Archive for September 2011

The Times are Changing

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Last Friday, my classmates and I went to see the documentary Page One: Inside The New York Times, and there were a lot of aspects of the film that stuck out to me.

There was the high stress, high energy environment that these journalists worked in, their ruthless cut-throat attitude they had in their pursuit for a story, and their sense of pride for their craft, and the company they worked for.

But then there was the question of whether or not social media was going to spell the end for the newspaper industry. This is what really stood out to me. But not in the way you'd think. It isn't really news to me that social media could possibly lead to the end of newspapers. It wasn't until the film introduced me to Brian Stelter, that I actually became concerned and shocked about where social media seems to be taking us.

Brian Stelter is one of the main journalists focused on in the documentary. Before landing a job with The New York Times, he was a well known blogger and user of social media, and it was his influence in social media that grabbed the attention of his future employers. Non of this is shocking to me either, as it's becoming clearer and clearer that your online brand has become part of your resume these days. However, watching Stelter's interaction with the the world around him was troubling.

As the camera filmed Stelter, wherever he was he was on his smartphone. It didn't matter if he was inside, or outside the workplace, he could not put his phone down. I think the problem today is not so much about the effect social media is going to have on print media, but more of what effect social media is going to have in our relationships with each other.

Are we able to put our phones down and still have a proper conversation with each other? Do we still look out the window on a car ride and watch the world around us? Do we still ever sit in quiet and stillness and appreciate the beauty around us?

As technology becomes more prevalent in our everyday lives, it is becoming more difficult for us to answer "yes" to any of those questions. That is the true problem with social media today.

More Than a Game

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On May 13, 2011, New York Rangers forward and tough guy, Derek Boogaard died in his Minneapolis apartment from an accidental overdose of alcohol and painkillers. Boogaard lived with depression.


On August 15, 2011, Winnipeg Jet forward and tough guy, Rick Rypien committed suicide at his home in Crowsnest Pass, Alberta. Rypien lived with depression.


On August 31, 2011, former NHL forward and tough guy, Wade Belak committed suicide in a condo in Toronto. Belak lived with depression.


Three players in one off season, gone. Were all three of these situations carbon copies of each other? Of course not. But are there similarities? Well, even by never knowing any of these men personally, the facts alone speak for themselves. 

On September 13, 2011, Michael Landsberg, the host of a sports talk show Off the Record, wrote a piece on the TSN website about the life and death of his good friend, Wade Belak. The piece was heartfelt, emotional, and most of all, important. 


Landsberg reflects on a man with an endearing smile. He even writes, "When I close my eyes and think of Wade the only memories I have are of him smiling". But, Landsberg also reflects on a man who lived with depression. It is there where the importance of the piece really stands out. 


Wade Belak, Derek Boogaard, and Rick Rypien all had the reputations of being "enforcers" in the NHL. This common bond that these players shared has raised eyebrows all over the country, and throughout the world of sports. The role of an "enforcer" is being put into question by the media, the public, and even the National Hockey League. And although that may be a very important conversation to have in the future, it's a conversation that I think is for another day. What makes Landsberg's article so important is that the conversation is left out. The article is important because hockey is left out of it. Because the deaths of Rypien, Boogaard and Belak go beyond simply the hockey rink. 


In his article Landsberg doesn't really touch on Wade Belak, the NHL player. He instead writes about his "buddy", Wade. And he writes about the disease that took his life. 


So for anyone reading this blog, I would like to encourage you to read the article written by Michael Landsberg. Because depression effects peoples lives every day, and I can't speak from experience. I can't reflect on losing loved ones to the disease. I can't really relate. But he can. So please give it a read.


Landsberg's piece on Belak can be found HERE

Slides

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Hello everyone,

My friend Mike and I made a video this summer. We would love it if you would check it out.

All the editing was done by Mike Froese, and all creative was done by the both of us.

Enjoy.



Twitter and Sports: A Strange (but delightful) Marriage

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Twitter makes watching sports more entertaining.

There. I said it. And I know all of you sports traditionalists out there are shaking your fists at me, but it's true.

When I first came across Twitter, I was very skeptical about the purpose of it all. But when I actually got connected with it, and eventually started following some very informative people, I started to encounter the endless potential that Twitter seems to have.

To explain further, let's take a look at the general format of standard sports programming.

First of all, there is the pregame show. Before the game starts there are usually interviews with the players, coaches, and other personnel. During this time there is also usually analysis from different sports personalities such as former players and coaches, as well as journalists with an expertise that is relevant to the sport that is being played.

After the pregame show comes the game itself. The presentation of the actual game is complimented usually by a play-by-play announcer and one or two colour commentators that are for the most part made up of either former players or coaches.

