Joe Ovies

Losing my (ACC media) edge

Posted April 22, 2013

In a recent issue of The Basketball Times, U.S. Basketball Writers Association president John Akers looked at the influence of the ACC Tournament on journalism and how the 60-year-old event created a region of longstanding sports writers.

Caulton Tudor, Lenox Rawlings and Barry Jacobs are just a few of the writers who cite covering the ACC Tournament as something they aspired to and went as far as to influence career choices down the road. As the influence of the tournament has waned, argues Akers, so has its grip on the younger generation of journalists.

"There are plenty of reasons for concern that the next generation of ACC writers might not be such as lasting one," writes Akers. "Call it a cultural change."

However, it's not the culture that's changed. It's the business.

For starters, the newspaper industry is in its current position because of a failure to adapt to the shifting media landscape. As a result, plenty of young writers who have done outstanding work on their respective beats aren't sticking around. It's hard to when the newspaper keeps putting them on furlough, moves their copy desk to an office in Chicago or simply buys them out. Those who decided to stay and plug away at their paper must deal with vanishing travel budgets and constantly changing corporate visions. 

Even the notion of "writer" is antiquated. Folks who want to get somewhere in the sports media game must be multitasking content generators for various platforms. There were plenty of those in Greensboro back in March and all of the work was accessible if one cared to look beyond a physical paper. We're living in an era where sports consumers have an incredible amount of resources to choose from and there are talented people providing it.

Which makes it even more ironic The Basketball Times doesn't make their articles available in digital form, yet I discovered it through social media thanks to Shawn Krest. The publication prides itself on being "old school," where I just see it as limiting your audience.

Krest has his own thoughts on the article, correctly pointing out the current crew of media members works and plays just as hard as the old heads. Where Krest treads lightly in not wanting to insult the older generation, I have no problems pointing out that lamenting the loss of the good ol' days ruins the enjoyment of the present.

David Teel of the Daily Press, a veteran media member who does a fantastic job embracing the new platforms available, actually got it the other way around when recalled some of the legendary hospitality room antics of Bill Brill.

"The new crowd didn't appreciate the irony and humor involved in any of it," Teel said. "It was like, 'Who is this old codger and why do I care what he thinks?"

Speaking only for myself, the appreciation has always been there. I think most others in the current generation would say the same thing. Without those "codgers," who many of us read while getting into the business, where else would one gain an appreciation for history?

Don't become the ACC version of LCD Soundsystem's "Losing My Edge," getting caught up in retaining your relevance as the old institutions of media give way to a decentralized landscape with more voices and views. You'll find that actually, everybody is really nice.

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  • StunGunn Apr 23, 2013

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    I hope you're right, but I'm not so sure. I've subscribed to the N&O for over 22 years, and I've seen them cut their sports writing staff over the past several years. They've let some of their really good writers go, and while the guys that are still there are good, it's sad to see so many talented writers sent packing.

  • charlesboyer Apr 22, 2013

    Joe is right in that the media are changing. Where he misses the point somewhat is that "multimedia" are automatically as capable of delivering the depth and the nuance that the printed word is. If recent history serves as a guide, they aren't -- or at best, they are not living up to their capability.

    Look at WRAL's game coverage in their ever-shorter sports segment on the evening news. At best, it is an abbreviated sysnopsis of the games with highlights taken from generally poor angles. They are getting the "who," the "what" and the "where" down fine, but they all to often miss the all-important "why."

    Now compare and contrast that to a well-written sports story by an "old-school" journalist. The same information will be there, albeit without the glittering visuals and cheers, but it will have the one additional bit of information necessary: why one team beat the other that day.

    Both have a place, but rare are the times that "multimedia" truly tells a story better. And that is why the printed word can and will endure.

  • larrys080 .v1 Apr 22, 2013

    Ovies.....you do not understand journalism and it shows!

  • cjw6105 Apr 22, 2013

    I don't think the ACCT is "right up there with the Masters as far as importance in ACC Country."

    Things have changed. The ACCT tickets that used to be among the most coveted in all of sports can't be given away nowadays. I'd rather watch the early rounds of the Masters in standard definition on tv instead of being at the ACCT for the Wednesday and Thursday rounds. Do you really think Tobacco Road fans are looking forward to the addition of Pitt, Syracuse, Notre Dame and eventually Louisville? About as much as they like having Miami and BC in the ACC, probably.

    Make no mistake, the greedy new breed of school and athletic administrators has sold out long-term rivalries in pursuit of the almighty dollar, and in the process they have forever changed the ACC for the worse.

    And as far as the old school reporters/sports writers are concerned, they're gone, along with the more conservative political opinions you used to find in newspapers. Now, the papers are full of liberal, even ultra-liberal ideas, and those ideas have spilled over into sports.

    It's my opinion that many if not most of the sports writers nowadays are no more than political hacks, being told by their publishers/bosses not just what to write, but how to say it as well. Pushing agendas has replaced reporting sports.

  • StunGunn Apr 22, 2013

    View quoted thread



    The ACCT has been my all time favorite tourney - even better than the NCAAT because I'm familiar with all the teams, players, coaches, etc. I understand the ACC has to add schools in this "eat or be eaten" world of college sports, but I sure do miss the days of nine teams and round robin in basketball.

  • baldchip Apr 22, 2013

    The ACC Tournament is under seige by this new generation who would rather sit at home and watch tv-see it on the net, or on replay instead of live and in living color in Greensboro. I'm sure the big mouthed new members will want this in New York! We'll see!! (Jimmy Beyheim of Syracuse-if you don't like Greensboro-why do you join the ACC?)

    In addition, with the newer teams who do not understand or care about the value or history of this wonderful event, their seat allocations need to be reduced so real fans cane get a seat.

    This event is right up there with the Masters as far as importance in ACC Country.
    It's far more important than most bowl games.

  • Ken D. Apr 22, 2013

    View quoted thread



    "Connected" too often means unprotected from the barrage of "information" or what passes for it. Massive amounts of data, factoids and opinions, without a reliable filter, just constitutes noise. Real information is what happens when someone or some thing reliably and objectively synthesizes all that noise.

    Even if all opinions get equal access to those who are "connected", that doesn't mean they are all equally valuable.

  • Hammerhead Apr 22, 2013

    View quoted thread



    Same here. No cell phone, no watch. Not anti-technology, I've made a pretty good living playing with real high-tech analytical equipment, just don't want to be accessible to anyone, nor a slave to trends. I feel like I'm the one who's actually "connected".

  • StunGunn Apr 22, 2013

    Media certainly has changed over the years, and while its accessibility has improved exponentially, I am more old school than new. I don't own a smart phone and I don't "Tweet" or text. I like to read newspapers and books - the ones with paper pages. I guess that makes me old, but I don't care.

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