Where Have I Been?

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Well, a few posts back, you might remember me talking about G9 Sports and how I was going to be covering the Indians for them.  G9 Sports launched this morning.  So far, the response has been overwhelming.  It took a whole lot of work from a lot of people to get this thing up and running and I am amazed at how many people put a lot of time and effort into making Julie DiCaro’s vision a complete success.  46 writers launched this morning with a second wave coming soon.  There are plans to add college sports coverage by spring or summer so college fans should stay tuned. One of my followers on Twitter said this morning “Is the world ready for a sports network of women”?  I say…..it’s about time!

To the women of G9 Sports that worked their tails off to make this all work – you guys totally rock!

For those of you looking for my coverage on the Tribe, you can find me here.

Tragedies and the Media – Part 1 of the Giffords Shooting

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What a hot mess this story turned out to be, huh?  While I understand that the situation was chaotic, it doesn’t excuse the shoddy reporting of the media. At one point, I was watching one of the media outlets interview the sheriff from the Tuscon department that had jurisdiction over the shooting. The sheriff was giving his statement when the media outlet cut in over him to tell of Congresswoman Giffords’ death.  The anchor asked several times if the news had been confirmed and if the anchor should report this . I heard her ask the question three seperate times before delivering the *news* of the Congresswoman’s death , which turned out to be false. 

During the entire time that she was reporting it, you can hear the sheriff protesting the report and going ignored.  When they finally gave him the time to speak, he reported that he had been on the phone with his SWAT medical director, who was at the hospital and in communication with the physicians treating Giffords  only 5 minutes before his interview.  The medical director had assured him that Gifford was still alive. 

It has now come to light that NPR initially falsely reported the situation and the other news stations picked up on it.  I am smart enough to know that mountains of information is coming in from all angles so the situation gets out of hand very quickly but did the anchor on MSNBC forget she had the guy with the answers ON THE PHONE?  She had the direct source, the guy with jurisdiction over the entire situation , ON THE PHONE and she completely ignored him and chose to go with a story from another media outlet. 

And that’s where my problem with this entire thing lies. 

If there had been anybody else other than someone with such a high level job involved, Giffords’ name would have been withheld pending family notification.  Because of what Congresswoman Giffords does for a living, information was released immediately.  This woman has a FAMILY and, in their rush to get the job done, the media needs to remember that.  Apparently, they were more concerned on being the first to report the news. I cannot imagine being the family of the Congresswoman and hearing these reports only to find out they were untrue.  How would you feel?

When I came out of school, I wanted to be a journalist in the worst way but stories that would require me to get in the face of those that had suffered a tragedy turned my career path in another direction. I always think of how I would react if someone was shoving a microphone in my face when something bad was happening.  I just couldn’t be the person that would  confront someone when their grief was still raw.Grief is personal and I know that if, God forbid, I was ever going through that, I would not take too kindly to the guy behind the microphone.  I believe in respect for those that are going through difficult times.  Sure, I know the more responsible journalists ask for the time with a victim or their family and don’t just shove a microphone into the person’s face. But then we have the chaos like Saturday and it  makes me really question where the mainstream media has lost it’s way when the heat of the story is unfolding?  Have we turned into a nation of needing our information so instantly that stories are reported incorrectly and the time and care to confirm is thrown out a window? 

In a time when instant information is king, I think the media has a responsibility to go the extra length to make sure that the information that they are reporting is correct.  I understand that social media is making it necessary to move faster than ever before but this story is an example of what not to do. It’s time that the media not only embrace instant reporting but figure out how to do it responsibly.

A New Kind of Sports Site

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Get ready for a new kind of sports site because on February 1, G9Sports.com will launch and cover all professional sports teams. It will be much like other online sports networks in that each professional sports team will have a dedicated writer(s)  along with a home page dedicated to each sport. The main difference of this network – every word will be written by a woman.

Julie DiCaro of “A League of Our Own” fame in Chicago is the brains behind G9 Sports. From her announcement today:  “To date, we have about 30 girls signed up and it’s a pretty impressive list, if I do say so myself. These aren’t girls who want to cover everything pink and bedazzle it. These girls are serious, die-hard, uber-knowledgeable sports fans who happen to be women. ”

Yes, we are.

And when I say we, I mean me because I will be writer behind the Indians coverage on G9 Sports. I am very excited to be joining a lot of great women that have just as much passion for their respective teams as I do the Indians.   Those of you that thought I was Indians obsessed before – get ready!

