Sports journalists are reckoning with USC’s uncertain season

first_imgThe Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum’s press box may have limited capacity to accommodate the six-foot social distancing guidelines. (Sara Heymann | Daily Trojan) “You could cover the game from home, and you’d almost have the same access,” Weber said. “I think the one thing you would miss … is, what is it like in terms of the fans and the access, and what does it sound like and what does it feel like, and you can’t quite get that on television.” Or maybe they are among the lucky few who have been granted press credentials and given the opportunity to squeeze into their own socially distant corner of the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum press box with no more than 20 other people, squinting down at the field and catching the red glare of the empty stands that beam back at them.  But for Kartje, beyond news of the University ending its disassociation with former USC football legend Reggie Bush and the creation of the United Black Student-Athletes Association to combat racial inequity in the Athletic Department, he is careful in predicting whether the news cycle will flourish or hit the wall completely without the guarantee of a live sports schedule. “You’re still trying to create content, and they’ve made coaches and players available for more long-form stuff,” Abraham said. “I’ve done some live YouTube videos with coaches for, say, 45 minutes apiece… It’s been nice to maybe get the players and coaches in a different environment where instead of, like, three minutes after practice you get them for 45 minutes. You get a real better feel for what’s going on in their lives.” “We’re kind of at the mercy of whatever USC decides they want to let us do in some regard — not in every regard, but it makes it a lot tougher to actually tell these stories and, you know, to really serve in sort of a watchdog role,” Kartje said. “That element is pretty much impossible.” With a smaller outlet like, one additional respite from the pandemic-induced sports paucity has been breaking news. From the announcement of different L.A.-based recruits that has USC sitting at No. 7 in the nation for overall 2021 team rankings to the six new assistant coach hires that will round out the Trojans’ arsenal, fans seem to be chomping at the bit for news that looks favorably for USC after the past couple of years, even if it isn’t an announcement about head coach Clay Helton’s status. In another dimension, Weber said he would put his high school football coaching knowledge to work on providing readers with ghost notes from practices, along with a five-to-seven minute analysis of impressions, implications and updates that cover the already limited 20 practice minutes reporters were allowed to observe. So far, the press has only had access to one practice back in March before campus shut down.  Or football might not even happen.  Following the announcement, USC Athletic Director Mike Bohn released a joint statement with UCLA Athletic Director Martin Jarmond on Twitter expressing their tentative satisfaction with the Pac-12’s confirmation. One point in particularly good graces was the flexibility of the new schedule, allowing the crosstown matchup to be moved from Sept. 26 to Oct. 31 or Dec. 12 should earlier conditions not bode well for the health and safety of athletes and staff. “It’s tough because I’m not sure that [USC] really knows,” Kartje said. “It’s such a fluid situation, but I have spoken with [Sports Information Director] Tim Tessalone a little bit just kind of hypothetically on what the media situation might look like. I’m still pretty hesitant that it will even matter, because I don’t think there will be a football season.” “I have to imagine, you know, especially in the situation that journalism in the economy is — it’s a time that it’s important to show that you’re important, especially when you’re a sports writer and the sport isn’t actually playing, so that is definitely a concern,” Kartje said. “I’d imagine other people in my situation have similar concerns.” Even with gamedays shaping up to be a distinct divorce from the typical USC football experience, sports journalists have already lamented the lack of coverage that everyone from the casual to the uber-fan enjoys heading into a game. “You’ll still be able to talk to selected players and selected coaches after practice, but it won’t be the same as actually seeing it or being there or being able to change hands there and get your direct impressions from what you’re actually seeing,” Weber said. “I don’t know how that’ll play out but it won’t be the same as what it’s been.” The other side to creating content is reader engagement, which Weber has gleaned has stayed constant if not improved because of USC’s uncanny ability to attract media attention. Kartje is more cautious to make this claim but recognizes a lasting effect in how national news surrounding the Black Lives Matter movement and the NCAA’s adapting policies on athlete name, image and likeness will change sports