March is here. Spring is right around the corner. Movies and music are a in a little bit of a doldrum, so let’s talk about the Chicago sports media.
I was listening a Bill Simmons Podcast episode this week with writer Bryan Curtis, themed around sports media in 2016 and the “insider” mentality that a lot of sports journalists are leading with these days. The thesis of the conversation centered on the idea that more reporters were working to become “personalities”, similar to Yahoo! Sports’ The Vertical’s Adrian Wojnarowski and his reputations for “Woj-Bombs” (which function as “breaking news” bits about the NBA). Woj offers insights and breaks news because he is so tied-in with a vast majority of the league.
The thinking is that he develops sources and trust by not reporting on certain aspects of what-would-usually-be-NBA-news so he can get the real “big” news stories.
It got me thinking back to an episode of Carmen & Jurko on ESPN 1000 (Chicago’s ESPN affiliate) I heard a few months back. I would link to it, but I completely forgot the date - it had to have been within the last eight-or-nine weeks when (I believe) Carmen mentioned that the Bulls’ organization was so secretive that “you had to play the game” to get any scoop.
I started doing the math. There have been so many odd stories to come out of the Bulls’ organization from Luol Deng’s mysterious spinal tap during the ‘13 playoffs, to the John Paxson/Vinny Del Negro fight, to the strange circumstances that led to Tom Thibodeau getting fired at the end of last season. These (and more) were all seemingly juicy storylines that everyone seems to know that a) something happened and b) there are little or few official reports on those topics. What gives?
Even Thursday, Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald (note: not a Chicago paper) reported that the Boston Celtics had talks - actual negotiations - with the Bulls at the trade deadline for their star shooting guard Jimmy Butler. That report came March 3rd, a full two weeks after the trade deadline ended. Did anyone in the Chicago media know about this? Did anyone ask? Or did they just not report it because the Bulls didn’t want anyone to know they had negotiations for their best player? Perhaps it is not too far to say that Chicago media members held back that info so they could be that elusive ‘insider’ for the next big story.
I am not saying anything is wrong with the Chicago sports media. Heck, it is just sports. But it does make you think about what happens in other realms of media - politics, international stories, and local news. I think more people who follow sports need to look at who is reporting what, what is being filtered through and what is being left out of a report - knowingly or unknowingly - because, as one of the ESPN Radio hosts said - it’s all part of the game.
So, on that note, here are your Links of the Week.
Michael Jordan continues his greatness as the team he owns, the Charlotte Hornets, hosted a 1990’s Nickelodeon-themed night. KUDOS TO YOU AND YOUR MARKETING TEAM, SIR. [SI.com]
Chris Rock made a lot of noise this week with his Oscars monologue, touching on race, diversity in Hollywood and a number of other admirable subjects. He won last weekend, though, when he brought his daughter’s Girl Scout troop out to sell Girl Scout Cookies. Well played, sir. [YouTube via TheBigLead ]
There is an archive of over 6,000 pieces of Bob Dylan memorabilia that the singer-songwriter has stashed away, building up song lyrics, correspondence, notes and more in the 50-plus years he has been in the public eye. This is today’s lead story in “How to Make $20 Million as a Hoarder.” [New York Times]
Are you just ramping up your NBA-watching now that football is over and March Madness has yet to begin? GQ has a nice little “How to Watch the NBA in 2016” guide that breaks down Basketball Twitter, suggests some things to keep an eye out for, and even a newsletter to subscribe to (how 2009!). [GQ]
The nerdiest art gallery you’ll see this week belongs to “DeepDream: The art of neural works”, a collection of pieces created by using Google’s Deep Dream code , which is above my paygrade to explain how to use. [The Verge]
Oh, you’ve got a minute and 58 seconds to kill? Cool! How about a compilation of people saying “It’s the 90’s!”? [CollegeHumor]
An incredible read with some access and information you’d never see Chicago media members get (just kidding!) from Zach Lowe on “The Trade that Never Was.” [ESPN]
The Verge has a great example from Amazon on taking a learning lesson from a loss. Amazon had developed a smartphone, and while that smartphone failed, they were able to utilize some of the technology from it in their Alexa personal speaker, which is a really cool product. [The Verge]
I love CGI before and after shots. Here’s some from Deadpool. [Imgur]
And your video of the week: The new Ghostbusters trailer because you haven’t seen it yet.