Tag Archive: Bowl Championship Series


“The cab driver boasted that his daughter had just graduated. But then he admitted that her journalism degree from the University of Wisconsin had cost $140,000. Since journalism is an ill-paid job that requires no formal qualification, this sounds like a waste of money.” – The Economist, Universities challenged, August 31, 2013

cabdriver

Those are fightin’ words.

Doesn’t The Economist benefit from well-trained and clever journalists?

Should we just shut down all journalism and mass communication schools nationwide, if not worldwide?

Would the last J-school student be kind enough to turn out the lights?

This revealing provocative lead in which the Economist writer shared her/his intimate conversation with a Chicago area cabbie (so much wisdom is imparted in cabs) actually concerned the state of affairs of higher education. Namely, the upcoming federal Department of Education (DOE) ratings system in which colleges and universities conceivably will be judged for federal hand-outs based upon cost, graduation rate and how much students earn in their careers.

And you thought the Bowl Championship Series (BSC) metrics were Byzantine? Thank Darwin we only have to endure this system for one more year. The DOE standards/regulations could be with us into the indefinite future…which could be, forever.

Now that we have clarified the basic premise of the article, let’s go back to the notion that journalism is “ill paid,” that it requires “no formal qualification” and the implication that university journalism schools are a “waste of money.”

Other than that Mrs. Lincoln, how was the play?

Considering that I have two journalism-related degrees (one undergraduate and the other post-graduate) and I spent more than three-decades as a reporter (a few years) and as a public relations practitioner (a lot of years) and lately as a college instructor (a few more), I have a problem or two with the gross oversimplification exhibited by The Economist.

There is no doubt that college is damn expensive and not getting cheaper anytime soon. And yes, traditional Gutenbergesque journalism is in trouble. The business model doesn’t work anymore. Having acknowledged the obvious, these conclusions miss a major point: The global desire and yearning for instantaneous-and-accurate information on a 24/7/365 basis has never been greater.

The ability to tell the story, and to tell it well whether it be a reporter/editor, a public relations practitioner or advertising professional is in constant demand and cannot be effectively outsourced or offshored en masse.

The methods for telling, reporting and disseminating the story are changing. The world has moved from analog to digital. The demand for information outstrips the supply, and this trend is accelerating. This is an upward-to-the-right market.

And how will future journalism, public relations, advertising, social media and multi-media professionals learn these information development and dissemination skills? How about these supposedly “waste-of-money” journalism schools?

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1.)  Writing effectively will always be in demand, particularly by those who can quickly come to the point, provide insightful analysis, and write professionally and skillfully, employing AP Style.

2.)   Understanding the concept of the inverted pyramid in which the crux of the story is in the lead and all the supporting information flows from there.

3.)   Determining whether a story is newsworthy (or not) for target audiences. Learning how to ask the What? When? Where? Who, Why? And How?, ascertain these answers and transmit a complete-and-clear picture succinctly to news transmitters, whether they are conventional or digital.

4.)   Grasping and using “Big Data” in the form of compelling infographics to quickly and efficiently present useful information to critical audiences.

5.)   Appreciating that social media is not monolithic. There is a distinction between “connections” and “friends” online. Yes, you can digitally self-publish in 140-characters or less. Blogging is alive and well. Social media can be radioactive as digital miscues are eternal.

6.)   Comprehending the societal and technological shift from two-way asymmetrical communication theory (one to the masses) to digitally enabled two-way symmetrical communication theory conversations (message receiver responds publicly to the message sender).

7.)   Gaining the skill sets to generate professional digital photos, audio and video and use state-of-the-art software (e.g., Final Cut Pro) for compelling multimedia pieces.

8.)   Garnering the knowledge of financial communications including relevant SEC disclosure rules and being able to distinguish between fiduciary responsibility and corporate social responsibility.

9.)   Overcoming glossophobia and becoming more confident in delivering presentations, particularly those that are conversational in style and using supporting graphics.

10.)  Securing the confidence to perform instinctively in a crisis communications setting, quickly develop relevant messages and ultimately protect an organization’s reputation and brand.

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There is little doubt that journalism, public relations, advertising, social media and multi-media educators, graduates and students can add to the Almost DailyBrett list of J-School attributes cited above, including cultural distinctions inherent in international communications.

What’s more important is that when one considers and weighs the skill sets that are being taught and learned, particularly in a rapidly changing technology landscape, the value of a solid journalism education is maybe as valuable as it has ever been.