journalism. “Basically, the goal of SIDs everywhere is to provide the highest quality work environment and proper access to the media, as well as a similar experience whether the media is able to attend games in person, or because of personal health issues, space/access limitations, budget concerns or other reasons, they must do so from elsewhere,” Tessalone wrote. Additionally, Abraham was able to adjust some of the site’s content output because coaches, staff and players were more available to interview during the most restrictive of the quarantine period. Fifty-seven days before teams were hoping to invite competing schools onto their campus or pack up for a road game, the Pac-12 CEO group approved a conference-only format for football. The Trojans are slated to participate in a 10-game schedule, kicking off the strange season with a familiar and rousing matchup against UCLA. These are some of the many scenarios that reporters such as Dan Weber of, a website offshoot of 247Sports that provides news and content directly related to the Trojan football team, are anticipating as they wait for an announcement from the USC Athletic Department that will come … eventually.  Sports journalists may be gearing up to report on the 2020 college football season from the best seat in the house: their couch. After inching closer to the television screen and wrapping up play-by-play coverage, they might head to their home office to catch a postgame press conference hosted over Zoom. Despite the in-person uncertainty, Ryan Abraham, founder of, said he appreciates the University’s increased access and communication as decisions are made. Kartje, along with Abraham and Weber, anticipate that if fans can’t attend games, if the classic Notre Dame-USC rivalry isn’t renewed at the Coliseum this fall and if the stadium goes completely quiet, sports journalism will probably never be the same in the coronavirus’ wake. “You can just see it with conversations about other things about NIL, about, you know, in terms of systematic racism and college athletes kind of taking a role in that,” Kartje said. “So I do think some doors may open in terms of society, how we look at athletes and their role in the full system as far as journalism goes.” There is already much speculation as to what this kind of work environment might look like if it is in person. Kartje and Weber both acknowledged that the press box sitting mightily above the gridiron already doesn’t provide much elbow room as it is, and to imagine the capacity being limited to no more than a quarter — ultimately limiting who and what outlets get to report — brings up other discouraging but ultimately critical questions: Are the stadium managers going to let them into the elevator up to the press box one at a time? Does each reporter stand in their own socially equidistant circle? Are photographers and videographers going to be let on the field to document the action? All remains to be seen. As a veteran football beat writer and former college sports administrator at Northern Kentucky and Xavier universities, Weber is worried not so much about the ability of journalists to report on the games themselves but rather about recreating the game day energy that makes USC football especially stimulating. Finding new leads is the hinge of a reporter’s work, which Abraham describes as a “content tree,” where one interview might give rise to four or five different stories. Given the limited review of practices contrasting with the increased time to talk with coaches and players, a story that might’ve been a predictive analysis of offensive coordinator Graham Harrell’s Air Raid offense might turn into a deconstruction of remarks that junior safety Talanoa Hufanga made about the cohesion of the Trojan defense. For journalists like Kartje and others at large publications, staffers could soon see major ramifications for their daily functions as outlets move on in the possible absence of college football. Kartje could see the Times moving him to report on the NBA or even to join the news desk as the paper tries to keep up with the slew of coronavirus-related developments. So are football beat writers racing to register press credentials and already driving to the Rose Bowl to find a good parking spot? No, and they shouldn’t, said Ryan Kartje, the USC beat writer for the Los Angeles Times.  In an email to the Daily Trojan, Tessalone wrote that schools’ sports information directors and the media, including the Football Writers Association of America, will accommodate local and state public health guidelines and apply these plans to all fall sports. “At this point I’m just hoping journalism makes it through the pandemic still intact,” Kartje said. “But I think out of this will, you know, maybe we emerged as a more skeptical media, who is sort of on the lookout a little bit more and maybe, maybe that’s a good thing — I hope. I’m trying to be optimistic when it comes to that stuff in terms of journalism.” Note: This article was written prior to the postponement of Pac-12 sports through 2020.last_img read more


