Archive for July 2010

Sport, Event, Leisure

July 31, 2010

With a mountain backdrop, the Colorado Rockies take the field against the Cubs

What a beautiful evening for baseball.

Arriving in Denver a few days before a national conference, my wife and I bought two tickets on the street last night and got to the game just in time to snap this photo of the Colorado Rockies taking the field to start the game.

It became a game for the record books. The home team got a record 11 consecutive hits and 12 runs in the bottom of the eighth to demolish the Chicago Cubs, 17-2.

As I watched the game with the real Rockies in the distance, I thought about the Sport & Event Management Department becoming part of the School of Communications this summer. The department (formerly called Leisure & Sport Management) focuses on sport, leisure and recreation as well as the event planning, facilities, legal issues and other organizational components necessary to manage sports and events successfully.

The baseball game itself… sport. The handling of 40,000 fans… a large-scale event. My purpose as a spectator… leisure. Sport, event, leisure. The three are interconnected, and we are pleased to have Sport & Event Management as part of our school, complementing our sports media and strategic communications curricula.


The Times They Are A-Changin’

July 23, 2010

Singer/songwriter Bob Dylan has a wonderful way with words. He prefaces his memorable line about the changing times with the words: “You better start swimmin’ or you’ll sink like a stone.”

No better line can be applied to the communications revolution in progress.

Newsweek magazine, whose editor Jon Meacham will be at Elon in September, offers a page in this week’s issue about the communications revolution in the past decade.  For instance:

Daily newspapers DOWN (1,480 in 2000; 1,302 in 2010).  Active blogs UP (12,000 in 2000; 141 million in 2010).

Daily mailed letters DOWN (208 billion in 2000; 176 billion in 2010).  Daily e-mails UP (12 billion in 2000; 247 billion in 2010)

CD sales revenue DOWN ($943 million in 2000; $428 million in 2010).  iTunes downloads UP (0 in 2000; 10 billion in 2010)

And one more revealing comparison…  Time spent online UP (2.7 hours a week in 2000; 18 hours a week in 2010)

Take Me Out to the Ballgame

July 18, 2010

As a fun summertime event, the School of Communications invited its faculty, staff and families to attend a Durham Bulls baseball game together.

Thirty-nine of us did so. This photo, by assistant professor Nicole Triche, shows us in three rows — the first row sitting and the back two rows standing.

The Durham Bulls — forever linked in my mind to the 1988 comedy “Bull Durham” — lost the Friday night game to the Charlotte Knights, 6-4. Oh well. We ate hot dogs, enjoyed visiting with each other in a relaxing environment outside the workplace, and administrative assistant Phyllis Phillips retrieved a scorching line drive that fortunately slammed into her chair (instead of her head) on Row Z.

An Unusual Top 10, Globally

July 15, 2010

For the first time ever, those who lead Journalism programs around the globe gathered at the World Journalism Education Congress in South Africa last week to discuss the most pressing issues their programs face.

As president-elect of ASJMC (the organization of journalism and communication schools in the U.S.), I was asked to lead the sessions for deans, directors and department chairs around the world.

One of the sessions I led in South Africa. Those at this table represent China, France, Morocco, Qatar, United Kingdom, Nigeria, Cameroon, Burkina Faso and Ghana

Ten top issues emerged, some reflecting the substantive African participation. While this list does not reflect a scientific process, the findings are illuminating as a first attempt to identify and rank-order the leading issues cited by a global cross-section of administrators. The 10 leading issues in ascending order:

#10 – Student enrollment demands.  While this is a universal issue, it is particularly a problem in African nations where only a fraction of the students who want to major in Journalism are able to enroll.

#9 – Faculty diversity.  In Africa, this means the need for more female faculty to better reflect the student body that increasingly is female. In other countries, especially in the West, the emphasis on faculty diversity focuses more on the need for racial minorities.

#8 – Changes in curriculum and the emergence of new media.  The challenge is staying abreast in an age of radical change, building and maintaining a balance of theory and practice, and revising courses and curriculum to reflect the growth of multimedia.

#7 – Specificity of Journalism.  Delegates said that Journalism needs to remain a distinct discipline and not be absorbed into the general world of communications.

#6 – Textbooks and instructional materials.  Journalism heads in African nations lament the shortage of books for their students – books that are affordable and authored by Africans. In the West, the challenge is a different one – getting students to buy useful books in an online age.

#5 – Electrical power and Internet connectivity.  An unreliable energy supply appears primarily to be a problem on the African continent. Education is disrupted when classroom lights flicker off, or computers can’t be turned on, or access to the Internet is interrupted.

#4 – Government issues.  These are “free press” issues revolving around licensing, restrictions, censorship and self-censorship, which appear more a problem in Africa and Asia than in other regions of the world.

#3 – Faculty hiring and retention.  Salaries tend to be low, which cause Journalism programs in non-Western nations to lose qualified faculty to industry or to exchange programs in other countries.

#2 – An ethical disconnect with journalistic practice.  Journalism heads in Africa refer to a disconnect between the classroom and newsroom. For instance, they teach ethics, then students go into internships where they see some journalists engage in payoffs and bribery.

And the No. 1 issue faced by administrators attending the World Journalism Education Congress…

#1 – Technology and infrastructure.  For those on the African continent, infrastructure issues range from a shortage of facilities to the need for technology such as computer labs and cameras for student use. For those in other parts of the world, this challenge translates into diminishing program budgets because states and nations are facing growing debt.

Desmond Tutu on Journalism

July 14, 2010

South Africa not only hosted the soccer World Cup this month, but also the second-ever World Journalism Education Congress.

More than 300 delegates around the globe gathered at Rhodes University in Grahamstown from July 4-7 to talk about the state of journalism education, from new technologies to the forces that hold back freedom of expression in many countries.

The highlight of the Congress was the closing address by 78-year-old Archbishop Desmond Tutu, who rose to global acclaim in the 1980s as an opponent of apartheid and was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

Tutu spoke at Elon several years ago, and he remains a vibrant voice for moral and ethical clarity, as shown by the two-minute video of the closing festivities produced by the WJEC staff.

From Cape Town to Dungbeetle Lodge

July 13, 2010

The Parsons in Cape Town, South Africa

This being our first time on the African continent, Mary Helen and I built a week of travel around the World Journalism Education Congress.

South Africa is a nation of contrasts. Cape Town is beautiful, yet we saw the poverty in the townships that is the nation’s greatest challenge. We traveled to the Cape of Good Hope where the Indian Ocean meets the Atlantic Ocean, and we visited Robben Island where Nelson Mandela was held prisoner for two decades. We stayed at the delightfully named Dungbeetle Lodge near Port Elizabeth and went on safari. These photos of ours show a slice of our leisure week.

Townships reflect the still-considerable poverty in the country

Into Schotia Private Game Reserve

We spent a half-hour watching this family dynamic

A face-to-face moment for two eland, a species of antelope