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More Than Music

I can’t remember the last time I was away from my Dad on Father’s Day. He’s never been one for celebrating it, but being away from him today had me thinking a lot. This weekend I saw his favorite band in Paris and kept hoping that he was right there next to me the whole time. This was my second time seeing the Rolling Stones. The first time I was with my family back home in North Carolina. It was the greatest concert I’ve ever experienced. This time was different, I was in Paris and I was alone.

Like my Dad, the Rolling Stones are my favorite band. I’ve been listening to their music for as long as I can remember. Whenever I rode around town with my Dad I got a little Led Zeppelin, a little Grateful Dead, but mostly the Stones. I knew every word to every song on every CD. I loved car rides as a kid.

Sometimes we would pull up to the house but choose to stay in the car or take another lap around the neighborhood so we could listen to the solo at the end of “Sympathy For The Devil”. It was more than music to me—it was a connection that brought me closer to my father.

Like most kids, I could sometimes be an obnoxious little brat—getting wrapped up in juvenile desires with absolutely zero regard for anyone other than myself. I can recall several times these selfish episodes occurred in the car, upon which my Dad would pull out Hot Rocks, Disk 2 and turn it to track 7 “You Can’t Always Get What You Want”. He didn’t have to say a word, that always shut me up.

My Dad believes there’s only one way to listen to the Stones, with the volume fully cranked. Sometimes he might add some emphatic air guitar gestures just for fun—a habit I have adopted completely. He would talk about Keith Richards as if he knew the guy. I like to think if he ever met Keith they would get along as if they had known each other their whole lives.

When I started to play the guitar I couldn’t wait until I was good enough to play a Rolling Stones song. I was one of those kids who wanted to jump straight to electric, ready for the big leagues. Mostly I just wanted to impress my old man. I remember coming home from a lesson when I learned to play “Satisfaction” and I couldn’t wait to play it for my Dad. I set my amp up at the top of the stairs and sat there waiting for him to get home from work. As soon as he opened our front door I let it rip.

The first thing I did when I found out I would be studying in London this summer was check the Rolling Stones tour schedule. I was crushed to see they weren’t playing in London and even worse that all the shows had sold out. I didn’t let that discourage me and my Dad urged me to go even if I couldn’t find a ticket, convinced I’d figure something out.

I did. I found a ticket and set off for Paris. Towards the beginning of the show I could barely believe I was there. I was completely enthralled. For lack of a better way to put it, I was caught up in the moment, sometimes forgetting that I was alone. They would play one of my favorite songs, I would scream every word in excitement and then turn to realize I had no one to share the moment with.

I had never been to a concert by myself before, but I didn’t like that feeling. It made me sad. It wasn’t a sadness of being alone; after all I was in a stadium with 70,000 plus. It was the fact that I wasn’t sharing this incredible, once-in-a-lifetime moment with somebody who I might look back and reminisce with years from now. I wished more than anything that my Dad was there. He’s the one who brought me up to fall in love with this band. I would have loved nothing more than to turn to him and see the grin on his face when they came on for the encore and played “You Can’t Always Get What You Want”.

Thanks for teaching me to appreciate music, to go for it when you have the chance, but most of all, thanks for being my Dad.

Love,

Ford

We Are The Future

Final thoughts on JOMC 240 with Professor John Robinson

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Before this semester began our Professor sent an email to our class asking what we wanted to gain from JOMC 240 Current Issues in Mass Media.  I had very little to suggest.  All I asked was that we focus on what’s going on today rather than reading textbooks about what has already happened.  While the past is important to learn from, I believe we should have our eyes set on the future.

Throughout the course we touched on the past, we discussed what’s going on today, but we focused on the future.  The world of mass communication is rapidly evolving and progressing at a rate so fast that if you get caught up in the past or the present, you’ll be left behind.

A huge contributor to this pace of progression is (of course) the web, but more importantly, the networks we are able to establish through it.  Today we are able to learn so much through something as simple as following somebody on twitter or following a blogger.  We didn’t have a textbook for this course.  Instead, we were assigned to read articles from Mashable, The New York Times, Gigaom and blog posts of our fellow students.  And by blogging throughout the course of the semester, we began contributing to the networks.

I’ll admit, sometimes it was a pain to crank out even the minimum three blog posts a week, but it led me to discover and learn about things I otherwise might not have paid attention to.  Many times these discoveries came not from endless Google searches, but by reading the blog posts of my classmates.  Take a scroll through through our Rebel Mouse site, and you’ll find that this class is full of people who are pretty damn smart.

