NOT A DRILL. A full copy of Kingdom Hearts 3 has been stolen and leaked. BE CAREFUL!

Someone has STOLEN a copy of Kingdom Hearts 3 and is leaking things online. DO NOT share or retweet any of this content with me or any other Kingdom Hearts content creator.

Mute any words related to Kingdom Hearts 3 on social media if you want the game to remain pristine for you on Jan. 29!

Follow me on Twitter(but DO NOT send me spoilers): twitter.com/theOG_DANIMAL

Where sports journalism will be in 20 years

I’m only guessing

Image result for sports journalism

As someone who plans to be involved in sports media over the next 20 years, it’s about time I stepped back to take a look at where sports media is now and how it could move forward.

As society grows on into the future, people are only going to become more attached to technology. Newspapers are surviving at the moment, but digital subscriptions will likely eclipse physical papers in a few decades. What that doesn’t mean, however, is the elimination of storytelling. I’d like to get this point out of the way early. The quality of work that goes into sportswriting will not fall victim to time.

If I could throw sports in alongside death and taxes as life’s certainties, I certainly will. How could I not? Every year, people go back to their teams. Sports seasons are a part of society’s routine life. With those sports seasons must come sportswriters. Whether they report, blog, investigate, analyze, overanalyze or criticize, the media will always have a place in sports. Regardless of the medium, the sportswriting will remain as consistent as the sports themselves. The unscripted drama that sports provide is an unmatched thrill that spans generations. The media must take that unscripted drama and interpret in a way that makes the story just as important and memorable as the moment. It seems that the ways in which people receive their news is the only thing that’s changing. Other than that, people will always need their sports and their sports news.

The platforms on which people receive their sports news is a vastly growing horizon. Given that social media platforms are the quickest and easiest way to get news out there, sportswriting has adapted alongside it. Every major news outlet is now on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Snapchat or some other sixth one. If there’s a sports media outlet not on social media, they’re losing. As younger athletes of the technology age take over their respective leagues, social media has turned into a place where news is broken first. If a player wants out of their contract or if they are joining a new team or they just so happen to like Lucky Charms, social media provides a mean for reporters to gather content. Considering that social media is where any team or player can connect with their audience, any sportswriter, blogger or media outlet can connect with that same audience.

I don’t really see where social media adapts from here. As of now, the quick, clipped aspect of social media is what’s winning over many eyes. That doesn’t mean that sports media and the work that goes into it should completely put their eggs into the basket of brevity. If ESPN needed to trim a small portion of Lisa Salters’ interview with Kareem Hunt to promote that interview on social media, ESPN nor Salters should get upset with people engaging with that post. I’d say something like that trimmed promotion would get people to go watch the full interview. I think outlets like ESPN should have their interests across many platforms. Judging by the rise in social media, it’s best that all media outlets work just as hard in their social media department as they do in their investigative reporting department. There’s no foreseeable end to the social media platform, so I think that sports media should continue to rise along with it because that’s where both the audience and the athletes are.

For all the voices that are out there, I say keep speaking, writing, blogging, vlogging, or tweeting. The sports media market is home to so many voices. ESPN is clearly the behemoth of them all but places like Bleacher Report, The Athletic, The Undefeated, Sports Illustrated, SB Nation, Barstool Sports or any of the sports sides of the network television channels are all places to consume sports media. Each of them have unique voices and they’re all adapting to modern technologies while also sticking to classic, quality sports journalism. And yes, I include Barstool.

Here’re my two cents on Barstool. They were born out of the social media age and are thriving in it. I’ve noticed purists to sports media trash on Barstool, but I think it’s because they’re the new kid on the block. Just because it’s not sports media in the traditional way, people tend to hate their content. I don’t like all of their content. But I don’t like all the content that ESPN or Bleacher Report put out either. Barstool is good at what they do because they were born in the social media age. Some of the more distinguished outlets have even started mimicking Barstool’s habits whether they’ll admit it or not. I just think Barstool must be given their due in the world of sports media because there’s no foreseeable end to them just like all the others.

