The Media Learning Curve: Dec. 24-31

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Following up from today’s year-end media column (linked here):

== Orange County Register writer Kevin Ding wrote on his Lakers blog the other day (linked here):

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“Hey, Will Selva of ESPNEWS. Glad you liked my last column so much. Try not to plagiarize it next time.”

Ding explained that when he got to his hotel room late Tuesday night after the Lakers-Spurs game, he flipped on ESPNEWS’ “Highlight Express” show and “imagine my shock” when Selva used the first several paragraphs of a story he did a couple days earlier.

We’re pleased that ESPN has since suspended Selva, an anchor whose name we’d have otherwise never known if not for Ding’s discovery (he’s been there three years?) Others have been fired for such offenses. At least Selva owned up to it.

And Ding brought attention to something that is far too prevalent in the sports media rush to repurpose paragraphs in the rush to get an assignment done. You can’t take that thing as a “compliment,” as some suggest, and just ignore it.

== Check out the year-end sports media best and worst from SI.com’s Richard Deitsch (linked here)

== As ratings will predictably drop during this year’s college bowl season — some, because almost all the games, including the BCS championship, has moved to ESPN, and others, because they’re just poor matchups — the Wall Street Journal (linked here) researched which teams over the last 10-plus years have lived up to their drawing power, and which haven’t.

The winner: USC, on probation this season. The worst: Virginia.

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== Universal Sports recognizes the recent passing of Olympic documentarian Bud Greenspan by airing nine of his works, starting Saturday (6 p.m.) with his piece on the 1984 L.A. Summer Olympics — the original “Sixteen Days of Glory,” that focuses on Carl Lewis (above), Edwin Moses, Rowdy Gaines, Mary Lou Retton, Zola Budd and Joan Benoit. It follows in subsequent days airing Greenspan’s documentaries on the ’88 Calgary Winter Games, the ’94 Lillehammer Winter Games, the ’96 Atlanta Summer Games, the ’98 Nagano Winter Games, the 2000 Sydney Summer Games (includes a piece on Tommy Lasorda), the ’02 Salt Lake City Winter Games, the ’04 Athens Summer Games (with UCLA’s Lisa Fernandez), and the ’06 Torino Winter Games.

FYI: The U.S. Olympic Committee established a scholarship in 2007 at USC’s School of Cinematic Arts to honor Greenspan, and his family asks that any donations be made to that fund. For more information: erica.hutchinson@usoc.org.

AND FINALLY:

== Former Olympic Greco-Roman wrestler Rulon Gardner appears on NBC’s “Biggest Loser,” (linked here) as the 11th season of the weight-loss reality show starts Tuesday.

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The 39-year-old Gardner, who won gold in 2000 and the bronze in 2004, weighs in at 474 pounds and has developed high blood pressure and sleep apnea, could win $250,000 with his business partner joining him on the show if they out-lose 20 other contestants.

“The day that I won the bronze medal in the Olympics, I thought, ‘You’ll never step on a scale again, live life and enjoy, take a year or two years off,’” Rulon said in a promotional video, explaining his appearance on the show. “I allowed myself to really lose track of what I was doing and finally got to a point where I couldn’t look in the mirror.”

He now works as a motivational speaker and runs a training center and fitness gym in Logan, Utah.

Gardner and partner Justin Pope have been taping the show in L.A. since September but managed to keep it all a secret.

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