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Thread: Meryl Davis's Grandmother is from London, ONT.

  1. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Serious Business View Post


    This bit of supposed journalism is more of a stretch than Meryl's leg line could ever be.
    When a major sporting event comes to a relatively small city like London, Ontario (Pop. 366,151) and the local paper finds a connection to that city from a top foreign competitor, it should write about that connection, especially since Meryl apparently still has relatives in the area. It helps promote the international aspect of the event and the newspaper’s international credentials. BTW, it’s called Journalism 101.

  2. #17
    Custom Title Mathman's Avatar
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    I wonder who is more numerous in London, Ont., the Dennis family or the Virtue family? Maybe this will balance out the home town advantage factor.

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    Quote Originally Posted by KKonas View Post
    When a major sporting event comes to a relatively small city like London, Ontario (Pop. 366,151) and the local paper finds a connection to that city from a top foreign competitor, it should write about that connection, especially since Meryl apparently still has relatives in the area. It helps promote the international aspect of the event and the newspaper’s international credentials. BTW, it’s called Journalism 101.
    And it's a human interest article, a perfectly legitimate genre. What's wrong with that? It probably makes residents of the locality feel as if they have even more of an involvement in the competition. Hey, skating can use all the friends it can get.

  4. #19
    Like subtlety in ice dancing Serious Business's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KKonas View Post
    When a major sporting event comes to a relatively small city like London, Ontario (Pop. 366,151) and the local paper finds a connection to that city from a top foreign competitor, it should write about that connection, especially since Meryl apparently still has relatives in the area. It helps promote the international aspect of the event and the newspaper’s international credentials. BTW, it’s called Journalism 101.
    Let's not insult Journalism 101 courses. The students taking them have higher ambitions than being underpaid publicists churning out vapid fluff pieces.

  5. #20
    Celebrating the Excellence of #VirtueMoir golden411's Avatar
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    Serious Business, have you ever worked as a professional journalist?

    If so, I am surprised at your failure to recognize Pyette's enterprise journalism and original reporting.
    After covering Virtue/Moir since the earliest years of their partnership, Pyette is to be commended for discovering a fresh angle not only on the World Championships in London, but also on the rivalry between V/M and their friends/training mates Davis/White.
    The LFP story is not a regurgitation of press releases from Skate Canada or U.S. Figure Skating -- or of quotes from the Davis/White call available to all media outlets.

    And if you have ever belonged to the press, SB, I am surprised also at your failure to appreciate the journalistic value of human-interest content. [In another thread discussing such a feature story, your disdain was similar to what you have expressed in this thread.]
    Surely you are aware that the most successful model of Olympic coverage was pioneered by Roone Arledge, who significantly increased TV audiences for obscure sports by making viewers care about individual athletes as human beings.

    ETA:

    Thanks to KKonas, Mathman, and Olympia for their comments above.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mathman View Post
    I wonder who is more numerous in London, Ont., the Dennis family or the Virtue family? Maybe this will balance out the home town advantage factor.
    Based on my general impression over the years, I think it's the Moir family who shows up in really impressive numbers wherever/whenever possible. I recall seeing video of a big bus (or maybe buses plural??) that the Moirs chartered to transport their crowd from Ilderton to one event (don't remember the venue, and don't know if it was an extreme measure for them or not).
    Ilderton Skating Club has printed V/M's logo and slogans for them on bright yellow shirts for supporters to wear at Worlds, so perhaps we'll even be able to count heads on our TV or computer screens.
    BTW, at least three Moirs are volunteering in leadership positions on the local organizing committee for Worlds too. A labor of love for the entire sport, presumably (not just for V/M).
    Last edited by golden411; 03-03-2013 at 09:53 AM.

  6. #21
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    The London Free Press has put out a $3 Canadian book on Virtue & Moir, with lots of pictures (about 40, I think?) for Worlds. Since links to commercial operations are not allowed on GS, I won't post a link, but no one should suppose that the London FP is not publishing articles about V&M, too, in order to fully take advantage of the " make hay while the sun shines" opportunity of having Worlds in London.

    I have to agree that Ryan Pyotte did a decent job here-Meryl's Canadian grandma & family are not part of D&W's media bio. If it were, it would have come out for the Olympics, or last year at the GPF in Quebec. It's quite common for Canadian (and for that matter, American) jounalists & commentators to tell us when skaters have roots in their countries, or in countries where they are competing. I'm thinking of Tanith Belbin, Piper Gilles, the Duchesnays, Kharis Ralph (who has Washington, DC, connections), and for that matter, Lukas Kaugars, and whether they have even spent significant time in a country (for example Lucinda Ruh in Japan)

    .