I learned a lot from my classmates during the semester (as well as Professor Robinson) and I realized it’s because we’re living in this rapidly evolving and progressing world of mass communication.  Our generation is more connected than any before us and this class isn’t taking it for granted.  We’re taking it head on and we’re moving it forward.  We have our eyes set on the future, because we are the future.

        “Skate to where the puck is going to be, not where it’s been.” – Wayne Gretzky

Thanks for a great semester.

-FS

*images obtained from Google images

Unfollow & Don’t Look Back

Social media allows us to stay connected with friends whether they are up the street or across the world.  It’s a great thing.  I’ve noticed that this is becoming something more and more important to me as the years go by and I become separated further from my friends.

Just this semester, several of my friends chose to study abroad.  And, because of social media, I have been able to keep up with them, see what they’re doing and live a little, vicariously through them.

Even a little closer to home, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat all keep me connected with friends from home and high school as we begin to physically part ways.  We’re all off at separate colleges doing different things, but still able to keep in touch through the many forms of social media at our disposal.  We’re able to continue building relationships and interacting with our faraway friends instead of being limited to the few occasions we now see each other–Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter, et cetera.

It is great to stay connected with friends, but on social media that term has taken on a whole different meaning.  As of right now, I have 1,161 “friends” on Facebook, but I’m working on that.  And when I say working, I mean unfriending.

I found that the first friends to go were those who I wasn’t close with to begin with.  Some names I didn’t recognize at all.  Second to go were those that I know well, but posted far more frequently than I cared to see.  These people have what I would consider “no filter” to their posting habits.  If you want a better idea of what I mean, it can be found on this list.  They simply post too much information.

Maureen O’Connor argues in her article, “The Joy of Unfollowing” that there is “no such thing as TMI on the Internet”.  The Internet is an all-inclusive, voluntary arena for media consumption and interaction.  O’Connor believes “we are living in a post-TMI age, and everyone needs to deal with it.  Preferably by using the ‘unfollow button.'”  I’ve found that it’s an effective tactic.

“If you continually recoil at TMI, it’s because you lack the willpower to stop consuming (or foresight to avoid) the information in question.  That’s your fault,” O’Connor says.

When we feel we are being exposed to TMI on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and whatever else, we just need to let go, unfollow and never look back.  It is our own fault if we continue to be frustrated by our “friends” content they share or the frequency at which they share it.  It’s an easy fix, we’re just reluctant to do it. One of my classmates, Ashley, asked this:

“Okay, I’ll unfollow them, but what am I supposed to say when they ask me (most of the time in an awkward face-to-face conversation) why I did that?”

My answer, tell the truth.

I recently had one of my friends confront me in one of these awkward face-to-face conversations during which she asked why I unfollowed her on Instagram.  I told her exactly why.

“Every single picture you put up is either of a horse or a dog.”

She kinda laughed and said, “well, I can’t argue with you there,” and was pretty cool about it.  Maybe this kind of reaction isn’t so common, but it worked out all right in this instance.

I think Ashley illustrates a common fear of unfollowing.  Oliver Burkeman, a writer for The Guardian, gives us a physical analogy for building up the courage to click the unfollow button.  He says it “feels like delivering a slap in the face (and not even a well-timed slap, since you can’t be sure when they’ll find out).”  He offers suggestions to lessen the surprise factor of the virtual slap to the face in his article.

Don’t let TMI get you down.  Because if you do, it’s all your fault.

-FS

*Images obtained from Google Images

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Coming Out in the World of Sports

I am revisiting a topic I discussed earlier on in the year on my blog because I feel I didn’t communicate my thoughts effectively.  Also, it pertains to an issue that continues to surface; that is, news coverage of athletes announcing that they are gay.

I don’t mean to sound insensitive, because I’m not, but these announcements aren’t news.  It may be news to the athletes family, their friends, their coaches and their teammates, but it is not news to the world.

Most recently, Derrick Gordon, a guard for the UMass men’s basketball team, announced that he is gay.  Of course, an interview shortly followed his announcement on April 8th in which Kate Fagan asked Gordon about his coming out.

The questioning started out relevant to sports.  First, Fagan asked Gordon what it was like to finally tell his teammates he was gay.  She quickly moved on to ask him about his parents’ reactions and how his siblings took the news.  Fagan later brought her questions back to basketball, Jason Collins and concerns of playing in college after coming out.

