Sports Fans and Media: Final Presentation

My final project is available at

Sports Fans and Media: An Evolution

My final presentation for spring quarter:

The Blogging CyberGhettos: Extra-Credit Reflection

After reading “We the Media” it’s easy to have a rosy, idealistic view of the power of the blogosphere. Dan Gillmor’s vision of a democratic grassroots journalism driven by average citizens offers an appealing alternative to the strict confines of traditional media coverage.

But reading the article “Communication Communities or “CyberGhettos?”: A Path Analysis Model Examining Factors that Explain Selective Exposure to Blogs” provided me with an alternative view – that of “selective exposure” where users seek out only the information they want to hear, forming “communication ghettos.” Rather than experiencing the (ostensibly) objective, balanced reporting of major media outlets, blog readers tend to stick with content that supports their viewpoint, avoiding any contradictory material. Read the rest of this entry »

The Straw Man of Commercial Broadcasting

After reading Ben H. Bagdikian’s afterword from “The Media Monopoly” I’m convinced: commercial broadcasting is the worst thing to happen to the American people EVER.

Who knew that television was to blame for poverty, social injustice, lack of education, the decline of inner cities, the closure of small town movie theaters and restaurants and the lack of universal health care? Who knew that commercial broadcasting is subverting the influence of parents, schools and religions? What will happen to our nation’s youth???

All joking aside, I kept checking to see if this article was meant to be a parody. Setting up the broadcast industry as a scapegoat for society’s ills seems like an oversimplified argument. While there are points to be made about the effects of mainstream programming on society, as well as the all-too-cozy relationships between corporations and the media, this article gives no credence to the individual’s decision making in the viewing process. There is no mention of the uses and gratifications for the audience members when engaging with commercial broadcasting content. From the rest of our reading this quarter, I had thought it was generally accepted that consumers of television content make an active choice to watch or listen to a program for specific benefits or reasons. Presented here, the effect of commercial broadcasting is that of brainwashing, with the audience having no active role in how and why they consume content, or what they choose to take from it. Read the rest of this entry »

Sports Fans and Media: A Theoretical Framework

The history of the sports fan parallels the history of news media – consumers want more information, they want it faster and better, and they want it told from all angles. My project examines how social and technological changes have affected the way and the speed with which sports fans get information about teams and athletes.

Sports fans have always had a desire to have news and access about their teams. As the speed of communication has increased, so has the desire of fans to acquire information about their teams – increasingly, to the point of cutting out the middleman of the media provider entirely.

Read the rest of this entry »

Qualifying Online Competency and the Limits of the Uses and Gratifications Theory

The “uses and gratifications” theory is popularly applied to Internet usage, but there are distinct limits to just how much it can explain why people go online and what sites they seek out. The article “Around the World Wide Web in 80 Ways: How Motives for Going Online Are Linked to Internet Activities Among Politically Interested Internet Users” underscores the challenges of identifying the motivations of specific groups to predict Internet activities.

This study, conducted during the 2000 Presidential Election, attempted to determine what online activities politically interested Internet users regularly engage in, as well as how their online activities might be linked to motivations for using the Internet. The study results showed that the group surveyed mainly used the web for guidance – accessing news is second only to email on the list of popular online activities. This is in contrast to the major reason general users go on line, which is primarily for entertainment – visiting entertainment sites, playing games and downloading videos or music. Yet the study was unable to determine that being motivated by factors like guidance, convenience or information seeking had an influence on what specific sites users landed upon.

Read the rest of this entry »

We the Media: Defining Journalism in the Digital Media Age

Think back to 2004. Did your local newspaper have a blog? Did you know what RSS was? Were you using text messages to communicate? When Dan Gillmor’s book We the Media: Grassroots Journalism By the People, For the People came out almost seven years ago, the answer to all of those questions was most likely “no.” Blogs and other online communication tools were still relatively limited in spread, especially by mainstream news sources. Yet Gillmor predicted that the world of journalism was about to change – indeed, was already mid-transformation – into something wholly new and astonishingly democratic.

He explains this vision in We the Media, exploring the effects of the Internet and new communication technologies on the future of journalism and what they signify for journalists, newsmakers and audience members. He presents a fast-arriving future where grassroots journalism plays a key role in how news is communicated: “a balance that preserves the best of today’s system and simultaneously encourages tomorrow’s emergent, self-assembling journalism” (xxix).

I don’t believe we’re quite at that balanced ideal yet. But Gillmor’s main points – that news is now a conversation, and that the Internet and new technologies have revolutionized journalism as we know it – still ring true. The main challenge I found as a reader is that Gillmor’s future arrived so fast that many of the case studies and technologies in the book now feel elementary and even out-dated. Read the rest of this entry »


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