The Media Learning Curve: Beat the rush to the TMZzzzzzzzzz’s new yearz celebration

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Sober up.

For real. Your rep is at stake.

Tabloid coverage is hardly a new concept in the U.S. or Great Britain, but with the TMZ.com decision to soon launch a sports site (as we wrote about in today’s column, linked here), we caution those athletes with world-wide appeal to be extra cautious places they’d not normally equate with a freedom of the press.

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A Public Radio International story this week (linked here) told about how a muckraking Russian newspaper publisher named Aram Gabrelyanov has started his own journalism-training program aimed at producing a “new breed of reporters.” His tabloid, called “Life,” is modeled after the British “The Sun.” with screaming headlines, sensationalized stories and naked Page 3 women.

Vladimir Ladinsky, a student of the Gabrelyanov school of unattributed sources, was quoted in the story, speaking through a translator: “In Soviet times . . . I only used to read the last page of the newspaper because that was the sports news and that was the only thing worth reading because we didn’t have any press freedom. (Now) we have plenty of freedom in our press and our lives. So we’re moving forward, step by step.”

In the name of Russian global progress, let’s not be in such a rush to misjudgment to get more sports stuff into other sections of the newspaper.

Instead, let’s rush to read through these extra sports media notes and get back to our warm copy of the New York Post-It-Note:

== Spero Dedes and Greg Anthony call Saturday’s UCLA-Arizona game from Pauley Pavilion (with a ridiculous 10 a.m. tipoff, Channel 2), to start a CBS college basketball doubleheader that includes Louisville-Kentucky at a more reasonable 12:30 p.m. (or 3:30 p.m. local time, with Verne Lundquist-Clark Kellogg).

== Versus has a daily 30-minute highlight show from the Dakar Rally extreme bike-car-truck race — more than 5,500 miles across 14 stages starting in Buenos Aires, Argentina, going through Chile and hitting the Andes Mountains and Atacama Desert — starting Sunday at 12:30 p.m. (with replays at 3:30 p.m.) through Jan. 18.

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== The Southern California Sports Broadcasters Association, which will have its annual awards lunch on Feb. 1 at Lakeside Country Club, is sponsoring a panel discussion at UCLA’s Ackerman Hall on Sunday, Jan. 10 starting at 11:30 a.m. that will include Kings play-by-play man Bob Miller as the moderator. Other panelists include UCLA basketball and football play-by-play man Chris Roberts, Dodgers play-by-play man Charley Steiner, FSN West/Versus/NFL Network reporter Lindsay Soto and former head of Disney Television Sports Roger Blaemire.
Miller says of the program: “The purpose is to provide a wide-ranging look at the employment requirements and opportunities in sports broadcasting. The primary goal for many students may be on-air sportscasting, but there are also a variety of very rewarding and challenging careers behind the cameras that are expanding.”
Broadcasting departments of local colleges interested in attending may contact SCSB’s event coordinators Jeff Rose (323.650.1151) or Gene Walsh (818.843.4550, golfbguy@aol.com).

AND FINALLY:

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== A humble, deeply grateful thanks to editors Glenn Stout and Leigh Montville, not for just compiling and producing the latest in the “Best of American Sports Writing” series for 2009 (linked here), but for including us in the “notable” section in the back for the piece on Isabella Masenga attending her first Kings hockey game back in Jan., 2008 (linked here).
Check out Glenn’s Amazon.com page (linked here) for other books he’s done.

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