IPrA panel on collaborative news writing

14 07 2009

Takeaways from the 11th Int’l Pragmatics Conference in Melbourne:

  • Don Bysouth’s research on ‘teasing’ by American service personnel in occupied Iraq and Afghanistan – oh, the boredom of warfare
  • Val Williams’ inclusive research – empowering people with learning disabilities: feel-good applied linguistics research
  • Conference clichés: “So when did you arrive?”, “That’s really interesting, thank you”, “So what part of the States are you from, Tom?”, “And how’s your PhD coming along?”
  • Daniel Perrin’s social skills and networking expertise – in a class of his own
From L-R: Aloxe Jetlag, Daniel 'I flew business and slept 8 hours on the plane' Perrin, Lut Baten, Val Williams

From L-R: A still jetlagged yours truly, Daniel 'I flew business and slept 8 hours' Perrin, Lut Baten and Val Williams @ the IPrA conference opening reception

  • Marcel Burger’s jaw-dropping data – turning the process of television journalism inside out
  • the thematic coherence of and audience response to our panel on news production – thank you

Collaborative news writing: A discursive perspective on news production
Convenors: Daniel Perrin, Ellen Van Praet & Tom Van Hout

Panel line-up

  • Daniel Perrin – “Let the pictures do the talking” – Investigating TV journalists’ collaborative text production strategies
  • Tom Van Hout & Ellen Van Praet Buy or sell? The role of consumption and authorship in financial news writing
  • Ellen Van Praet & Tom Van Hout – Competence on display: negotiating status during editorial meetings
  • Marcel Burger – Dealing with conflicting journalistic styles to achieve texts: oral negotiation of written media discourse
  • Inés Olza – The role of metaphor in news production: Political metaphors in “preformulated” media texts
  • Jasper Vandenberghe – New Spanish conquistadores? Newspaper articles and press releases on Spanish foreign investments in Argentina.

The blandness of NBA photo captions

15 06 2009

During a recent NT&T meeting, one of the participants suggested we look at photo captions. In his experience, newspaper photo captions are a fascinating genre because they so often miss the mark. Point taken. Presenting: a discourse analysis of NBA photo captions.

The NBA is notorious for its relentless drive towards positive self-portrayal. Lame officiating? Not an issue. Financial problems facing teams? A small hurdle. The Kobe-LeBron showdown never materialized? Our league is full of stars. With the NBA Finals in the rear view mirror, I took a quick look at some photo galleries and found, apart from the fact that Pau Gasol wears braces!?!, captions such as

[Name player] looks to [driven shoot, pass, rebound, fart, dunk] against [name player/team]
[Name player] reacts to a shot during game 2 of the NBA Finals
[Name player] shares a laugh with [name player] prior to Game 4 of the NBA Finals
[Name player] looks on as [name player] takes to the court

NBA photo captions are as bland as bran. Surely, the photo editor can do a better job with this picture than “Dwight Howard poses for a picture with American Idol winner Kris Allen”. If anything, this picture screams ‘dwarfs’, ‘towers over’, ‘overshadows’, not ‘poses for a picture’.

Where are they now? Todd MacCulloch

23 03 2009

Todd MacCulloch was a serviceable NBA center. While he may have had the athletic prowess of a key hanger, Todd understood the game and used his length well throughout his 5 year NBA career. He retired in 2003, at age 28 and having earned $35 million. Six years and 100 pounds later, he plays pro pinball. The Seattle Times has the story, ESPN the video.

© 2008 The Seattle Times Company

Todd MacCulloch © 2008 The Seattle Times Company

NBA to borrow $175M in “illiquid market”

17 02 2009

In the well-oiled PR behemoth that the National Basketball Association is, you don’t often learn about its financial struggles. This report however, breaks the news that the league is set to borrow $175 million to cover “operating losses” among 15 teams. This should come as no surprise; the league is low on star-quality (Kobe Bryant, Dwayne Wade, Dwight Howard, LeBron James), high on overpaid ‘franchise’ players (Stephon Marbury anyone?) and the cost of running an NBA franchise in the current economic climate is no small-piece meal:

The NBA was not looking to borrow at this time, Benjamin said, but JPMorgan and Bank of America came to the league several weeks ago to say there was an opportunity to do so. The league, after polling its teams and finding a need, agreed to the deal in part because of the lack of borrowing opportunities since the fall.

Source: Street & Smith’s Sports Business Journal

Mourning retires, Van Lierde does not

23 01 2009

Two of my favorite professional athletes are in the news. Alonzo Mourning, perrenial NBA warrior, has retired after 15 seasons in the league. As much as I wanted Zo to make another successful comeback, this was the right decision to make. In other news, Luc Van Lierde, IM Hawai course record holder and triathlon great, has squeezed out another sponsorship deal to add a farewell tour to his tri resume. Good luck, Luc! Picture by flickr member cxfan.

Rabobank team etiquette

18 01 2009

In attempt to clean up pro cycling’s scandal ridden image, Team Rabobank is putting their riders on notice:  behave, or else! This season, the Pro Tour team is enforcing proper cycling etiquette (instead of complete pandemonium).

Violations range from the obvious, such as testing positive for party drugs (aka the Tom Boonen rule), to the absurd. How else can you describe a first offense €1,000 fine for unauthorized weblinks (‘ongeoorloofde weblinks’) ? Or a €1,000 fine for having a ‘guest’ in the hotel without permission? To my knowledge, Team Rabobank is the first pro sports team in history to ban bootie calls. Imagine such a rule in the NBA. The league would fold overnight.

If you read Dutch, the full list is available at Het Nieuwsblad (pdf).

Shaq, the Big Microblogger

21 11 2008

Socialmedian.com reports that Shaquille O’Neal is the latest to join the conversation on Twitter.com, the social messaging/status application that’s leading the way in real-time (trans)local news delivery. Wanna know why Twitter works? In short: it’s fast, open, two-way and, most notably, it fills a news void. Do you Twitter?

Shaqs Twitter profile picture

Shaq's Twitter profile picture

Ode to Wayne Monte Rollins, aka Tree

18 11 2008

Retired NBA center Tree Rollins is responsible for one of the best double entendre newspaper headlines ever. CNNSI Inside the NBA’s Ian Thomsen explains.

In a 1983 first-round playoff game with Atlanta, [Boston player Danny] Ainge tried to tackle Tree Rollins. Ainge shrieked in pain from the ensuing tangled pile of bodies.

“We got into a little scuffle out on the court by the foul line and he almost bit my finger off,” Ainge said. “He bit it all the way through. I had to get two stitches.” (…)

The next day, the Boston Herald published one of the great headlines: “Tree Bites Man.”

The kicks, the girl, the swagger

7 11 2008

Another example of porn-chic marketing by Nike.

MBenga 2.0: English proficiency

23 10 2008

It’s been a while since I checked up on my favorite NBA player, now in his fifth NBA campaign (that means guaranteed money!) and second straight season with the Lakers. My how Didier’s English has improved. Kudos, Didier.