Given that there are many voices out there, it’s all about selective hearing in the new world. Technology has provided anyone with a phone or computer the ability to put their voice out there. Not everybody will absorb every bit of content out there. I think with all the voices out there though, each individual voice must continue to produce their content as if everybody will absorb it. ESPN reporters shouldn’t act high and mighty over Ol’ Billy Two-Shoes’ Sports Blog. ESPN clearly has more credibility but they have to stick to their quality guns. Given that they’re the behemoth, they must still report at a level they hold themselves to. That doesn’t mean Ol’ Billy shouldn’t have a blog. He should continue to write and work as if he had the same opportunity that an ESPN reporter has. The ESPN reporter may have a degree and all, but the reality of the situation is that you don’t need a degree to do what we do. It stinks to admit that but it’s true. But in journalism education, we’ve been prepped pretty well for the adapting world and we were taught the ethics and a quality standard. If you’re a better sportswriter than Ol’ Billy, show it. Don’t trash on Billy because he gets an audience. There may not be room for everybody at the top but there is room for everybody. To all sportswriters, just keep writing. Hold yourself to the ethical standards you were taught if you were taught them. If you want your voice out there, put it out there. The world is only going to continue being an open forum.

Of all things presented, I think in 20 years, as long as sportswriters stick to quality, sportswriting will survive in the ever-changing world. Quality has varying degrees of acceptance now but quality is in the eye of the audience. As long as any sportswriter or reporter or blogger etc. respects their audience and they want to continue telling sports stories, the field will exist. Time will only tell if social media or traditional newspapers will outlast the other. The only thing that can be guaranteed is that the Yankees will still suck 20 years from now and somebody will have something to say about it. That’s what sports journalism is about. That’s what it has always been about and that’s what it will always be about.

Back to work (?)

After a great Thanksgiving Break, a snow day and a lie from Amazon aren’t helping me

Short blog today. Short, just like my patience. I’ll get to journalism and the work stuff in a second but let me tell you something I’m really mad about at the moment.

Amazon promised BRAND SPANKIN’ NEW Kingdom Hearts III footage and news today on its 3-hour long Cyber Monday Twitch stream.

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There’s your promo. On the Black Friday stream, Amazon clearly stated that they would have a new trailer and DLC announcement.

You want to know what we got today instead? This vague tweet from Amazon:

A dumb Kingdom Hearts joke about Heartless consuming their exclusive trailer and then just baiting the stream they were doing. As a fan of the series, I was still going to watch the stream.

Then, they dropped the same exact effing trailer from last week. Spot the difference between these two trailers:

Right, you can’t. The Amazon one is just a shorter mashup of the “Together” trailer from 6 days ago. Not without the addition of an “exclusive” DLC for being a Twitch/Amazon Prime member at the end of theirs for this keyblade:

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Let me tell you something, this keyblade is not Amazon exclusive. Another lie. This keyblade was previously shown as a DLC for Japanese players if they pre-ordered the game at 7/11.

Image result for kingdom hearts 3 7/11 keyblade

This was announced way back in June. So, Amazon is a liar and they baited viewers into their stream with “exclusive” reveals and content but ended up just upsetting everyone.

I won’t bash the company because I’m a frequent user. However, I hope they don’t get any pre-orders. I’ve already pre-ordered the game twice: digitally and the physical Deluxe Edition. Neither with Amazon.

So, if you want to pre-order your copy of Kingdom Hearts III, get it from someone who won’t lie to you like from the Square Enix store itself!

Now to the serious stuff.

Thanksgiving Break just ended. It was honestly in the Top-3 best breaks I’ve had since I’ve been to school. I’m very upset it’s over.

But, I’ve got to roll with the punches and finish this semester strong. In doing so, I’m staying down at school over Christmas break to finish a class in order to graduate on time.