Gordon admitted in the interview that Jason Collin’s coming out encouraged him to do the same.  For this reason, the media coverage of these (very personal) announcements is a good thing.

I cannot speak from experience, but can imagine it is quite a difficult thing to build up the courage to do.  I think it’s a great thing and I don’t mean to criticize the athletes, because they didn’t ask for this attention.  But ESPN discovers someone who plays sports is gay and they decide to make it a news story and blow it completely out of proportion.

Michael Sam, a highly touted football player from Missouri captivated sports news for the same reason in February of this year.  The talented defensive end admitted to have been gay for some time, but felt that he should make his sexual orientation public before entering the NFL draft.

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The ensuing reaction from the media was all positive (as it should be) but I wonder if all the attention to stories like this are counterintuitive to the progression of homosexuals in general.  NBA basketball player Jason Collins made his coming out public last April.  Collins became the first openly gay athlete to play in a major American sport and ESPN had a field day with the news.

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I think it’s great that the media recognizes milestones such as these, but the amount of attention given to these announcements may be a little over-the-top.  It makes coming out seem like much more of a big deal than it should be.  I don’t mean to be inconsiderate of the people who have built up the courage to make their homosexuality public, but I do believe the media has successfully blown it out of proportion.

It makes me believe that the media attention is a large part of the reason athletes are reluctant to come out.  They may not want to be the next athlete to be talked about for a solid week on broadcast television solely because of their newly announced sexual orientation.

I’m sure the announcements of Collins, Sam and Gordon have given many athletes courage to be comfortable with who they are, but I don’t think they’ll want the media attention that these athletes have received.  I wish the best to all three of these athletes in their respective careers.  I just hope they make headlines in sports for something other than their sexual orientation going forward.

-FS

Phoneless in Sewanee, Tennessee

This weekend I went to Sewanee to visit my friend, Mason, who has been begging me to come for years.  The eight hour drive has kept me from making the trip, but I finally made it down there a month before he graduates and moves to Alaska to be a fishing guide.

This weekend was Sewanee’s biggest of the year.  I didn’t know exactly what to expect visiting a small school in the middle-of-nowhere, Tennessee coming from a big school in North Carolina.  It was almost like a music festival; band’s played all day, all over campus.  Everywhere we went someone has having a party.  And I kept bumping into people that I didn’t even know went to school there.

The first day I was there I kept taking snapchats of what was going on around me. At one point I realized that I was spending way to much time on my phone, a problem I don’t usually have.  I felt compelled (for some reason) to let all my friends back home know what I was doing down at Sewanee.  Maybe it was to throw it in their face after all of them decided to stay in Chapel Hill this weekend.

I was a little overwhelmed with how many people I didn’t know, and reverted to communicating with my friends at home rather than meeting people and enjoying the weekend away from home.  I kept taking refuge in my phone–tweeting about something, sending a snapchat, even a mass text to a group of friends.  Then I lost my phone.

I didn’t even realize I had lost it until hours after the fact, but once it was gone I felt relieved.  The only negative that came as a result was getting separated from my friends for a while and lost on a campus I had never been to before.  But even that was fun, and I eventually ended up in the right place.

I’ve always been critical of people who let their phones distract them from where they are and what they’re doing.  At the start of the weekend I was one of those people.  I was avoiding awkward first-time introductions and escaping into social media on my phone.  I didn’t really have fun until my phone was gone, but once it was I had a great time, met a ton of people, and had no concern for what was going on anywhere but what I was doing in Sewanee, Tennessee.

-FS

Branding Through Virality

Often times the most effective advertisements are those that strike deep into the viewers emotional core.  It’s a difficult thing to accomplish, especially when limited by the constraints of television spots or simply to a page in a magazine.  But the internet has broken down those barriers and it has given birth to the art of branded viral videos.

In this generation, the best ads are the ones that go viral.  They’re also usually the ones that were banned from television.  Take Scarlett Johansson’s SodaStream ad for instance.  This ad wasn’t banned from television, but it was banned from airing during the Super Bowl for sponsoring reasons, “Sorry, Coke and Pepsi”.

Halfway through the commercial, Johansson, straw in mouth, says, “if only I could make this message go viral,” after which she sheds her bathrobe to reveal a sexy black dress.  Some would say in order to have something go viral, you can’t say the word viral.  But when you include an actress often mentioned in the sexiest woman alive conversation, it changes the game a bit.  The ad has close to 14 million views on Youtube.