  7. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by golden411 View Post
    And if you have ever belonged to the press, SB, I am surprised also at your failure to appreciate the journalistic value of human-interest content. [In another thread discussing such a feature story, your disdain was similar to what you have expressed in this thread.]
    Surely you are aware that the most successful model of Olympic coverage was pioneered by Roone Arledge, who significantly increased TV audiences for obscure sports by making viewers care about individual athletes as human beings.
    Is he/she the reason we have all those mediocre NBC puff pieces about athletes instead of time dedicated to athletic competition?

  8. #23
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    ^ No, that would be Dick Ebersol, long-time director of NBC sports. He brought us the "up close and personal" model of Olympic television coverage.

    Roone Arledge took over ABC Sports back in the 1960s when ABC was just starting out. As director of sports and later news director for the fledgling network, he is credited with playing a large role in the rise of ABC to a position of parity with the two major networks, NBC and CBS. He is the person who brought college basketball, college football, and track and field to television.

    Mr. Arledge also developed the tour de force "Wide World of Sports" (and coined its slogan. "thrill of victory, agony of defeat)." This program trotted the globe to provide coverage of under-publicized sports -- like figure skating. Peggy Fleming became a household name in the United States because of being featured repeatedly on these network broadcasts. This marked the first time figure skating had been shown on television, and ushered the sport into the television age.

  9. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by ImaginaryPogue View Post
    Is he/she the reason we have all those mediocre NBC puff pieces about athletes instead of time dedicated to athletic competition?
    I agree that there's been an abuse of these fluff pieces by television networks for the years, but that's a reflection of the network not Mr. Arledge. I think there has been many really interesting sport feature pieces done over the years. In fact, I'd argue that ABC did some interesting ones when they had the television rights to figure skating coverage.

    Back to the subject at hand, I do work at a local newspaper (something I point out for the relevancy of this thread, not because I particularly want to be noted as media; I don't cover figure skating and I come as yr average Jane on these boards). But I too commend Pyotte on this piece. As golden411 said, this is not a piece that came from a news release or a media call. Readers often like to read about connections to their town or community. In fact, one of my colleagues had a story about a man running for John Kerry's Senate seat who is from my city and graduated from one of the local high schools.

    And Pyotte also exposes an interesting point -- there's been so much made about the fact that Worlds is in Tessa's hometown and that there's going to be a huge crowd for them, etc. Pyotte actually exposes an interesting angle -- that Charlie and Meryl will also have family and friends in London cheering for them too.

    And in relation to my first point, human interest/feature pieces =/= fluff or PR spewl. I have read some amazing sports feature pieces over the years. They require a lot of enterprise (as you won't find them in news releases), reporting and writing skills.

    I thought this piece by Pyette was quite well written actually. Let's look:

    There wasn’t a hint of cellphones or social media in the summer of 1939 at Bright’s Grove.

    But when there was a beautiful woman, this Ava Gardner look-a-like, on the nearby Lake Huron beach, word travelled like a lightning bolt.

    Ken Davis, a vacationing teen from Detroit, heard about this vision — 21-year-old Cecile Dennis of London — and went to have a look. There, the 16-year-old spotted another girl, much closer to his 16 years, trying to ride a bicycle.

    She crashed and Ken scrambled to her aid. They talked and he discovered she was Cecile Dennis’ younger sister Marian.

    “That’s how my grandmother and grandfather met,” Meryl Davis said.

    And that’s where the 2013 world figure skating championships, which begin in a week and a half at London’s Budweiser Gardens, takes a rather interesting twist.

    London is Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir country. The Olympic ice dance champs are the face of these hometown worlds.

    But the city and this area also holds a special place in the heart of Davis, who, along with fellow Michigan native and partner Charlie White, stand as the greatest threat to the Canadians reign.
    A few things that stood out.
    1.) Pyette obeys the ultimate rule of journalism "show don't tell" in his lead off here. In stead of pointing out that Cecile Dennis were just "beautiful" he specifically mention that she looked like Ava Gardner. (Of course many readers will know Ava Gardner as she was a popular Hollywood actress). That has a little bit of context---she wasn't only pretty -- she had the looks of a movie star. It also provides context -- in 1939, Ava Gardner was the height of her success, so a comparison to her made sense and made sense why Ken Davis wanted to meet her, which provided the venue to met his soon-to-be wife -- the younger sister. A moment of happenstance.

    2.) Why should readers care? He captures it right here: "London is Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir country. The Olympic ice dance champs are the face of these hometown worlds.
    But the city and this area also holds a special place in the heart of Davis, who, along with fellow Michigan native and partner Charlie White, stand as the greatest threat to the Canadians reign." Again context -- he explains (as I noted) that people know London as V/M territory, yet Davis has a tie to the area as well.
    3.) I just love some of the details he captured in this piece. For example:

    Paul Davis said his mother and daughter are bound, not just by similarity in looks, but by books. When Meryl went off to Sochi, Russia, for the Grand Prix final this season, she and Marian read, and discussed, Lord Tennyson’s famous Charge of the Light Brigade poem. The work revolves around the Battle of Balaclava fought in the vicinity of the 2014 Olympic site.