Something I’ve referenced in a previous blog. So, part of the reason why this Thanksgiving Break was so special was because it’s my last break for a while. It bums me out, but I’ve got to get my work done. I need to finish school.

What’s not helping me get back into the swing of things though is the fact that Monday classes got cancelled!

Well, not completely cancelled. But, all my classes on Mondays are before noon, so I was completely off! This is how I reacted:

That picture of Pacha from The Emperor’s New Groove (2000) couldn’t describe how I felt this morning any better.

Now, in the evening, I’m feeling much different. I feel behind and lethargic. This is not a good way to get this tough stretch ahead of me started.

But, I need to! I’m going to! Starting Now!

So, for the next few weeks, my blogs are going to be very journalism experience heavy. You may think, “Man, this guy has gotten pretty dry.” No, that’s not true. I just have to do my job and put my nose to the grindstone.

I promise to you that I’ll be fine. Snow days just don’t help too much.

~DS

A comparative essay in sports journalism

A look at how Yahoo Sports columnist Pat Forde compares to ESPN feature writer Wright Thompson

When looking at the works of both Pat Forde and Wright Thompson, it’s safe to say that sportswriting is in good hands. Both are graduates of the University of Missouri’s Journalism School. Forde is a columnist for Yahoo Sports. Thompson is a feature writer for ESPN. The differences in their writing styles and forms are apparent however, their unique approaches both work successfully as great sportswriting.

When reading Wright Thompson’s piece on Michael Jordan, one can only notice the extreme detail that Thompson takes to build a setting and characters. The third graf reads:

“Back in the office after his vacation on a 154-foot rented yacht named Mister Terrible, he feels that relaxation slipping away. He feels pulled inward, toward his own most valuable and destructive traits. Slights roll through his mind, eating at him: worst record ever, can’t build a team, absentee landlord. Jordan reads the things written about him, the fuel arriving in a packet of clips his staff prepares. He knows what people say. He needs to know, a needle for a hungry vein. There’s a palpable simmering whenever you’re around Jordan, as if Air Jordan is still in there, churning, trying to escape. It must be strange to be locked in combat with the ghost of your former self.”

Let’s just say you didn’t know who Michael Jordan was. Thompson addressed in our class that it’s a very hard thing to picture, but it’s possible to write that way. The important point being is that the way Thompson writes about Jordan puts the reader right on the yacht with His Airness. He describes the inner emotions and thoughts of Jordan and makes readers well aware of what’s been eating at the Greatest of All-Time. It’s a very novelesque way of writing in the way that Michael Jordan could be a fictional character and the passionately competitive drive that helped him do seemingly fictional things on the court could be part of that. Another great part in that is building around the legendary Michael Jordan that wore No. 23 for the Bulls and putting that figure against the 50-year-old Michael Jordan that’s at the helm of the struggling Charlotte Hornets. Thompson does that by keeping the audience captivated with displaying how the same competitive drive exists in this man who just can’t take it out by dunking on someone any more.

Another piece of Thompson’s that I enjoy is his piece on the legacy and family of Ted Williams. Just like in the Jordan piece, Thompson is able to generate awe by making Ted Williams an ever-present figure in a story about his living family. In this story specifically though, he is able to weave between the past and present perspectives of Ted Williams’ daughter, Claudia, and piece together more information on how life in the Williams home really was. A little bit into the story Thompson writes:

“THIS STORY BEGAN two years ago, when I reached out to Claudia about meeting at her home in Hernando. The timing never worked for her because she struggles to look past her obsessions: nursing school and a book she wrote about her father, which started as a stocking stuffer about lessons she learned and turned into a cathartic exploration of the person she’s still trying to be. Finally she said yes. The first visit lasted a week in the fall of 2014, and we made paella and she told funny stories about her dad — he’d call the public phone in European hostels and boom at unsuspecting travelers, “Is CLAUDIA WILLIAMS there? This is her FATHER! OL’ TED WILLIAMS!” — and she got melancholy later and said, “We need to laugh more.”