If any major company or brand hasn’t caught on to this trend, they are surely falling behind.  Dove has made several videos as part of their real beauty campaign that have tapped into emotion and have been seen by more than 62 million viewers.  Through their real beauty campaign they have solidified their brand as something more than soap.  Dove encourages people to be comfortable in their own skin, and embrace their real beauty.  Kmart had a video go viral because it’s simply hilarious, so funny it may make you “ship your pants”.


Chipotle has even entered the world of viral video advertising.  In a clever, pixar-like short film called “The Scarecrow”, Chipotle artistically communicates the values they uphold through the eyes of a conflicted factory worker who wants to make a difference.  The short includes a sorrowful rendition of “Pure Imagination” casting shadows on the poor practices exercised in today’s fast-food world.  The end of the short film mirrors Chipotle’s stand for “food with integrity” when the factory worker quits his job and opens up a food stand outside of the factory.

Apple went straight for the heart this past Christmas with the release of their “Misunderstood” video.  The ad focuses on a teenage kid whose attention is focused on his iPhone rather than enjoying Christmas festivities with his family.  At the end he plays a video for his family that he had been capturing the entire time.  It’s endearing to the point where it nearly brings tears to the eyes at the end.  The ad makes Apple seem like more than a tech company, and that is what viral branding is all about.

Viral branding enables a company to establish an emotional connection with consumers.  It provides them with enjoyment, laughter, sadness and an intimate relationship with the brand.  Viral videos are both “compelling and shareable” and although they may not cause a massive surge in revenue, “visual storytelling can help [an] organization stay relevant in ways that cannot be measured”.

-FS

Living in Two Worlds

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The other day I was talking to someone at a party and, in the middle of conversation, she turned to me said, “hey! thanks for liking my picture”.  I was confused and had to ask what she was talking about.  She reminded me that I liked a picture she posted on Instagram a couple days beforehand, which I had forgotten about.

I was a little surprised that she just thanked me for liking her picture, but afterwards, I was glad she did.

I think she might have been wondering why I liked it.  The picture had her and a few other people in it, one of which has been my friend for a long time.  We ended up talking about him for a while after we realized we had a mutual friend who happens to be one of the funniest guys I know.

Why is it that we completely separate our social media lives from our real ones sometimes?  Why should I be taken aback when someone thanks me for expressing interest in their life?  Maybe it’s because we all tend to keep our lives and our lives on social media separate.

Of all the people who “like” my photos on Instagram or favorite my tweets on Twitter, there have only been a handful who mention something to me about it later, in person.  It’s a shame, because it can lead to some interesting conversations.

If you think I’m wrong, wait until the next time you get back from a break.  After spring break I can’t tell you how many people asked me what I did, and then, after I told them they said, “Ohhh yeah, I saw your Instagram”, realizing they knew all along.  That’s not to say everyone knew what I was doing, but the people who did wouldn’t acknowledge it outright.  They wait until it comes up in conversation.

There are others who come back from break and no exactly what you did.  A conversation with that person might start more like this:

“How was Big Sky?  I saw your pictures, it looked amazing!”

I’ve found that my closer friends are more up-front in these situations.  And that’s not surprising by any means.  The people I’m not as close with are more likely to act as if they didn’t see my picture, or like it, and they’ll probably act oblivious to it when they see me.

It’s almost as if their hesitant to bring it up first because it might seem like their stalking you or something.  That shouldn’t be the case.  I follow you, you follow me, there’s no reason to ignore that social media relationship.  You’re not invading my privacy if you know where I’ve been.  I chose to put that picture up and all of my followers can see it.

Don’t hesitate to bring up social media in person, it makes it feel more normal. By ignoring our interactions on social media when we interact in person it makes them feel like two different worlds, when, in reality, social media is simply a minuscule online portion of our real lives.

-FS

*Images obtained from Google images

Getting Personal With Snapchat

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After reading a few classmates’ posts about Snapchat on their blogs, I thought about why it has become so popular.  Both Tara and Barrett believe it’s the absence of judgment that makes Snapchat so great.  I agree completely.

Snapchat is the one form of social media I use that doesn’t have the option for recipients to “like” it.  I think a lot of people tend to over-analyze their choices to tweet about something or post a picture to Instagram because they are concerned about how people might react.  They might even decide not to post something simply because they fear it won’t be “liked”, retweeted or whatever else.

