Friday, January 17, 2014


Ricky came to town this week in Sports for Social Media (#sasm) class. Ricky O'Donnell, that is.

Somehow, despite himself, he inspired our kids anyway, Inspired them to work through, past and around adversity when it hits. Inspired them to conquer their fears and go for their dreams. Inspired them to achieve.

I'm proud of Ricky. He "...learned from the best," as he put it in addressing the class. Oh, wait, he was referring to me. Wasn't he?

Ricky has helped SB Nation maintain its razor edge in sports coverage. As one of its writers. One of its editors. One of its best, to put it simply.

Ricky got laid off somewhere else. At least it happened to him for the right reasons (pissed off an influential writer who subsequently put the mark of death on him with management). That writer is no longer as influential and has even lost some social-media privileges. Like, his Twitter account.

So just because Ricky suffered the consequences doesn't mean he was wrong.

All the while, the kids are taking notes (well, mental notes). They have to blog about the blogger. They have blogged well so far during this mini-semester course. They've earned their seats at the Twitter/blogger table.

Now can they earn a seat at the over-achiever table, because that's what it's going to take to make it in this industry.

I'm confident they can do it and I'll see the results of such in Sports Reporting and Advanced Sports Reporting classes this spring.

Ricky has outlasted many of his classmates who have given up on the industry. But it's what he knows how to do and he does it well.

See class? I told ya' to take notes.

For a reason.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014


Pay a visit to Comcast SportsNet Chicago and you come away with a new vision of what's going down in sports coverage.

This is not just television anymore. It's communication, anywhere, anytime, about Chicago's vibrant sports scene and all the characters in it. There's no such thing as a normal day anymore. No 9-to-5 employees. No days off, so to speak. Sports news doesn't break on a schedule most of the time, so neither does coverage thereof take place on a schedule, by necessity.

And the coverage is a two-way street. Viewers/fans/rabid opinion-leaders always have something to say, whether it's about Luol Deng being traded by the Bulls or Adam Eaton being acquired by the White Sox or just how well that Theo Epstein plan is playing out on the North Side.

If fans are talking about it, Comcast SportsNet Chicago wants to capture it and forever capture those fans doing the talking. And capture their buddies and their buddies and their buddies after that.

But even though it says "Dawn of a New Media Age" at the top of this blog, that's almost misleading. It's a constant dawn, a moving-target dawn, an evolution of sorts that is ever ongoing. It will produce the next great platform for everyone to chat on, the next great app on which everyone will post immediate reaction to breaking stories and the next great think piece by the insightful writers, analysts and columnists who comprise Chicago's lively sports community.

Now, about the Cubs and that 106-year-old hole without a World Series title. And the 69-year-old hole with that little curse...

Tuesday, January 7, 2014


The Flames got doused tonight in front of a "crowd" of 27, including all 14 of us from "Sports and Social Media" (#sasm) class.

The Youngstown State Penguins' (Penguins, really?) tall guys were too tall for the UIC Flames and hit shots from outside too. The Youngstown State guards were too quick and created too many turnovers for coach Howard Moore's host team (5-11, 0-2 Horizon League).

The Flames fell behind by 1 point on a 3-point buzzer-beater at halftime and never recovered after leading scorer (prospectively only scorer?) Kelsey Barlow got hurt and sat out and by the time he came back it was out of reach and he was playing like someone who resembled Kelsey Barlow but wasn't Kelsey Barlow because of his injury, whatever it was. UIC scored 7 points in the first 10 minutes of the second half and went bye-bye, ultimately by a final of 75-62.

Meanwhile, mascot Sparky flirted with the girls, played around with the kids and kept smiles on people's faces, to his credit, considering the size of the crowd and the temperature outside.

A few blocks away, the Luol Deng-less Bulls were surprising the Phoenix Suns. Much further away, Creighton was handling DePaul.

And if Northwestern played, they lost. Or will lose. Probably.

Tonight was about finding out what the Sports for Social Media kids (#sasm) could do online and in class, what they could write, coherently, and spell and punctuate and tweet. Like what I see so far but much reading to do the next few days.

Tomorrow we'll find out if they can blog. If they can't, they'll learn how, a lot how, next Monday when they blog away 5 hours (hint, hint, kids, write well, write carefully, proofread, spelling and grammar count and I've got the abacus out).

I'd suggest to my kids they study some other Twitter trails and blogs (Columbia grad Graham Couch at the Lansing, Mich., State Journal on Michigan State's game versus Ohio State last night) and my Juice This blog at and David Haugh on anything and everything at the Chicago Tribune and Daily Herald sports beat writers like Tim Sassone (Blackhawks) and Mike McGraw (Bulls).

Oh, I work there too.

See you kids at a prep game, well some of you. Remember, grades for J-Term are due the last Saturday in January, so get's get to work. The sooner you write your blog, the better and the more you remember (like tonight or tomorrow, preferably).