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Bye-bye Pornstache

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What Free Agency Means for LeBron James, the Marketing Machine

NEW YORK (TheStreet) — To those who follow the NBA, LeBron James’ move to opt out of his contract with the Miami Heat to become a free agent wasn’t a surprise.

The move was redolent of James’ “Decision,” his much maligned announcement in the summer of 2010 that he was joining the Heat and leaving his hometown Cleveland Cavaliers.

Although he took a big hit to what had been a relatively untarnished reputation, the move didn’t hurt James’ marketability, outside of Cleveland at least. Continue reading

AMC Takes a Gamble Prolonging Mad Men’s Season Finale

originally appeared in http://www.thestreet.com June 2, 2014

NEW YORK (TheStreet) — AMC’s Mad Men Mad-Men-1aired its mid-season finale last week to what was considered a “soft” 1.9 million viewers on May 25, during the Memorial Day Weekend. However, that number was in line with the ratings the Matthew Weiner-produced show has recorded during its seven-year run.

 When the key Live+3 ratings (measuring new views within three days of airing) were in, that number nearly doubled to 3.6 million viewers by the end of the week.

So does that mean AMC’s strategy of splitting seasons of its hit show is working? We won’t know until Mad Men finishes for real next year and the ratings come in.

What is known is people don’t watch TV the same way anymore.

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ESPN Makes Disney Very Happy, One Lebron James Story At a Time

originally published May 28, 2014 in http://www.thestreet.com

NEWARK, NEW JERSEY (TheStreet) — Before 1979, sports media was still in its dark ages. The world’s sporting games had their heroes and various and sundry sportswriters who depicted their exploits for newsprint, television and radio.

Joe Namath’s prediction that the upstart New York Jets would win Super Bowl III in 1969 and Reggie Jackson’s three-home run game in the 1977 World Series were examples of the modern athlete transcending daily life to create the mass market moment that stretched well beyond the playing field. And that was just in New York.

On TV, baseball and basketball had their game of the week while Sundays and Monday night belonged to football. Local newspapers recounted games and Sports Illustrated gave them all a glossy sheen on the national level. It all used to be so quaint.

ESPNThen in 1979, someone in Bristol, Conn got the crazy idea of packaging every sport and every region’s favorite ballteams into one made-for-Pay-TV package. And nothing in the business of sports, which really is sports, has been the same ever since.

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Truth Doesn’t Make a Sound

iStock_000017285103XSmall-300x199 truthThere are even fewer truths in sports reporting than in political news. Because access is everything and the advertising world is so tied up within sports, nothing is going to change in the future of sports journalism. The problem with sports reporting is that professional sports have become more refined as a form of entertainment which in turn blurs the line between the athlete being a competitor or entertainer, creating unrealistic expectations. Professional and even amateur sports themselves would need to change in order for sports reporting to change. In the meantime, writers can begin to foster some positive change by no longer using terms like warrior or hero when writing about men, women and the games that they play.

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Death of the Written Word

I chose journalism as a major because I had experience working in a newsroom and I wanted to make that resume of mine looked as strong as possible. I also chose journalism because I love to write. A blank page is refreshing to me. I’ll be the first one to admit that I don’t always write enough or about the things that I should write about. While I’ll always believe in the power of the written word, that power is diminished and if we aren’t careful, we could lose it altogether. I’m discouraged as I prepare to graduate.

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As we’ve learned, Guttenberg’s printing press has physically long been obsolete but the spirit of its innovation continued to ripple across society forever changing the trajectory of the human race, for good or ill. Literacy rose as society came out of the Dark Ages and change ripped through the landscape. Martin Luther’s 95 Theses sparked the Protestant Reformation. The Declaration of Independence created a nation that still reveres the document even if it doesn’t fully understand it. Actual books were a luxury of the wealthy though and there were many who had little or no access to books. It was the Industrial Revolution that brought the cost of book production down to levels that all classes were able to afford.

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