June 29, 2012
Euro, football, gigi buffon, italy, mario balotelli, Soccer, spain
In 2006, Italy won their fourth World Cup. At this point soccer fever had officially demanded its way into the United States. The media took note especially when ESPN inked deals with the Barclays English Premier League and La Liga to broadcast its games live on ESPN and on other platforms.
It’s now 2012 and the European Soccer Championships (Euros) are becoming riveting each day. For two solid weeks, Americans have tuned in on their computers and televisions to see fantastic footy. The Euros take the 16 best soccer teams and pit them against each other through group stages and then onto knockout games eventually leading to a team being crowned champion.
On Sunday, Italy is taking on Spain to determine who will take home the crown. It will be a riveting matchup between two countries with different mindsets, tactics, and playing styles. Spain have been largely built on being solid at every position. From goaltender to striker, they have a determined veteran player standing guard. Italy is slightly different. They have an aged albeit superb goaltender in Gigi Buffon. A staunch, quarterbacking if you will, midfielder in Andrea Pirlo. And a couple of special attackers who provide constant entertainment. Antonio Cassano, Antonio di Natale, and of course Mario Balotelli make the game fun and beautiful.
“Super” Mario Balotelli scored two superb goals for the Italians on Thursday against Germany and will be leading the charge against La Furia Roja on Sunday. Hopefully the teams will combine for a fantastic game full of excitement and drama.
June 29, 2012
healthcare, journalism, superme court
Instead of recapping why Thursday June 28 is now historic for a myriad of reasons, I think I will give my version of how the news of the Supreme Court’s decision broke.
I was leaving KOMU (the NBC affiliate in Columbia, MO) and was heading to grab some breakfast at a nearby McDonald’s. I opened up the iHeartRadio application on my iPhone and tuned it to an AM radio station, 1200 WOAI of San Antonio, TX (my hometown). I figured they would go live when the decision was announced. Instead, they were broadcasting regularly scheduled programming and only cut-in when the Supreme Court was about to make its decision, but it had not been announced yet. The regularly scheduled programming was The Glenn Beck Show (being guest hosted) and the hosts were constantly scanning Twitter and media outlets on the Internet to find updates on the decision.
What happened next was close to anarchy. The radio program announced that the healthcare law had been struck down and was no longer going to be active. They announced this because multiple media outlets reported this. This was quickly disregarded because not even five minutes later the verdict actually came down and the healthcare law ended up being upheld.
This exercise was important for the media to go back to its roots and relearn one of the most important rules. Trust but verify. Just because you are first doesn’t mean it’s factually correct. In this day in age, it’s important to adhere to one of the golden rules of journalism. Trust but verify.
June 15, 2012
basketball, David Stern, Gary Payton, NBA, Seattle, Seattle Supersonics, Shawn Kemp
Editor’s Note: I’m a huge proponent of bringing the Sonics back to Seattle. I strongly encourage people to watch Sonicsgate. The link is below.
Pardon the alliteration, I’m Addison Walton.
Residents of the city of Seattle showed up Thursday afternoon for a rally to bring back the Seattle Supersonics. Citizens of Seattle hope to bring a new team from another city to Seattle. This was great timing for the city for two reasons. First, the Seattle City Council is debating a plan to build a new arena for both a new NBA team and a possible NHL team. The rally also worked because the team that was stolen from the Emerald City, the Oklahoma City Thunder, played in game 2 of the NBA Finals Thursday evening.
Seattle Supersonics legends Gary Payton, Shawn Kemp and Detlef Schrempf all showed up for the rally as did current NBA players Nate Robinson and Spencer Hawes. But perhaps the biggest celebrity at the rally was financier Chris Hansen. Hansen has a proposal on the table to build a new arena in Seattle’s Sodo area and bring the Sonics back. (The Sonics depressing departure from the state of Washington was very well documented in Sonicsgate.)
What’s amazing about the support of Seattle fans is their love of the game. Despite being stomped upon by Starbucks, the city of Seattle, the state of Washington, the NBA, David Stern and many others, their love of basketball carries on. These people want basketball back so badly that 5,000 people showed up just to rally for a new arena. It’s an amazing story and one can only hope that Seattle gets its Sonics back soon.
June 15, 2012
David Stern, Interviews, Jim Rome, journalism, NBA, NBA Draft
In what went down as one of the most awkward and ridiculous interviews in radio history, NBA Commissioner David Stern had a showdown with radio host Jim Rome on Wednesday. As an avid listener of the show, I’ve heard multiple Rome/Stern interviews and they most always come off very chummy and professional. But this did not happen on Wednesday.
