and not.

Of those who did not want to do Sports, half liked sports but preferred covering other things. No one checked the “Sports reporting is not in-depth or multi-media friendly enough for me.”

Of those interested, almost a third (31.6%) disagreed with the statement, “the Missouri School of Journalism provides a sufficient amount of courses specific to sports journalism.” Half that number (15.8%) agreed with the statement. 42% of respondents answered I don’t know.  See some of the more telling responses below the stats portion of this email.

Of 19 people who didn’t skip the question, only 3 said they were “very likely” to pursue a career in Sports. The others split half-and-half between “not at all likely” and “somewhat likely.”

Half of the respondents interested in Sports Journalism classified themselves as “die hard.” One fourth considered themselves dedicated, three watched only the super bowl. 10% classified themselves as more than die hard.

Medium: 3 of every 4 respondents wanted to write. Photography 65%. Blogging 65%. Videography 60%. Radio 50%. Information graphics 40%.

Most respondents had covered sports on a personal blog or had not covered sports at all. About a third had covered sports for class credit and been graded on their work.

One of the respondents was Lynda, and another Karen. I don’t believe any of those quoted responses came from them.

What changes, if any, would you like to see to the availability of sports journalism classes?

To have them. [3/8/11 1:40AM]

I’d like the options to be more prominent. I know there are reporters at every newsroom that cover sports specifically, and there may very well be a course for it, but I haven’t heard of it. My one reporting experience was to do multimedia for a sports reporter at The Missourian and, as much as I enjoyed it, I had no idea how to shoot video of someone playing basketball in the most aesthetically pleasing way. [3/17/11 10:45PM]

Specific sports journalism reporting classes on all media platforms. [3/17/11 11:04PM]

I would like to see them promoted more, I didn’t know we had any![3/17/11 11:25PM ]

More information on what is available. I did not even know these classes were available to students.[3/18/11 12:40AM]

More options, opportunities [3/18/11 1:23AM]

More opportunities for beat blogging, online content, etc. [3/18/11 1:41AM ]

I would love to see a class on reporting about the business behind sports!!! [3/18/11 1:47AM]

Moving forward, these responses give us ammunition as we continue to hone our model and try to convince faculty inside and outside of the convergence program to follow suit.  We are attempting to set up a focus group before Spring Break. Stay tuned.


Weekly Report: First shot at tournament coverage, and the speed of research

First things first: This is a capstone class, so let me talk about the research and sustainability work we’ve done.
To be frank, we have very little to show for it at this moment. Two of us did this as part of our graduation project.  The other two have interests of their own, so Chris and I are emailing professors and drafting surveys for the student population. After one week of disseminating the survey through non-faculty channels, we have–count ’em–10 responses. Six of those have zero interesting in Sports Journalism.
On the other hand, feedback from professors has been remarkably positive, if not limited. We received plenty of responses to our initial general query about sports journalism as an interest area, and KBIA Sports Extra as a class. One man volunteered to teach. Several others volunteered to help out and participate in a meet-and-greet type thing.
In short, the wheels are moving. With their feedback, we should have a whole host of new things to lose ourselves in figuring out.
Now, to the tangible side of KBIA SE. I covered most of the Big 12 Championship tournament in Kansas City. I’ll be the first to say I was not happy with the amount of work I put out. I attended approximately two-thirds of all the games–excluding day one of the men’s tournament, which KBIA SE vet JJ Stankevitz covered. I tried to do at least a brief write-up after every game when I did go, but quickly abandoned that strategy because I couldn’t write fast enough. I keep running into the same problem throughout my sports reporting experience: I know what Sports Journalism looks like in the Denver Post, ESPN, and the like, but I have not had very much formal training. My photo editor has done a fantastic job telling me what’s good, bad, and forgettable about my photography. The director, who I suppose would be the defacto editor at large, is one of the most laid back people I’ve ever met. I love the guy even more after spending the weekend with him, but I can’t shake this feeling that I’m making mistakes and not knowing what those mistakes are.
At some point in my life I’m sure I’ll regret saying this…but I really wish I had the kind of blunt, stereotypical editor prick to come down on me during this pivotal stage of development. I don’t have a full picture from just watching our traffic.

Weekly Report: Shameless self promotion

I knew after I interviewed Mizzou guard Kim English last week that it had been my best interview in sports journalism to date.

I was only supposed to ask him about Twitter for my colleague Chris Spurlock’s “Tweeting Tigers” infographic. Leading an interview with a paltry filler question like that, though, made me think I would look bad in front of Kim English. Can’t have that.

So I followed up on a question from another reporter earlier in the media day: “how do you feel about the Carmelo Anthony situation, any thoughts?”

“I’m just worried about Mizzou basketball,” he said, and left it at that.

After they had cleared out and I had a chance to interview him on-one-one (no way in hell I was asking him a question about his twitter in front of professional and student journalists), I asked him if he had changed his game to be more like Carmelo’s. In a roundabout way he said, no..but maybe sometimes, yes.

His answer led me to ask what he had worked on this summer , asked whether or not he had had a chance to improve those skills at Mizzou.

The quotes he gave me allowed me to write a story that one of our founders complimented me for “not editorializing” and allowing English to tell. It also seemed to answer a question that everyone who follows Mizzou basketball has wondered all season: What happened to Kimmy, our most promising player from last year?

It received 1,101 hits as of this moment in less than a week of circulation. It’s the top-grossing text piece we’ve ever had, although the fledgling sports coverage began just before football season last August.

It trails behind the video of fans rushing the field after the Oklahoma game, a dog rising from the yellow sea of fans and staring straight at the camera. In the words of founder JJ Stankevitz, “it’s a traffic juggernaut.” Videos like those have viral capability. They may not be award-winning journalism, but they may help put you on the map. One doesn’t post those videos to go viral necessarily, but when it happens, it happens.

Shameless self-promotion aside, this story helped us get a better view of the impact KBIA Sports Extra can have outside of landmark game interest traffic like what the site experienced slightly before my time–I was doing work for KCTV5 then–after the victory over #1 Oklahoma.

As a result, we were able to disseminate the story out to more outlets here than any other previous stories. It disproved something I hoped against all along, that no matter how great of work we could do, we’re ultimately up against a wall doing multimedia coverage for a radio station.

Instead, our traffic has continued to spike since we began holding ourselves to a per-day content quota. This story, and a story produced by graphics ace Chris, both made their rounds locally despite the lack of burgeoning interest produced by, say, a victory over the best football team in the country.

If we can keep building on this momentum as basketball season wanes, it would be a very promising sign for our sustainability going forward.