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Archive for December, 2006

A Very Un-December Matchup: #2 Pittsburgh vs. # 7 Wisconsin

Posted by Mike on December 16, 2006

This is one of the biggest games of December in college basketball The 2nd ranked Pittsburgh Panthers come to Madison to face the 7th ranked Wisconsin Badgers. December is usually when elite teams load their schedule with easy opponents at home. To see such a difficult nonconference game at this time of year is a breath of fresh air. A matchup like this is so unexpected that I did not realize this game was on until this morning! So forgive me for not providing a preview.

Players to Watch:

  • Aaron Gray, Pitt. He has the flu today, but his size (7-0, 270) and dominance of the paint make him a top NBA prospect and a big reason Pitt is such a good team.   Aaron Gray
  • Alondo Tucker, Wisconsin. Another big NBA prospect, he can take over a game from anywhere on the court.

alando_tucker.jpg

12:19 pm: This game is happening at such a fast pace. Pitt Guard Ronald Ramon is making a big impact with a sweet jumpshot. As expected, Alondo Tucker is having a big game so far. The game is teid, 16-16.

12:21 pm: 9 minutes have already passed in the first half. Aaron Gray is finally back in, and already he fouls tucker. 18-16, Wisconsin.

12:23 pm: The Kohl Center is one of the toughest places to play. I think that in the last five years the Badgers have lost only 2 non-conference games at home.

12:25 pm: Amazing–Wisconsin has yet to turnover the ball and we’re more than halfway through the first half. They taken a few bad shots, though, which have led to Pitt opportunities. 20-18, Pitt.

12:26 pm: Tucker hits a three, but Aaron Gray finally contributes off the fast break. 22-21, Pitt. I like the exciting, fast pace of the game.

12:29 pm: About the Kohl Center, I looked it up, and the Badgers have won 38 consecutive games from 2004 to 2005.

12:31 pm: 25-25. Tucker has 15 of Wisconsin’s 25 points, and he’s hitting shots from everywhere.

12:33 pm: 27-25, Wisconsin. Pitt calls a timeout; the Panthers have absolutely no answer for Tucker, who now has 17.

12:35 pm: Holy Crap! I just saw a 7 footer from Wisconsin hit a 3-pointer. 32-28, Badgers.

I just found out that the Wisconsin student section is called “The Grateful Red.” I have no idea how to respond to this.

12: 36 pm: 35-30, Wisconsin. Everyone on the Badgers is draining threes, it’s unbelievable, Pitt needs to improve the perimeter defense, but give some credit, the Badgers can really shoot, and that will be dangerous come tourney time.

12:37 pm: This is a really exciting game. Pitt and Wisconsin are really going at blow for blow. Pitt’s Ramon is hitting threes too.

12:39 pm: I hate to say it, but Alondo Tucker may be a better player than Tyler Hansbrough right now. This has really become a statement game for him.

Bizarre ad alert: Touchdown Chad Johnson.

12:43 pm: 45-35 Wisconsin. I just found out: the big guy hitting threes for the Badgers is Brian Butch, and he has 18 today. You gotta love it when a big guy hits shots from outside; it creates the ultimate mismatch.

Brian Butch

(Photo: Can you believe this guy is having his way with the Pitt defense?)

12:45 pm: Tucker has even even made good steals and rebounds. Wisconsin has dominated the last several minutes of this game, and the crowd has started to get intimidating.

I just found out that Wisconsin will play Ohio State January 9th. You can bet I’m blogging that.

12:48 pm: The half ends, 47-37 Wisconsin. I expected Tucker to have a good day, but I doubt that anyone expected Brian Butch to have his coming out party today. The two have combined for 40 out of 47 points for the Badgers. What a game so far!

Wisconsin coach Bo Ryan is just as surprised as we are. I think he may soil himself from sheer excitement.

12:54 pm: I just saw a really funny local ad; it’s too bad I cant link to it. The premise: University GM-“The Carfather”. Don’t ask me about my business.