Society’s insatiable demand for news and information has never been greater.

The Genie is simply not going back into the bottle.

http://www.economist.com/news/united-states/21584393-barack-obama-wants-degrees-be-better-value-money-universities-challenged

 

 

Considering all the consternation about the Electoral College, one must ask why it isn’t ranked in the BCS (Bowl Championship Series)?

The BCS (at least at the moment) seems to be obsessed only with Alabama, Florida, Kansas and Oregon. That’s just four mere states with a grand total of 51 electoral votes.

bcstrophy

Heck that’s nothing compared to the Electoral College, which features inordinate attention on 10 states (and maybe more): Florida, Virginia, Pennsylvania, Ohio, New Hampshire, Michigan, Wisconsin, Iowa, Colorado and Nevada or 131 electoral votes.

The BCS is predicated on a bunch of computers and two polls: The Harris Interactive College Football Poll and the USA Today Coaches’ Poll.  That’s it? Some computer hardware and two lousy polls, and the BCS is labeled as a “controversy”?

Conversely, the Electoral College is absolutely overrun with polls, both nationally and state-by-state. And the Electoral College can more than match the BCS when it comes to computers chomping on statistics. Regressions anyone? How would you like your Likert Scales prepared?

The BCS is designed to provide us with two worthy contestants for college football’s national championship. Big deal. The political process has already given us the final two contestants about six months ago. Barack Obama even spent his wedding anniversary night with Mitt Romney.

The BCS was founded in 1998 to determine the national championship (and will essentially go out of business when a four-team national playoff ensues in 2014). The Electoral College is enshrined in the US Constitution, providing for the indirect election of the nation’s chief executive. It seems that our Founding Fathers did not have unlimited faith in the men of America (alas, women were disenfranchised at the time), and wanted the wise electors to make the ultimate decision. The forerunner for this system was Medieval Germany where the peasant’ votes were represented by the nobles and they in turn made the wise decision relative to a chief executive.

Every Sunday, ESPN keeps us in suspense for about 10 minutes about who will be the latest Deep South/Midwest team to leap-frog small market, West Coast Oregon in the BCS standings. Heck when it comes to getting screwed, college football has nothing on politics. One thing to say about college football is that one team must put up more points on the scoreboard in every game in order to win and (maybe) move up in the BCS standings.

Want to lose the popular vote and still win? Try out American politics. It has happened thrice in our history as Rutherford B. Hayes “won” over Samuel J. Tilden in 1876; Benjamin Harrison “defeated” Grover Cleveland in 1888; and George W. Bush “bested” Al Gore in 2000 even though the majority of voters went the other way. There are no “hanging chads” in college football.

Now some political science fiction fans are conjecturing that Romney could win the popular vote (e.g., the battle) and lose the Electoral College to Obama (e.g., the war). There is also talk of a 269-269 tie, which would throw Democratic lawyers into a tizzy and the presidential election into the Republican dominated House of Representatives.

electoralcollege

If you are an eternal optimist and have more than a modicum of faith, you can root for the BCS to get it right and invite the two best SEC teams to once again contest for the national championship. The rest of the nation can settle for the New Mexico and Idaho Famous Potatoes Bowls.

Who knows for sure, we may have an outright winner in both electoral votes and popular vote for the third election in a row.

Even with these potential happy results (at least to some), there are still big-time issues with both the BCS and the Electoral College. Fortunately for college football fans, a genuine four-team playoff is coming in two years. Will it solve all the problems and end all of the arguments? Of course not, but that is what makes college football downright mesmerizing.

For the big state fans, they will continue to call for the direct election of the president via the popular vote (concentration on New York, Florida, Texas, California) as opposed to the Electoral College (saturated coverage of New Hampshire, Iowa, Colorado and Nevada).

The big state folks should beware of what they wish for: A never-ending litany of attack ads cluttering their airwaves and computer screens for nearly a year at a time. Guess, the BCS is looking better and better with each passing day.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electoral_College

http://www.bcsknowhow.com/bcs-formula

http://www.bostonglobe.com/news/nation/2012/10/23/with-election-close-prospect-rises-that-electoral-college-winner-won-popular-vote-winner/nKvUAubKM1kcb6ewxshSzO/story.html

http://people.howstuffworks.com/question4721.htm

http://www.google.com/search?sourceid=navclient&ie=UTF-8&rlz=1T4ADRA_enUS373US374&q=When+does+the+four-team+college+football+playoff+begin%3f

 

 

 

 

 

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