    “That’s the kind of thing they talk about,” Paul said.

    History and family are always hot topics.

    In London, they will merge for Meryl Davis.
    I mean seriously, you are not going to find this detail in a news release. So many details in such a short paragraph -- Meryl and Marian's strong relationship, that they look alike and they share a love for literature (plus they enjoy reading literature in context!). This is good reporting on Pyette's part. He had to take the time to interview these people and not only that he managed to capture the most important points and put it together in this story. Also I really like the ending -- he doesn't go to the typical-end-with-a-quote technique but rather ends with a simple declarative sentence that says it all.

    Thanks for humoring my analysis -- this is probably way too boring for most of you, but I felt as a fellow journalist that he needed to be given more credit then he was being given.
    Last edited by Mrs. P; 03-03-2013 at 10:59 AM.

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    Wow, you know you are big and important when stories like this become news (doesn't help London is relatively small) LOL. It's almost like what did Justin B eat last night by looking in the garbage.

  11. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by Skater Boy View Post
    Wow, you know you are big and important when stories like this become news (doesn't help London is relatively small) LOL. It's almost like what did Justin B eat last night by looking in the garbage.
    And I'm not sure where you live but to most, a city of 366,000+ people is hardly a small town! No this is not a breaking news piece, it's a feature. Are there more pressing things to write about? Sure. But in the context of Pyette's job, this is a reasonable story to write about on his beat:

    Ryan Pyette has been a sports reporter for The London Free Press since 2001. He previously worked for the Sun papers in Calgary and Winnipeg. He has covered two Olympics and proudly displays a massive 1999 World Professional Chuckwagon Association writer-of-the-year plaque at his work station. He is originally from Sault Ste. Marie.
    I am absolutely confused why people are trashing this guy. At least the guy is trying to find interesting angles rather than the same tired articles us fans see all the time.

  12. #27
    Celebrating the Excellence of #VirtueMoir golden411's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mathman View Post
    ^ No, that would be Dick Ebersol, long-time director of NBC sports. He brought us the "up close and personal" model of Olympic television coverage.
    For better or worse, Arledge was the pioneer of "up close and personal." Ebersol, who had been Arledge's protege at ABC, continued the model at NBC.

    "Arledge expanded Olympics broadcasts beyond the competition by including personal profiles of athletes, a style echoed today since his protege, Dick Ebersol, runs NBC Sports, which now broadcasts the Olympic Games."

    "A protege of the late great ABC exec Roone Arledge, Ebersol first cut his teeth as a researcher for that network's coverage of the 1968 Mexico City Games, and he would hone Arledge's "up, close and personal" approach to storytelling as the Summer and Winter Olympics shifted from being an ABC signature TV event and a fleeting CBS attraction to an NBC mainstay."

    I for one am not ashamed to say that in both the Arledge and Ebersol eras, "up close and personal" pieces were effective at drawing my attention to unfamiliar athletes in unfamiliar sports.
    Not sayin' that every single one was an Emmy-worthy masterpiece of storytelling, but IMHO, some of them were very well-produced.

    I can understand that a longtime fan of a certain sport might find an UCaP piece a completely superfluous "introduction" to an Olympic athlete whom he/she already knows very well. But if the fan truly loves the sport in question, I hope that he/she would consider that the UCaP piece might gain new interest and respect for the sport during the Olympic event and maybe even well beyond.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mrs. P View Post
    Thanks for humoring my analysis -- this is probably way too boring for most of you, but I felt as a fellow journalist that he needed to be given more credit then he was being given.
    Thanks for taking the time to share your excellent analysis, Mrs. P. Loved it!

  13. #28
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    I am surprised at the negative reaction to this rather innocuous article (both on this forum and in the comments following the article itself).

  14. #29
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    I think part of the issue is that people, for whatever reason, take an article as a be-all, end-all to a person's coverage. I constantly have to explain sources and people I write about that a story, in most cases, in never the last word or thought on the subject. There's a reason why newspapers are known as the "first draft of history."

    For the record I did a search on Ryan's articles about Virtue and Moir: http://www.lfpress.com/search?cx=016...176j1448502j43

    Among those articles are plenty of articles about Carmen and it's evolution over the season so I thnk the people who are complaining about the lack of V/M articles either aren't making the effort to search for them (as they are not familiar with Ryan's work) or total ubers offended at the idea that a Canadian writer is writing about their rivals.
    Last edited by Mrs. P; 03-03-2013 at 01:39 PM.

  15. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by golden411 View Post
    For better or worse, Arledge was the pioneer of "up close and personal." Ebersol, who had been Arledge's protege at ABC, continued the model at NBC.
    You are right, I was wrong.

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