1:03 pm: What’s The Big Ten doing advertising with Talib Kweli? More importantly, what’s Talib Kweli doing advertising the Big Ten? What happened to street cred? I guess it goes away when you have to pay the bills.

1:05 pm: There are a few Pitt players in foul trouble. This is very useful for Wisconsin’s gameplan for the rest of the game, especially if the three pointers go cold.

1:08 pm: 50-39, Wisconsin. This is one of those rare moments in the game when not much is happening.

1:10 pm: Aaron Gray is having a decent game, but it seems like the flu is affecting him; he looks very fatigued.

1:13 pm: This first part of the second half has been shockingly uneventful. I did not need to know that Alondo Tucker likes to sing in practice. But they’re going to cram it into my brain, I’m going to cram it into yours.

1:16 pm: My family has converge in the room to distract me from blogging as much as possible. It’s very frustrating. My sister’s talking very loudly directly into my ear. 57-47, Wisconsin.

1:18 pm: Pitt is being dominated in the paint. I really did not expect this, but then again nobody else expected Brian Butch to score 25 points.

1:21 pm: Pitt coach Jamie Dixon is very, very frustrated with the play of his team right now. He looks like a screaming alien sporting a toupee right now.

1:25 pm: 63-49, Wisconsin. The Badgers are really dominating the paint. Where’s Ronald Ramon when the Panthers need him?

Just as I say that, Ramon hits a three. 63-52.

1:28 pm: The game has started to get a little sloppy. Pitt needs to take advantage of this, and soon.

Gray is stating to make an impact. He has 15 points and has given one Wisconsin’s big men four fouls.

1:30 pm: 65-55, Wisconsin. It looks like the threes have gone cold in the second half, which may explain the need to force the ball inside, which in turn explains why the game is sloppier. The two teams are now better able to anticipate each other.

1:35 pm: Here’s something I didn’t expect: Alondo Tucker has gone cold in the second half. Ten minutes have elapsed and he only has two points, both free throws.

1:37 pm: My sister is fully aware that I am tying to blog, and yet she cannot bring herself to stop talking right into my ear. What’s even worse? I am deeply interested in what she’s discussing. So I guess everything works out.

1:40 pm: The guy who has picked up the slack since Tucker has gone cold in the first half: Kammron Taylor. He went scoreless in the first half and has 12 in the second with 8 minutes to go.

Which jewelry ad is worse: Zales with the White Chicks song, Kay with the corny stories, or “He went to Jared”? This would be a debate for the ages.

1:45 pm: A great shot and a great rebound later, Tucker is looking good again. 76-61 Wisconsin. Pitt looks like they’re starting to panic.

1:46 pm: Brian Butch comes back in the game. The Badgers have done what was thought impossible. They have bullied Pitt in the paint.

1:48 pm: Holy Crap, what a shot by Tucker! He was in the paint, ran to the perimeter, tuned around and drained a three. 80-63, Wisconsin.

1:49 pm: Looks like the Badgers have this one wrapped up. Who would have thought Butch vs. Oden would be an intriguing matchup on Jan. 9?

1:52 pm: Pitt isn’t giving up yet, but too much Alondo Tucker. He has 29 now. 83-69, Wisconsin.

1:55 pm: I’m disappointed that none of the players in this game has interesting hair. Good thing that Bo Ryan’s gray, slicked back, receding hair hair is enough bad hair for his whole team.

2:00 pm: I was wrong about Bo Ryan’s surprise about Brian Butch. Turns out he has that “I’m about to soil myself” look all the time.

Bo Ryan

2:15 pm: The game goes final: 89-75, Wisconsin ruins Pitt’s perfect record. Wisconsin won this game by beating Pitt at the Panthers’ strength: the paint. Other than Gray, the inside presence was almost nonexistent. That’s why I won’t give my game ball to Alondo Tucker, but to the surprise of the game, Brian Butch. He had 27 points and 10 rebounds and surprised everyone who watched him. If he can play like that all season, there is no ceiling for the Badgers. They can go deep into March.

