The conclusion of the semester is coming quickly at LUTV. I’ve learned a lot during the Super Semester. There have been some great experiences. When I think about all the hands-on experience I have gotten it is kind of mind blowing.
Since the last time I filed a reporter blog there have been some really significant news events and some fun experiences.
LUTV NFL Draft Show
The night of the first round of the NFL Draft is one of my favorite of the year. LUTV puts on a four hour, live show. It is a lot of fun. There are so many things you have to account for when producing live TV. I was an associate producer this year, and I also had the privilege of sitting on the desk.
There were some intriguing picks this year, and we also had some fun elements for the show. There were awesome graphics, player VOs, and we had an interview with Randy Karraker.
Everyone involved seemed to have a really good time. I love the team atmosphere of draft night. The pace is also tons of fun. Everything develops quickly and it is fun to try and keep up with what teams are doing what.
The Daniel Boone Home
I had the chance to go to the Daniel Boone Home in Defiance, Mo. and film a few weeks ago. It was a really neat experience. I’ll be putting together a package on the property shortly after this blog is published. It is a beautiful place. Lindenwood has owned the home and the other historically significant buildings surrounding it since 1998.
The home is approximately 30 to 40 minutes from LU’s St. Charles, Mo. campus. Because it is so far away, a lot of people do not want to make the trip out. The story I’ll be putting together will detail what goes on at the multi-acre property. They do everything from school field trips, to weddings, to hosting Lindenwood classes.
The head tour guide gave me a private tour so I could shoot video for the story. I got to go into parts of the houses most people do not have access to. It was neat to see behind the scenes, because you can see places where families had update the houses over the years. Manny of the houses are older than the state of Missouri itself, but they were all lived in for most of their existence. It is really only recently that they have become museum pieces.
I produced the news on Wednesday, April 17th. It was a long day filled with lots of emotions. Two days after the Boston marathon bombings we expected that to be our biggest story. It was a major part of our coverage, but sadly a tragedy closer to home ended up being higher in the A-block.
A Lindenwood freshman named Michael Black died in the early morning hours on April 17th. It was a difficult situation which required several debates in the newsroom about what was okay to report and what wasn’t. I will never forget that day.
Tears poured down Brett Favre’s face. His 15 plus year career with the Green Bay Packers was finished. With a Super Bowl and years of Lambeau leaps behind him he was positioned perfectly to ride off into the sunset.
Then it happened. In front of a packed Lambeau Field press room he uttered the words that would change his legacy forever.
“As they say, all good things must come to an end,” Favre said.
In the moment, it seemed a fitting end to a majestic career. It became a punch line, and the ensuing coverage caused many to question the merit of sports journalism.
Sports journalism is a term used to describe the industry that covers sports in a non-biased manner. Satuaration of coverage in certain situations leads some to believe the term sports journalism is oxymoronic.
Not only did Favre play again after retiring, but he didn’t miss a season. A few months later he reported to training camp. He was still wearing green, New York Jet green.
His public debate about endinging his short retirement played out daily on ESPN’s “SportsCenter.” North America watched as reporters staked out Favre’s Mississippi residence, and speculated his career status at the top of each hour.
A similar routine was repeated the following off-season. A premature retirement was followed by Adam Schefter and the “NFL Live” crew discussing Favre’s best option should he return. Meanwhile, viewers were treated to arial shots of Favre’s SUV.
After the 2010-’11 season, Favre retired for good as a Minnesota Viking.
ESPN’s relentless coverage of the Favre saga started a lot of conversations among sports fan. Most of them were negative, and not all of them were about Favre. It was frequently the work of the people covering him that was brought into question. The coverage, most fans agreed, seemed more like reality television than journalism.
Critics claimed serious journalists would not have given the Favre story as much coverage as it received. For a few months “SportsCenter” began to resemble “TMZ.” A MLB pennant race and NFL training camps were lost two straight summers as ESPN devoted every spare second to Favre coverage.
Situations like the Favre coverage are the primary reason skeptics say that sports coverage is not real news, but in fairness, network news stations are known to ride the ratings wave when it suits them.
Admittedly, sports journalism falls short at times. It inflates stories it should not. Journalist are people. They make mistakes.
People say sports journalism has to chase down the Favres of the world to get a story. That is not a fair assesment. Sports journalism frequently is more light-hearted than hard news, but at times sports become hard news.
The winter of 1980 was one of those times. As the Cold War simmered, the Lake Placid [N.Y.] Winter Olympics took on a significance beyond athletics.
A group of college aged Americans beat the U.S.S.R., one of the greatest hockey teams ever assembled. Worldwide people took notice. America made a statement not only about hockey, but political ideologies. It was a victory for capitalism and freedom, and there was not a thing about its importance that was sensationalized. Hockey played a real role in real life diplomacy.
The argument can be made that Lake Placid is only looked upon as a great moral victory because the U.S. won. That is a fair statement. If the Soviets had won, no one in North America would have been dismayed. Americans still would have considered western culture superior. Deep down inside, defeat would have undoubtably hurt though.
If the 1980 Olympics was misrepresented by journalists surely Magic Johnson’s story wasn’t. At one time, the world considered him a dead man walking.
Journalists chronicled his battle against HIV. Magic’s story proved being HIV positive wasn’t a death sentence, and the world was inspired to redefine the way it viewed people with HIV and AIDS.
Is sports journalism an oxymoron? The answer is no, at least, no more than a crime beat is. Sports coverage can turn into reality TV. That is the truth, but so can hard news. Any event can turn into reality TV. It is a reality world. When CNN reporters start showing up outside the homes of suspected killers the template is the same as ESPN’s Favre coverage.
Sports journalism is real journalism, practiced by real people. People mess up. They can can make poor decisions and sacrifice integrity for readers and viewers.
The process isn’t perfect, but the good news is there is a process. It brings us news, be it sports, politics or crime.