I like this section because Thompson gives us a lot and a little all at the same time. We learn about funny instances between Claudia Williams and her father but also that these funny instances led to sadness. It’s unique because while there is Thompson’s trademark detail, there’s bait for readers to continue reading. It works excellently as a sports journalism piece.

The reason why Thompson’s feature writing works for sports journalism is because of how vastly detail oriented his pieces are. Like I said above, his writing his novelesque. The attention to detail alongside the rich storytelling makes his features on these sports legends seem like they’re only that; just legends. But since it is novelesque, there’s an opening to interpretation. There’s a lasting impact in Thompson’s style. So I’d say, Thompson’s ability to capture real-life people and real-life situations creates an astonishing sense of awe. Awe always works. Not only in sportswriting but in all writing.

Pat Forde, on the other hand, works mainly as a reaction columnist. In terms of sportswriting, this is a perfectly fine way to approach stories as well. Forde does an excellent job at inserting emotion into his pieces. One of the pieces in which this is evident is his column on Urban Meyer and Ohio State Football.

After identifying the ridiculousness in Meyer’s statements following the Zach Smith domestic violence investigation, Forde writes:

“Sorry to be cynical regarding Meyer and his motives, but what’s the point in trusting him? His statement Friday vaguely admitted to lying repeatedly at Big Ten media day when asked about Zach Smith’s 2015 incident. Meyer said in Chicago last month that he knew nothing about it, then Friday admitted he knew about it, trying to chalk up the multiple falsehoods to not being “adequately prepared” for that line of questioning.

Please.”

The interesting thing about Forde’s writing is his conversational tone. He’s taking a very serious issue and he’s inflating the doubt around Urban Meyer’s denial and showing his distaste for it. By stating that he may be cynical allows the reader to interpret his writing but then after he mentions Meyer falsifying the situation, the “please” that is thrown in by Forde closes down the apology he had just made. This isn’t a contradiction. This is Forde using his columnist skills to their finest. Domestic violence isn’t ok. Knowing about domestic violence and then lying about it isn’t ok either. Forde is able to throw in a conversational tone to emphasize the ridiculousness in Meyer’s lies. There’s no room for interpretation because domestic violence can’t be interpreted in more than one way.

Forde’s writing style limits interpretation, however, his brash frankness presents the column in a unique light. Though Forde is a columnist, he does have experience writing features as well. A feature of his that I like is his on Olympian Cody Miller and his rise to stardom.

About midway through the feature, Forde writes:

“The reasons why Cody should never have been the happiest bronze medalist in Brazil are numerous, and not all of them have to do with a fractured family upbringing. You can go back to birth.

He was born with a condition called pectus excavatum, which basically is a sunken chest caused by deformities of the ribs and sternum.

‘It looks like I have a big hole in my chest,’ Cody said.

He was teased about it repeatedly as a kid, but the challenge of the defect goes beyond appearance. It also inhibits lung capacity, which is about as vital as any physical characteristic for a swimmer. But Cody and, in turn, his sister took to the sport at a young age and he overcame the sunken chest with relative ease.”

Forde’s frank tone and writing style is evident in this piece. However, Forde does his best Wright Thompson impression by writing a solid feature that pays close attention to detail and emotion. Clearly, even Forde as a columnist can pull off feature writing with great success. The reason why is that he has a unique enough voice and writes with brash frankness that gets the point across with a conversational tone. This works in both his columns and his features.

Overall, Wright Thompson and Pat Forde have unique sportswriting styles that both operate well under the umbrella of sports journalism. Thompson’s novelesque feature writing effectively draws readers in with awe and the opportunity for interpretation. Forde’s curt, conversational tone allows him to get his point across and persuades the reader to feel exactly how he feels. Though their styles are different, they each give an effective and unique voice in the collaboration of many voices that is sports journalism.

~DS