Because Snapchat is a judgment-free social media zone, it makes it all the more entertaining.  I can remember several times when I have nearly cried from laughing so hard at a snap from my friends.  People just don’t hold anything back on Snapchat and it’s pretty refreshing to have a platform like that in the world of social media.

Unfortunately, the judgment-free social media zone has a downside too and it’s the same thing that makes it so awesome—people just don’t hold anything back.

I’d like to think I’m pretty sparing with my social media creation.  I don’t tweet constantly, or post pictures to Instagram often, but I can Snapchat my ass off.  Some people get a little carried away with their social media use, and when that happens on Snapchat it can take a turn to obnoxious fast.  When Snapchat added the “my story” feature to the app it sent some of those people over the edge.  Now their everyday lives have become a series of short films starring themselves that they feel compelled to share with the world.

I’ve started to ignore the my story feature completely as my own little Snapchat boycott.  In doing this I realized why I really like Snapchat, it’s personal.  You can send a snap to whomever you want; whether that is your entire Snapchat contact list, or just one person.  Yeah, sometimes it’s a pain to scroll through your contacts and pick each person you want to send your snap too, but you get the exact audience you want.

Usually when I send a snap there is a certain group of people I send it to.  Sometimes I send them only to my friends from home, whereas other times I will send them to my friends from UNC.  But every time, there is a reason for choosing a certain group of people.  It’s not for fear of judgment, because there isn’t any.  I just choose not to bombard people with pictures or videos that have zero relevance to them.  Maybe I’m alone on this one.

-FS

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Kansas’ Tears

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Last Sunday No. 10-seeded Stanford ousted the No. 2-seed Kansas to play another day in the NCAA Tournament.

In the closing minute of the surprising Kansas loss, the focus switched to someone off the court.  It wasn’t the parent of a player or the coaches’ family, but a young Kansas fan who happened to be taking the loss pretty hard.

Stanford had a sizable lead and the game appeared to be over.  CBS cut to a view of the crowd eventually zeroing in on a Kansas fan with tears streaming down his face, knowing his team would not continue to the sweet sixteen.  But here’s the thing, CBS didn’t get a brief shot of this pure emotion from a young fan, they kept the camera there.  For a long time.

Finally they took the camera off of the kid and refocused on the remaining minute of the game.  Kansas started to mount a bit of a comeback and cut the lead to two. Things started to get interesting–quick, flash back to the kid again, now wiping the tears from his eyes.

CBS’ select coverage of the young Kansas fan caused quite the commotion online.  First, Twitter flipped out.

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And then sports writers all over the web commented on it.  The troubling thing to me was very few of them came to the young fan’s defense, and if they did, they danced around it a bit.

Nick Schwartz of USA Sports pointed out “sad kids at games have been a staple of broadcast coverage for years.”  He went on to question whether or not it is okay today due to the rise of social media.  Because of this, “almost everything on TV will be documented somewhere and stored on the internet forever.”  Schwartz entertained the question of deeming this insensitive, but did not answer it himself.

Well, at least he didn’t add to the ridicule.

CBS didn’t hesitate to continue broadcasting the fan’s sorrow all over their website.  The video of the kid crying plays on a reel and under it the CBS Eye on College Basketball staff wrote this:

“I’m sure this kid wasn’t the only one crying toward the end of Kansas’ round of 32 loss to Stanford, but he represents Jayhawk fans everywhere.”

“And he’s going to go viral.”

“It’s good to see a kid that passionate about a college basketball program, though.”

Wow.  As if it wasn’t cruel enough to continually show this kid on live TV, now they have him crying online.  Their commentary shows absolutely zero concern for the young fan’s feelings.  I guess I should have expected that from the source who found him in the crowd in the first place.  I’m sorry to be adding to the virality, Kansas kid.

Mashable may have taken the lightest approach to the fan’s unwarranted spotlight.  Sam Laird wrote, “Stanford scored one of the weekend’s biggest March Madness upsets by taking down mighty Kansas . . . but that may not be what the game is remembered for.”

The upset would be remembered for the “tearful young Kansas fan” CBS zoomed in on in the crowd.  “Then CBS focused in on him some more.  And some more.  And–what the heck?–some more for good measure.”

Laird admitted that it has become commonplace for “sad young fans” to be featured in sports broadcasts.  But the “extra-long fixation on this particular small fan ticked off Twitter in a way that’s far from usual,” and this for good reason.  By the time Laird wrote this article, the hashtag #CryingKansasFan had picked up some serious attention.  On Sunday alone “the phrase was mentioned nearly 5,000 times on Twitter.”