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Week 12 Press Release (Gutted and Reupholstered)

Posted by Mike on December 11, 2006

(Note: I am not really a writer for the Daily Tar Heel, and this is merely a hypothetical scenario only loosely based on reality.)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Mike White

Sports Columnist, Daily Tar Heel.com

PO Box 3257, Chapel Hill, NC 27515

www.dailytarheel.com/

digitalheadbutt.wordpress.com/

mwhite@email.unc.edu

(919) 962-0245

DTH Website to make changes in sports section

Chapel Hill, NC–December 11, 2005– Beginning next semester, The sports section of the the sports section on the Daily Tar Heel website (dailytarheel.com) will undergo some radical changes to its format and presentation.

Web-only articles will now be published alongside articles from the print DTH, and all articles will contain additional multimedia, including photos and links to similar or relevant articles. the DTH will also have a sports blog where all of the DTH sports columnists will contribute with articles, photos, videos, podcasts, and other information that can’t go into the the print DTH sports section.

“It’s a new direction we’re taking to better serve the students”, said DTH Senior sports writer Gregg Found. “It’s very exciting to add all of these cool features to the site-blogs, videos, mp3s, the like. I’m really looking forward to it.”

Up to this point, the online arm of the DTH sports section has been decidedly minimalist. The content was little more than print articles reprinted on the Web, initially for UNC students who were unable to get a print paper on campus. But as the web has grown, so has the need for new features on the site.

The new features for the site will include:

  • Photos. In addition to photos embedded in articles, the new site will feature photoessays, and photo galleries from sporting events.
  • Videos and podcasts. the DTH will now feature many video clips and podcasts, including highlights and reviews of events not broadcast on TV or radio.
  • Blogs. Perhaps the most important change that will take place is a new DTH blog exclusively for sports. All DTH sports will contribute articles to the blog on a regular basis and feature multimedia as well as access to related articles and opinions not expressed in the print DTH. This will allow for more freedom of expression amongst DTH sportswriters.

“The goal [of this project] is to provide a service that no one else can give, so that students come to us first” Found said. “Right now most students go online to Tar Heel Blue and to them, DTH online has been an afterthought. We want to change that.”

If this multimedia integration is succesful in the Sports section, the DTH may consider integrating the ideas into the entire website.

For more information on the DTH online sports section’s new features, please contact the Sports editor at sports@unc.edu or Mike White at mwhite@email.unc.edu.

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Bringing the Daily Tar Heel into the Digital Age

Posted by Mike on December 10, 2006

The theory: Netizens want a more interactive experience in an online article versus a print article.

The problem: Dailytarheel.com articles offer nothing new compared to the print version of the DTH

The solution: Take steps to make the site’s online experience more interactive.

The purpose of a newspaper website, the online arm of a print publication, is to provide information and services that the print version cannot. Using the nearly infinite network of the Web to give readers a larger and more varied amount of information in a more timely way creates a completely different experience for the website versus the passive nature of a print newspaper. Not that they each have their place; most major newspapers such as the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal have adjusted to a two-way model of disseminating then news online and in print.

The Daily Tar Heel fails in this miserably. What one finds on the website is almost precisely what is found in the print version of the DTH. The articles from the print version are simply reprinted on DTH.com, in dearth of multimedia and access to extra information. The website is an untapped opportunity to give UNC students a much more exciting dissemination of news. Here is how they should reform their website for the digital age:
All columnists should have their own blogs. Most columnists at the DTH only write articles once or twice a week, and opinion articles can be even more sparse. If all DTH columnists had their own blogs, their thoughts would not be limited to their weekly column; they a free to write on a much more regular basis as well as present much more information to readers, making this means of communication much more personal. This also means less censorship of what columnists say, which is good for freedom of speech, but bad if avoiding lawsuits is concerned.