The other piece to a sports broadcast is what happens during the intermissions. For example, in hockey during each period there are brief interviews with the players, but for the most part there is more analysis of the game made by a panel made up of various sports personalities.

Generally, this is the routine of almost every sports broadcast you are going to see, which isn't a bad thing at all. But here's the thing: Twitter has all of that, and then some.

When you're on Twitter you can get all of the very same insight but from even more current and former players and coaches. You can also get insight from the sportswriters and personalities that you want. What's even better is that you get this all game long, and you don't have to wait for intermissions to see what people think, and have their opinions directed or censored by producers or executives.

Twitter gives your favorite personalities in sports the freedom to speak their mind, and when they do that, it really makes the experience of watching a sporting event that much better. On top of that, you're actually going to find that some of these athletes are not the robots that the post game scrums make them out to be. Some of them are actually really funny and entertaining!

I can talk about how great Twitter is for a while, but that won't really help persuade my readers into trying it out for themselves. The reason for that is because not everybody uses Twitter constructively in the perspective of a sports fan. Many athletes and sports personalities will flood your newsfeeds with useless updates, and observations that many people could care less about. But that's the purpose of this post; to direct you.

I'd love for people to experience Twitter the way I'm beginning to, so here are the top Tweeters that every sports fan should follow:

Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) and Darren Dreger (@DarrenDreger)
Both of these TSN insiders are great people to have on your news feeds. Their upside is that they are very connected, and often will deliver you the latest NHL news before it is ever reported on air.

Pierre LeBrun (@Real_ESPNLeBrun)
Pierre LeBrun, like the TSN insiders, is very connected and well respected in the hockey community as an NHL columnist for ESPN.com

Greg Wyshynski  (@wyshynski)
Greg Wyshynski is the editor of the very popular and well done Puck Daddy Blog and through Twitter he updates his readers with current news as it happens and links to his blog entries as they are posted. On top of that he often delivers the news in a clever and funny manner.

Bill Simmons (@sportsguy33)
Bill Simmons works for ESPN, and over the years has become one of the most popular sportswriters in the United States. Simmons writes for ESPN, but has also ventured into becoming the Editor-in-chief for his own website grantland.com. He's a great follow because he's the biggest sports nerd I've ever seen in my life, and with all of his knowledge and credibility, he still approaches sports from a fans perspective, which is very entertaining.

Paul Bissonnette (@BizNasty2point0) and Bobby Ryan (@b_ryan9)
As far as current players go, these are the guys to follow. The Anaheim Ducks forward Bobby Ryan is one of the premier youngsters in the NHL, and also hilarious to follow on Twitter as you can imagine by watching the video posted below. As for Paul Bissonnette, well, on ice he's a fourth-line enforcer (or as he would say "1st line bench") who plays on the Phoenix Coyotes. Bissonnette gets about as much ice time as the dude singing the national anthem. But, when it comes to Twitter he is hands down the MVP in the league.




Jay Onrait (@JayOnrait) and Dan O'Toole (@tsnotoole)
If you've ever watched TSN's Sportscentre, you will have gotten a taste of the hilarity these two sportscasters are capable of. Thankfully, their sense of humour translates very well to Twitter.




To tell you the truth, I really could go on and on about the sports personalities to follow on Twitter. I am following about 130 people, and probably close to 100 of those are sports related. The list really goes on and on. So if you read this post and are looking for more Twitter recommendations, then feel free to leave a comment and I will get right on that for you!

The new hockey season starts in about a month (and hopefully the basketball season as well...stupid lockout) and I truly hope that if you don't have Twitter, you try it out. I'm fairly certain that if you're following the right people, the way you watch sports will never be the same again.

-Joey Traa

Here We Go Again

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Ladies and Gentleman, I'm back.

I hope you've found the place alright. First off, I apologize for changing my blog up a bit, but it was time to start anew.

As many of you may know, I'm currently enrolled in the Creative Communications program at Red River College, and one of the exciting requirements is to keep up a blog during my time here. For those of you who are returning to witness my second stint at blogging, my hope is that you can enjoy this blog as much as my previous one. And for those of you who are new readers, welcome here.

Jesus, Jocks, and the Jukebox means more to me than a somewhat clever sounding alliteration. Sports, music, and my faith are passions of mine that adequately define who I am as a person, so when thinking of a title and topic for my new blog, I felt like these topics needed to be a part of it.

My hope is that by writing about this topics both individually, as well as their connection to each other in the world around us, you will not only enjoy my writing, but also discover further who I am as a person.

Let's see how this goes, hopefully you'll want to stick around.

-Joey Traa