As any knowledgeable NBA fan should know, rumors have spread feverishly over the years of the NBA Draft Lottery being rigged from Patrick Ewing to the Knicks to this year’s NBA owned Hornets winning the Draft Lottery. So it was perfectly right for Rome to ask Stern about the lottery. Not only is it a fair question, it’s also a question that many listeners want answers to.
What followed was a very awkward exchange between the two gentlemen. Listen here. The interview turns testy when Stern asks Rome “Have you stopped beating your wife yet?” which is a completely unfounded question considering Rome has no rap sheet or even rumors of domestic abuse. The Rome/Stern interview was very awkward but also opened the door for prospective journalists to see how to handle an interview subject who is being difficult and outright mean.
Rome handled the interview very well and had great comebacks for Stern’s blatant rude attitude. Journalists should take note of this. The way to continue to have a conversation and talk with the person is not to be mean or rude right back to him, it’s to continue with the interview and be able to explain your point of view in a calm or collective manner. Many journalists thought that Stern handled the interview the wrong way and Rome did an excellent job. From Yahoo’s Adrian Wojnarowski to the Big Lead, many media members came out in defense of their radio brethren. Not only did the media, so did the American public. As the interview happened and the story broke, Twitter became a crazy house with all the chatter about the story and most people defended Rome and were shocked by Stern’s response. This proves that if you do your job right, people will side with you in the end no matter how high up the interviewee is.
June 1, 2012
Bob Ley, Brazil, ESPN, journalism, Outside the Lines, Soccer, World Cup
On Sunday May 27, ESPN took its popular investigative sports journalism show Outside the Lines to Brazil for a report on how the country is coming together to host the World Cup in 2014. I had high hopes watching this episode, seeing as that Bob Ley and crew have done some spectacular work over the years. The show featured some spectacular standups from Ley. He situated himself in the shade with a nice beachfront behind him and the slums of the poor community towering up the hills behind him. It was picturesque but also very telling of the country and its economic situation.
What was even more fantastic about the show was the choice of people that Ley interviewed. Of course he spoke with the head architect of the stadiums for the World Cup, but he also spoke with college professors, journalists, and most importantly a taxi driver. A solid two minutes of the show was dedicated to Ley and a cameraman driving around the streets of Rio de Janiero discussing who will be the coach for the World Cup. It was very wise to get a feel from the locals about the Brazilian national team.
Perhaps the most powerful segment of the show happened when Ley and a Brazilian professor (who was from the United States) traveled into the favelas (or slums) in Brazil. The two men showed what life was like now that the Brazilian government is trying to show the world it’s economic prosperity by enacting a form of eminent domain and kicking residents out of certain neighborhoods. Ley interviewed a liquor store owner who lived next to lots full of rubble. The store owner told the story of the government destroying houses in hopes that the community will flee. On their way out of the favela, Ley had the graffiti of the neighborhood explained (see pictures here) and it was extremely powerful.
Overall, this was a great episode with no flaws and another fantastic piece of investigative journalism from Outside the Lines.
May 31, 2012
Addison Walton, b2, basketball, San Antonio Spurs, sports
Nothing comes easy. Then why does a professional sports team make everything look so smooth? A competition of five versus five basketball at any level takes skill, talent, and a little bit of luck. For America’s most ignored team though it seems like child’s play. From an elastic Argentinian shooting guard to a crafty French point guard, the San Antonio Spurs continue to dominate anything thrown their way in the National Basketball Association.
As a San Antonio native, it’s a common complaint that our team does not get enough attention. Everywhere you go in the Alamo City people complain about the way the national media shuns our hometown heroes, but this year it’s not true. From this Buzzfeed story to this wonderful Sports Illustrated profile on Tim Duncan, the Internet deeply appreciates the way the Spurs have been playing basketball. Their tactical, beautiful, and inspired brand of basketball has driven them to success throughout the playoffs and regular season. In their first two games against Oklahoma City in the Western Conference Finals, the Spurs played fantastic for seven of the eight quarters. Their offensive performance was off the charts and they jumped out to a 2-0 series lead.
This brings us to tonight’s stink bomb against Oklahoma City. As a sports fan you should never root for your team to lose and believe me I want the Spurs to come out and dominate each night. But it did not surprise me that the Spurs lost their footing tonight. After stringing together 20 wins in a row, the Spurs fell by 20 points to the hungry home team. And that’s okay.
Saturday night will be a different story. This Spurs team does not need any motivation. The loss will inspire a team that normally does not need to be inspired. With stout coaching and flawless execution, I fully believe the scoreboard will look a lot different after game 4.