first_imgThree national champion horse-carriage drivers have set off on an epic journey from Donegal to drive a horse and trap the length of Ireland.The horsemen left Malin Head yesterday.Dan J Spillane, 58, from Macroom, Co Cork, cracked the whip to lead the fundraising drive from scenic Malin Head early yesterday in the hope of completing the 750km journey to Mizen Head in Cork next week, raising money for cancer research along the way.The Ballinagree Horse Driving Club member, who has been driving horses for over 20 years, said it has been a dream of his to complete the trip using a horse and carriage. “It’s something I always wanted to do and I thought if we’re doing it, why not collect money along the way, and make a holiday out of it,” he said.He and his team hope to raise around €40,000 for the Breakthrough Cancer Research, the fundraising charity for the Cork Cancer Research Centre at Cork University Hospital.HORSEMEN LEAVE MALIN HEAD ON EPIC JOURNEY was last modified: July 10th, 2014 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:donegalhorsesIrelandlast_img read more

Young South African in the US for science programme

first_imgLehlogonolo Msuma is representing South Africa at the Broadcom Masters (Math, Applied Science, Technology and Engineering for Rising Stars) International programme in the US for her research into marula seedlings.Lehlogonolo “Nolo” Msuma is in the US from 14 to 19 May to take part in the Broadcom Masters (Math, Applied Science, Technology and Engineering for Rising Stars) International programme. (Image: Bush Babies Environmental Education, Facebook)Compiled by Priya PitamberA young South African scientist is in the US participating in the Broadcom Masters (Math, Applied Science, Technology and Engineering for Rising Stars) International programme.Thirteen-year-old Lehlogonolo “Nolo” Msuma’s inquiring mind led her to question why there were only old marula trees in her community, in Phalaborwa in Limpopo.“We only know that big trees are being eaten by elephants, goats, cows and wanted to know [what] the small seedlings of marula were being eaten by; I found out that they were being eaten by rodents,” she told the national broadcaster, the SABC.“Marula trees, which are seeing a decline worldwide, are important for Nolo’s community because they provide fruit and are home to many birds as well as larger animals,” reads the Broadcom Masters Facebook page.Nolo is in Los Angeles from 14 to 19 May “for a week of fun and engaging hands-on science and engineering activities”.Research and findingsNolo said she found that the Bushbuck gabble and the Namaqua rock rat were eating the marula seedlings daily.In her project, she outlines various ways in which this can be curbed to allow the trees to grow.The fruit from the tree is used in many ways in her community: to ferment alcohol, and to make soap and jam.Nolo would like to become an environmental scientist because she believes South Africa can make positive contributions to global research.The programmeAccording to the Broadcom Masters International website, each delegate is chosen for “their excellence in science, engineering and leadership”.“They are rising stars who come together to represent their nations for this international exchange.”Participants come from Japan, Mexico, South Korea, Puerto Rico and many more countries.“There is a sense of urgency to inspire more young people to become the scientists and engineers of the future,” said Paula Golden, president of the Broadcom Foundation, speaking about the national leg of the programme in the US.“Our quality of life depends upon solving the grand challenges in health care, transportation, communication, environmental protection and sustainability.”About NoloNolo is a Grade 8 pupil at Gerson Ntjie High School and an ambassador for the Bush Babies Environmental Programme.School principal Vivian Kganyago said she hoped other students would follow in Nolo’s footsteps, despite the school not having a lab in which to work. “I hope Gerson will be known not only provincially, nationally but internationally,” she said.See Nolo speak ahead of her departure to the US:Other than an interest in environmental science, she “enjoys reading, writing poetry, singing, and researching the latest fashion trends”, reads the Broadcom Masters Facebook page.Sources: Broadcom Masters, SABCWould you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See Using Brand South Africa material.last_img read more

Why I Write Using a Plain Text Editor

first_imgI wrote my first book, The Only Sales Guide You’ll Ever Need, using a text editor called Ulysses. I wrote my second book, The Lost Art of Closing: Winning the 10 Commitments That Drive Sales using that very same app. To work with editors, I had to export the chapters into Microsoft Word, because that is the tool that editors use.Almost everything I write, outside of some very basic emails messages, is written in this plain text editor. All of the blog posts here over the last three or four years were written in plain text.I write in a text editor because there are no distractions. Even though there is markdown available to bold or underline or create headers, I never use any formatting while I am writing. There isn’t any reason to use formatting. When you are writing, the only things that matter are words, sentences, paragraphs, pages, and ideas. Everything else is superfluous.A text editor is different from a browser-based writing application, be it Google Docs or Microsoft Word 365. The browser opens up temptation. What’s in my email inbox? What’s on the social channels? With a text editor, you have a blank page and a blinking cursor—and nothing else. It serves a single task: it is a place for you to create using words.Writing in a text editor is more like writing using a typewriter. You bang on the keys, words appear, you love some of them, you hate others, you hit the delete key to remove what doesn’t work, retype the very same idea using different words, recognize that the new words still don’t capture the idea, and you back up and start over again. Once. Twice. Many times.There is something about the minimalist tool that is a text editor that allows the words to come more easily. There is a purity to the act of writing using the simplest of tools, having all of the options that constrain the writing removed or eliminated. It’s just you and your thoughts and your words, or the words that come through you from somewhere outside of you.If you haven’t written using a plan text editor, do give it a try. You may find that the words come more easily, and that they assemble themselves with a lot less effort. Get the Free eBook! Learn how to sell without a sales manager. Download my free eBook! You need to make sales. You need help now. We’ve got you covered. This eBook will help you Seize Your Sales Destiny, with or without a manager. Download Nowlast_img read more