As soon as G9 Sports officially launches, I will post the links here but, in the meantime, wish us luck and spread the word!

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Keep My Glass Half Full

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You’ve heard me say (write) often that the hardest job in sports is being a Cleveland fan.  After 46 years of no championship and an endless “Cleveland Teams Screw Up Again ” reel on ESPN that seems to get longer with each season, we’re all ready for that great big, obnoxious parade down Euclid.

Am I right?

And I get all of that  – I really do. There is nothing that I would love more than watching my 40 favorite  men ride through the center of Cleveland in a blizzard (because you know that will happen when parade day finally comes)with a World Series title in their hands. 

See? We all have the dreams of that day. Mine just happens to include snow.

So when I write this, I have to wonder if I am the crazy one or if I am just a glass half full type of Cleveland sports fan that can see the light at the end of a very long, very dark tunnel?  I know, I know, we’ve all had hope before only to have it squashed in the bottom of the 9th but can’t we find something, ANYTHING good amid all the chaos?

So, how about those Browns?  (too soon? ) 

I admit that I am not the most knowledgeable about the game of football.  I do, however, know the rules of the game, understand how it’s played and understand the job of each line as a whole.  But if you ask me what a safety does specifically, I have zero idea. So this big, fat, hot mess could all be the safety’s fault, for all I know.

What I do know, is that Cleveland fans have a very bad habit of calling for change at the first sign of trouble. We do it with all of our coaches, our players and any other scapegoat that we can find.  So it goes with Eric Mangini and, in the last three weeks, Colt McCoy.  I’m not even going to address Eric Mangini because as I write this, he’s been fired. (After we were down a couple of TD’s and he chose not to go for it on 4th and 2 and kicked the field goal instead, I kind of think he should be canned, too, so I am not even addressing it).

Welcome to Cleveland, Colt McCoy. Our rookie QB was never supposed to take a snap this season.  As most plans in Cleveland sports go, the education of the rookie was derailed when the other two QB’s were injured and he was forced to play. His first game – the Steelers.  He put on an impressive performance in a loss to our arch rivals and Cleveland fans paid attention.  He followed that with two back to back wins against the reigning Super Bowl Champs, Saints, and always tough Patriots. And Cleveland fans declared him the Savior of Cleveland football.  (behind Mike Holmgren, of course).

And away we went on the McCoy bandwagon.

It was short-lived when McCoy, too, was forced to the sidelines because of an injury. Re-enter Jake Delholmme. As any good football fan knows, (and I guess any mediocre fan because I knew it) Delholmme did what Delholmme was known to do long before he ever came to Cleveland – implode. Cleveland fans vocally expressed their outrage and called for McCoy to be put back in the game.  The minute McCoy was declared fit to play, he was back in the game – only with a different outcome.

Much to our horror, McCoy played like a (suck in the breath) R-O-O-K-I-E.  He made some very costly mistakes and threw a bunch of interceptions but if you watched how he reacted to those things, the kid was still ice. He did not get rattled – mad at himself, maybe – but he still didn’t rattle. Along the way, he made some great plays, scrambled out of some tough spots and he learned from his mistakes.

But nobody saw that.

After one game was lost, Cleveland fans began to express doubts in his ability.  After two games were lost, the expressions got louder and yesterday, after his 3rd interception and, in between the calls for Mangini’s head, Cleveland fans were downright brutal on their QB.  And somewhere along the way, fans forgot that Colt McCoy just came out of college and wasn’t supposed to take a snap this year.  

Sitting on the sidelines of Cleveland football as I do, I am just not as emotionally invested in the game.  I know that I am a bandwagon football fan – quite plainly, I only watch because there is no baseball. But what I see from an outsiders point of view with the Browns (or every Cleveland team for that matter) is that we tend to call for the heads of the players/coaches and anyone else that gets in our line of vision way too soon – and the teams comply. 

I am not sure if Cleveland fans as a whole have been trained by the Cleveland sports organizations to expect instant change when something bad happens or if the media plays a part in the problem.  What I do know is that we cannot expect our rookie QB that has played in a handful of games to perform like Tom Brady.  We can’t expect our rookie 2nd baseman to hit like Albert Pujols (unless his name is Carlos Santana) and we can’t expect a guy named Booby Gibson to shoot the lights out like Carmelo Anthony when they’ve not had enough play time. They need time to adjust to a new level of competition and calling for their heads and having the coaches replace them is not the answer. The answer is let them get in there and learn.  Let them get in there and make big mistakes when the stakes do not matter – and they didn’t matter at all this season except in the hearts of Browns fans.