Integrating multimedia into print stories. All of the articles seen on the DTH website are essentially copied and pasted from the print version. The articles should contain much more, including

  • photoblogs and photostories
  • video coverage of stories
  • podcasts
  • links and access to related articles across the web

Web-only columnists. In addition to giving the print stories a new dimension on the web, the DTH should have several columnists who exclusively write web content. Having web-only columnists would allow the site to have much more original content updated more frequently than copying and pasting print stories.

Participatory activites. Having experienced the front lines, many students pick up the Daily Tar Heel for the main purpose of playing sudoku or word puzzles, perhaps because these puzzles are the only participatory section of the print newspaper. The online DTH should then bring more reader participation. It could be flash cartoons, mp3 downloads of local artists, even allowing non-DTH student to contribute as guests with multimedia-based stories (such as a photo essay).

With such a diverse medium at their fingertips, the DTH need not be so one-dimensional. Hopefully they’l listen and change their site to use the Web to the best of their advantage.

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JOMC 711 In Review

Posted by Mike on December 10, 2006

Taking this course has been quite an enlightening experience for me. I have had a lot of fun interacting with my fellow students as well as writing for this blog, and I feel that I will be able to apply much of what I learned into real life. I want to thank all of the students and my professor BC for making this great experience possible.

How my writing has changed and what I’ve learned that is most useful:

  • Writing for an audience. When writing any piece it’s vital to have a specific audience in ind to write for. Before this class I was already conscious about writing for an audience, but often I would write for a very specific audience: the person who was going to critique my work, usually someone in academia. It would sometimes be difficult for me to escape that mindset when trying to write for a wider audience (in my case, Tar Heel fans like me). This class has forced me to break from that line of thinking, and fundamentally it has made my writing much better and less cumbersome. I am now much more comfortable when writing for an audience, and I think that my work has improved dramatically as a result.
  • Writing in a web-friendly format. I was a novice at writing for the Web, also because I was accustomed to writing for academic print. Therefore a lot of my early blog work would compose of long, visually straining paragraphs. Over the course of the semester I have become very conscious of writing to better suit the format by using smaller easy-to-read paragraphs, bullet lists like this one and simpler language to say more in less space.
  • Semiotics: The design of the webpage greatly impacts the reaction netizens have to your site, and it’s important to design the page in a user-friendly manner while paying attention to audience. For example, I began this website with a design which I thought looked cool, but ultimately made it difficult to navigate the page and eye-straining to read the articles, so I ultimately settled on this efficient, no-nonsense design. You never get a second chance at a first impression.
  • Integrating multimedia. The Web may be text-based, but it has so much more to offer, and thus netizens demand more than just text from online articles. I now try  to integrate multimedia into my articles whenever possible, including photos, videos, flash animation, and links to relevant outside information.

A few unanswered questions:

  • How does a blogger more efficiently advertise and/or drive traffic to their blog?  How do you get search engines to find you first without writing solely for keywords or altering the subject of content with the intent of attracting search engines?
  • What are some effective strategies in using viral video as a means of advertising for your site/business? Viral advertising brings a lot of attention to a business. How do you use it to get the attention of the right netizens?

What could be changed about the course:

  • Blackboard Discussion Boards. The discussion boards of this course was the digital equivalent of attending class, and I gained a lot of information from the boards. However the lack of organization made me have to sift through many postings that was of little relevance to the main discussion. There has to be a way to efficiently find more pertinent posts.
  • PDF Articles. Some of the PDF articles for this semester were either badly scanned or photocopied. This made them very difficult to read on top of the fact that some of them discussed concept that did not seem to have real life applications.
  • Study Book. The Study book offered a good general view of the course and was a good reference for details on assignments, but I did not use it as much as I thought I would. Perhaps it should include a deeper discussion of concepts that might not be discussed in as much detail on Blackboard.

I had so much fun this semester writing about Tar Heel Athletics that I created a new blog mostly dedicated to the Heels, Tar Heel Mania, which I hope my classmates will visit regularly. More than anything else, this semester has laid the ground rules of writing online so that I can simply set my mind free when I write, and the result is a much better product.

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