The Media Learning Curve: Jan. 29-Feb. 12

i-4d5470476dc3e33225ed68858f4134ac-paper_drive_3.jpg

Good people will pay for good information, whether it’s putting the New York Times online as a subscriber service, or taking up a collection to send a reporter to spring training.

When Washington Nationals beat writer Matt Zuckerman was laid off at the Washington Times — the paper recently dropped its sports section — he started a blog NatsInsider.com in late January.

We might have been more inclined to start a paper drive, but when Zuckerman considered what would take to survive a six-week stint at the National’s training site in Viera, Fla., and report on the team activities — just as he had been the last five years for the stinkin’ newspaper — he instead went to asking for reader donations through a PayPal account.

Brilliant.

He thinks he can make it work on $5,000. He received nearly twice that much in pledges so far, from more than 200 contributors. And he’ll keep accepting financial help through Wednesday. He even set it up as something like an NPR pledge drive — for $20, you get this; for $40, you get this …

From this blog post (linked here), you can still help fund the cause in what could be a precident-setting event for consumer journalism.

We’re hoping it works, the customers are pleased, and others will be as resourceful in keeping the coverage alive.

Meanwhile, other stuff we want to wrap our media-sized brains around from the things we hunted and gathered over the last 14 days:

== By the time he hits 55, Chris Berman could high-tail it out of ESPN and to the NFL Network. We hope. But we doubt his ego would let him do that. (linked here).

== Fordham University is going to give 92-year-old Ernie Harwell a lifetime achievement award in May — one named after Vin Scully (linked here). That’s nice and all, but even Harwell knows he probably won’t live but another couple of months because of his health (linked here).

== Not many who can think and vote at the same time agree that a Kobe Bryant excused absence will make a difference in their lack of interest for the NBA All-Star Game (linked here).

== The latest on Warren Sapp, still waiting to find out if he has a job with the NFL Network (linked here)

== The latest on Michael Irvin and whether he’ll get another radio show on ESPN (linked here)

== Not sure why ESPN360.com had to rebrand to ESPN3.com, but it has (linked here)

== Fox — not just Fox Soccer Channel — likes soccer, too (linked here)

== It’s OK with us if we never find out the names of other TV sideline reporters who this Erin Andrews’ perv spied on (linked here)

== It’s also OK with us if the Steve Phillips thing just goes away, but then he shows up on “The Today Show” and … all fat chick broke loose (linked here)

== Still waiting for Versus to return to DirecTV … and waiting … and the NHL playoffs are coming … and we’re waiting (linked here)

== SI grades the Super Bowl coverage … mostly As and Bs (linked here)

== How did the Super Bowl draw the biggest audience ever for a TV show? The perfect snowstorm (linked here). But even Alan Alda isn’t that impressed (linked here). Although the record number of commercials were more storm damaged (linked here)

== “Shaq Vs.” is coming back for a second season — and might include eating contests and spelling bees, since he lost all six events in Season 1 (linked here).

== A “massive tidbit” from the “massively underrated” me raised the hair on the back of my neck (linked here). “I don’t know who to be more impressed with: Hoffarth for going there or (Larry) Burnett for being so candid,” writes Brooks Melchior. I’d go with the candidness on Burnett’s part.

AND FINALLY:

i-c2c816bebc23f81a90475e267ab3fcd1-dewey-defeats-truman1.jpg

== Yes, Virginia, there was a problem with reporting the final score of the Super Bowl. (linked here)

Facebook Twitter Plusone Digg Reddit Stumbleupon Tumblr Email