We, the fans, have become our own worst enemy. Indians fans knew going into last season that we would be lucky to win 70 games with the number of rookies that we had on the team.  Cavs fans knew that losing three key players in LBJ, Shaq and Z would harm the team and Browns fans knew that the team was just starting to get on the right track by getting rid of some *I* performers and replacing them with *team* players.  But yell and scream and stomp our feet for a championship is what we are all about and *realistic* is not in our collective vocabulary.

I am obviously a glass half full type of Cleveland sports fan…….or maybe it is that I just know when to fill it with tequila?

In With The New – Part 2

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Don’t you hate it when you have a *secret* that you can’t share yet?  And mine is a whopper – at least for me.  As if it isn’t enough that I am changing careers mid life, now I am getting a fabulous opportunity to do something that I have always wanted to do.

But I can’t tell anyone………yet.

IT. IS. KILLING. ME.  (EXCLAMATION POINT KILLING ME!).

At this point, all I can say is that I have two passions that fuel my life. I am knocked over that both of my passions are about to collide. In my 29, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39  (oh never mind) years on this earth, I have never been able to truly feed my passion for one by doing the other.   

Anyway – here we are.  And it’s all a big secret. 

I am very excited about the opportunity (EXCLAMATION POINT EXCITED!) and am a little bit nervous about it as well. 

Anyway, now that I have your attention – I guess you will have to just tune in every day until I spill it……..

Don’t you hate when people do that?  I know, I know…

In With the New – My (Our) New Job (Part 1)

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So if you read my previous post, Out with the Old – My Job, you know why I am moving on to bigger and better things. In some respects, I have already planted the seed for the next big chapter in my life. Some people know, some people don’t and there’s still one VERY exciting thing that will be happening in February that I can’t talk about right now – but I will as soon as I get the glowing green light.

Enter  Chatterbox Communications.  (the people who know me *real* time just broke into one big collective giggle, so let’s just get this over with ….perfect name for my company, right?  You can thank Allan Fee for that one – he’s the brains behind that name. Unfortunately for him, he has listened to my chatter A LOT over the last few years.). 

Anyway, a few years ago, I had an idea to put my love for writing to work. Some people know that I wrote for a left-wing website during the Presidential campaign – my first paid writing gig.  It was temporary since campaigns don’t last forever and I was back to this unpaid blog. I know, you’d think I get paid for all this creativity that I spew here but, alas….no….y’all get my opinions for free!

In the meantime, one of my really good friends started talking to me about how his company could never seem to get their E-Newsletter out on time and that someone would do well to write, publish and manage E-Newlsetters for companies that wanted them but didn’t have the time to make them work. So I figured out how to get it done and two years ago started Chatterbox – a side gig meant to keep my hands in writing. I never meant it as a means to support myself.  Anyone else see a pattern here?  So I told a few people, got a few accounts and off I went.

Enter my love of social media. The one thing that I do know is how to make social media work to my advantage.  I am just going to say that while some think that my social media addiction is crazy, it has opened a lot of doors for me that I would not have had otherwise.  Some fun things, like being named of Cleveland’s Most Interesting Tweeps, but some that have paid off as far as freelance writing gigs here and there.  So if I could do that for myself, I sure could do it for organizations as well.   As I started adding accounts, I soon realized that I may be a decent writer but I am no graphic designer.

Enter Tammy Schick. As it happens, I went to high school with Tammy and she is one of the most talented graphic designers that I have ever met.  If you’re interested in her work, you can find it here – Graphic Design Strategists. (Tammy doesn’t know it yet but she’s also buying me drinks the next time we are out for that compliment).

So while Chatterbox has been perking along for the last two years, we decided on one long phone call to turn this baby into a full service marketing company. You know, one that has the headache of employees and schedules and deadlines and, well, incorporation?  That’s the one.

By combining her expertise with mine (design and content writing), we have developed a one stop shop for marketing solutions (website design, social media, digital media, mobile marketing and traditional print media). 

I have started a company before not knowing where it is going to take me and I am smart enough to know that no matter what my intention for Chatterbox, I have to be open to new ideas and be ready to change a moment’s notice – which I think we just did.  I am very excited about the next chapter with Chatterbox – nervous because I am now relying on it as my only income – but excited nonetheless.

So now that you know, have you friended us on Facebook? Or Twitter?  You should, you know…..(see?  always working the social…)

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