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Laird ended his article by weighing the two sides of the tearful fan’s coverage:

“On the one hand, CBS’ lingering shot was exploitative and the online backlash is well-earned.  On the other hand, raw emotion like this is half the reason we obsess over sports in the first place–and while this shot went on for a rather long time, showing a sad young fan wasn’t otherwise very unusual.”

Most of the articles wrongly characterized the loss through the lens of the young fan. Because of the coverage, his crying face has become the symbol of the Kansas loss.  Not the players hanging their heads, not the coach shaking hands with the other in defeat, but this little kid’s face.

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Although these images perfectly capture the Stanford upset of Kansas, a young fan was victimized by CBS to communicate the agony of the loss.  I can remember times in my life when I have cried over games.  Several of them I played in myself, but I have let plenty of tears flow sitting in the Dean Dome as I watched my team lose.  Lucky for me, I never became a hashtag for people to tweet about and ridicule.  Unfortunately I cannot say the same for this poor Kansas fan.  So, keep your head up buddy, some of us admire your passion.

-FS

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Data-Driven Journalism

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Over the course of the semester we’ve talked a lot about disruption and how it affects media.  Disruption always causes change, for better or for worse.  A friend of mine sent me an article last week about a news site he frequents that is going through a transformation period.  He thought I would find it interesting, being a journalism and mass communication major.

The news organization is Five Thirty Eight.  I had never heard of it before, but have spent the past week checking out their site, which is different from many out there.  Five Thirty Eight is primarily driven by data journalism.  They are probably most known for their prediction in the 2012 presidential election in which they called 50 out of 50 states correctly.

Until a recent shift, Five Thirty Eight was primarily dedicated to politics.  Nate Silver, the founder  and editor in chief of Five Thirty Eight, thought it was time for a change.  The re-launch of Five Thirty Eight will expand their focus to five categories:  Politics, Economics, Science, Life and Sports.  However, all of these topics will still be covered though the process of data journalism which Silver thinks adds value to traditional news stories.  Five Thirty Eight will include written stories alongside statistical analysis data visualization, computer programming and data-literate reporting.  A good site for a news thirsty computer nerd.

Five Thirty Eight will also be collaborating with ESPN films and Grantland to produce original documentary films.  This will likely draw in a more diverse audience than Five Thirty Eight has experienced.

Their staff has expanded with former employees of prestigious, traditional journalism organizations like The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Guardian and The Washington Post.  “Conventional news organizations on the whole are lacking in data journalism skills,” Silver says.  So he brought in the pros of their business to his business.

Silver offered an inside look at Five Thirty Eight’s approach through the context of hockey.  Esteemed hockey coach Brian Burke mentioned in an interview that statistics could not measure the perseverance of a hockey player.  He expressed this by wondering if one of his forwards would retain the puck when Zdeno Chara, a rather large (6’9″) defenseman of the Boston Bruins, was coming for him.  Silver sees this concern as a challenge.

“Often, general managers and CEOs and op-ed columnists use the lack of data as an excuse to avoid having to examine their premises,” Silver said. The NHL might install motion-detecting cameras in their arenas to capture the action on the ice.  These cameras will create a “record of each players x- and y- coordinates throughout the game,” allowing Five Thirty Eight to measure a hockey player’s perseverance when going agains tough opponents.  And then, with this data, Silver would consider these questions:

1. Is it smart for a player to keep control of the puck when Chara (or a similarly gifted defensemen) has him in his sights? Might the player yield fewer turnovers if he passed the puck instead?

2. Would measuring a player’s perseverance give us meaningful information beyond what is reflected in “box score” statistics, such as goals, assists and plus-minus?

3. Do players who persevere under threat match those who are regarded as “tough” or as having lot of “heart” by coaches, scouts and commentators? If not, is the metric flawed, or are the coaches biased?

This is a perfect example of what Five Thirty Eight hopes to accomplish in their transition.  They don’t seek to replace traditional journalism, just to offer a more data-driven spin on it.  And traditional journalism organizations should prepare themselves, because Five Thirty Eight won’t be the first to cover a story, but they’ll be the first to get it right.

-FS

Nate Silver on their logo, because it’s cool.

Our logo depicts a fox (we call him Fox No. 92) as an allusion to a phrase originally attributed to the Greek poet Archilochus: “The fox knows many things, but the hedgehog knows one big thing.” We take a pluralistic approach and we hope to contribute to your understanding of the news in a variety of ways.