Friday, November 21, 2008

New York Times: A Couple of Beers and 140 Views of Yellowstone

I have a personal essay in today's (November 21) New York Times; it is entitled: The Slide Show: A Couple of Beers and 140 Views of Yellowstone.

It starts:

Every year of my childhood, my parents took my brother and me on one big trip. A few months later our neighbors, if they couldn’t think up a reasonable excuse, came over for the Slide Show. For those whose only memories of sharing photographs involve Flickr or iPhoto, I should explain that this involved tiny squares placed into an electronic projector to display oversized images as a friendly host droned on … and on … about what was in them.

Now people share photographs through e-mailed pictures, postings on a Web site or — for the truly ambitious — a digital movie accompanied by Coldplay. It’s all fun and easy, and I use all these modern image-sharing tools myself. But we have lost the great tradition of going on a journey and then, back home, telling your stories to friends and colleagues while they endure your 140 slides of Yellowstone.

All of the great explorers practiced post-travel show-and-tell rituals in some form, and many renowned institutions of exploration, like the National Geographic Society, were born from the desire to share unseen worlds, solicit funds and brag.

Most people who have actually experienced traditional slide shows are reading this and silently praying that I don’t try to revive them. But for me, our family slide shows held great meaning...

Click here to read the rest of the piece.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

CBC's The Fifth Estate: Head Games

Good program about concussions. It aired yesterday on CBC's Fifth Estate.

Head Games description:

They have been called the greatest football team in the history of the CFL — the Edmonton Eskimos of the 1970s and '80s that won five consecutive Grey Cups. But, for some of the star players on that team, the years of triumph ended ingloriously in early deaths, from heart attack, suicide and misadventure. The tragedy of those early deaths was often compounded by alcohol or drug addictions, probably caused by another, less visible, killer. Recent research by neuroscientists now shows the link between on-the-field concussions and brain damage; a permanent injury that can lead to depression, suicide and severe aberrant behaviour. The damage is so profound, the researchers say, that post-mortem examinations of the brain tissue of five former professional football players can be compared only to the tissue found in the brain tissue of advanced Alzheimers cases.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Homecoming: The Tattered Cover

As a Colorado native, I am looking forward to my reading at Denver's awesome independent bookstore The Tattered Cover tomorrow (Wednesday) at 7:30 p.m. The event will be at the Colfax store: 2526 East Colfax Avenue at Elizabeth Street.

Also, for anyone in the Denver area who can't make the reading, I will be on Rick Crandall's KEZW/1430-AM show on Wednesday morning at around 9:40 a.m., and Mile High Sports Radio 1510-AM at 5 p.m.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Information Overload: How sports have changed

From the 1920s, a time in which people had to imagine sporting feats through newspaper articles, to our modern sports saturation with the Web, radio, and television, the way we see sports has been completely altered. Sport reflects our dreams, the good and the bad parts of ourselves, and I wonder what modern instant-information gratification does to us. Do we enjoy sports more today, as we sit and watch a game, laptop on our lap, checking statistics? Are we more informed, or do we just have more bits of data flowing through our brain? Through the information overload, have we lost our emotional connection to sports?

Friday, November 14, 2008

New York Times: Tom Donnelly

This is an excellent story about Tom Donnelly, Haverford College's men's cross-country and track coach. The article, by Bill Pennington, was published in today's New York Times.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

South Florida Sun-Sentinel: The Galloping Ghost

Very positive review of The Galloping Ghost in the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.

"[Poole] traveled the country for two years to meticulously research Grange's life. The book is a quick, lively, unpretentious read that captures Grange's greatness as well as his day, and clearly details his role in the growth of the game. I would recommend this to football fans, as much as I recommended [Michael Lewis'] 'The Blind Side' earlier this year."

The reviewer is sports columnist Ethan Skolnick.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Mellissa Fung & journalism

I rarely venture outside the realm of sports and culture on this blog, but I am greatly pleased to read that Mellissa Fung, a classmate of mine at Columbia University some years ago, was released by her captors in Afghanistan, and that journalists cooperated so intelligently to help her live. Story from the Globe and Mail here, and click here for the CBC interview with Fung.


With the major changes happening in the media (pity the people of Los Angeles who only have a shell of a newspaper), I think we tend to forget the importance of quote-unquote mainstream journalists, and how many of them put their lives on the line to tell us stories of grand importance. While I think blogging and social media have a significant place in our media landscape, we should not simply do away with professional watchdogs. The Los Angeles Times seems to be laying off Pulitzer Prize winners every week, and they are not alone...Newspapers probably won't be around in ten years, but journalists are not simply moving on-line, they are leaving the profession. Difficulties in the newspaper business model should not mean destroying a profession built to help people stay informed. Media companies and the public need to reassess the value of journalism, and journalists, for the public good.

In a similar vein, I write about the impact of our modern preoccupations with news speed, not context, and how it relates to sports journalism in an upcoming issue of the Columbia Journalism Review. When it get closer to the publication date, I will have a link on In The Fray.