The Blog


Since I’ve spent the last 13 years in broadcasting as a sports anchor, reporter, host and photographer, communication is the passion that drives everything I do. I’m a people person and it’s in that positive and productive exchange that I feel my best. Since co-founding Spiracle Media last year, I’ve jumped deeper into the endless world of social media and continued doing something I’ve always felt good doing — telling stories through video. Local television doesn’t give you much of an opportunity to do that in the day-to-day, deadline-oriented setting.

So that brings me to a recent project Spiracle was contracted to do, for a company called Jackrabbit Tech. Jackrabbit wanted us to gather client testimonials that described its courses, and they also hoped to showcase the human side of their product. Since all the shoots were at gymnastics facilities, much of the client reaction surrounded the love of teaching and motivation of watching kids grow in a positive environment. The interesting part of collecting the video was that it’d take me to four locations, in four cities, in four weeks, for an unofficial total of 12,483.8 miles.

Now, traveling isn’t ideal. It’s a lot easier to get things done when you’re at home in the office. But sometimes it’s necessary, and through that necessity, there’s plenty of positives. But you have to start with the right attitude, you need proper motivation and you need to be open to seeing what’s directly around you. I’ve never been one to slack off when 1.) my name is on a project, and 2.) when someone else is footing the bill. When a client puts its trust in me, it’s my turn to deliver.

But let’s get back to the traveling part. Even though it may not be ideal at times, there’s something liberating about flying. And for this project, there were plenty of flights — ten to be exact. Ten times to experience that anxiousness which never allows you to get completely comfortable. Ten times to hear the overhead announcements that no one pays attention to (including me). No, I don’t wish to use my seat cushion as a floatation device. What makes up for it all is the idea that you can be 30,000 feet in the air traveling across the country. That’s still “cool” for me.

The first trek for the project was a trip to Burbank, CA for a shoot in West Hollywood. It was neat flying into an airport named for Bob Hope, and although my favorite stop was the Marriott “City Grill,” I’m okay with that.

The following week took me to Boise, ID, where the landscape was breathtaking. It’s truly God’s country out West. Due to time constraints, I didn’t get to visit the blue turf of Boise State, which was disappointing.

The final leg’s schedule looked like this: fly into Chicago, drive to Dyer, IN, end up in Cincinnati. The drive across Indiana was in many ways just as liberating as a flight. I chugged along in a four-door, eco-friendly Ford Focus hatchback, listening to FM radio. As a Sirius/XM subscriber, I’m not sure the last time I listed to FM radio. Of course, before leaving Cincinnati, I made sure to taste some famous Skyline chili.

As I write these final lines from my seat in front of the glass window that overlooks the gymnastics section of the Kids First facility in Cincinnati, I’m grateful for the opportunity to do something I love. I’m also lucky to have met some great people along the way. It’s all about the people. Everything we do is in vain unless there’s a personal relationship at some level. Everyone has a story to tell and everyone’s different. That’s what keeps me going. The interviews, the knowledge that comes with each individual experience and the opportunity to get creative is what I need. Sure, it’s a crazy amount of travel for a short video, but’s it’s certainly worth it.

KNOW NAMES BEFORE THE GAMES

With less than two months until Queen Elizabeth? David Beckham? One Direction? lights the flame at the Olympic Stadium in London, athletes are using social media to give us an inside peek at their training, personalities and emotions leading up to the biggest moments of their lives. With social media sure to be a huge story during the Olympics, we wanted to help give you a head start getting to know some names behind the Games. In Part 1 of our “30 Must-Follow Twitter Accounts for London Olympics,” we focused on athletes. In this post, we’ll highlight some media and official accounts. Again, this is really just a sampling, a starter set to get you ready for the first truly social Olympics.

MEDIA

Ato Boldon @atoboldon: While NBC didn’t ban its talent from Twitter in Vancouver, tweeting certainly wasn’t encouraged. As the network readies for London, it’s changed its tune a bit. NBC’s now urging its broadcasters to tweet from the Games, but Ato Boldon doesn’t need the motivation. The former sprinter and four-time Olympic medal winner has been a fantastic Twitter follow for years, replying to as many questions about his beloved sport as possible, along with providing opinions that have made him a natural in the broadcasting booth. The outspoken Boldon was widely praised for his NBC debut in Beijing, and his popularity is likely to grow as the network’s track analyst in London.

Philip Hersh @olyphil: With newspapers slicing costs, staff and morale seemingly every week, it’s strange to see Philip Hersh’s Twitter bio: “Olympic sports writer – Chicago Tribune and Los Angeles Times.” While it may not seem like a necessary job for a newspaper these days, Hersh may be the most plugged-in Olympic sports reporter in the U.S. If there’s news you need to know, Hersh will be tweeting about it.

Alexander Wolff @alexander_wolff: It may be a bit odd to put someone who’s tweeted just eight times on a must-follow list, but we have faith in Alex Wolff. The Sports Illustrated writer uprooted his wife and two kids and moved from Vermont to London for the summer. While we could certainly think of worse assignments, fish and chips do get old after a while. Wolff joined Twitter in December and obviously hasn’t done much with his account since, but we’re guessing, or at least hoping, that’ll change as the Games get closer.

Ken Fang @fangsbites: Ken Fang is the antithesis of Wolff. Arguably the hardest-working media blogger in the space, Fang’s tweeted more than 130,000 times. We started following him when he was live-tweeting a PBS showing of “Les Miserables” a few years ago and there aren’t many more well-rounded accounts out there. A huge fan of the Olympics, he’ll be more sleep-deprived than usual when the Games begin. Follow Fang and he’ll keep you informed and entertained.

Awful Announcing @awfulannouncing: The line “any publicity is good publicity” is a bunch of hooey for most broadcasters. Screw up on a big stage and your mistake’s plastered on blog sites within minutes. During its early days, awfulannouncing.com focused on such snark, “putting announcers on notice.” But the site’s grown up, and while it’s still a place to find the latest broadcasting blooper, it now also collects great moments with a dose of smart commentary. If something notable happens on-air during London, these guys will have it posted and analyzed.

Around The Rings @aroundtherings: This one’s for the diehards. The folks at Around the Rings have been covering the Olympics for more than two decades and they don’t just fire off articles from their computers at home. They’ve provided on-the-scene coverage from most big events involving the Games and The Guardian’s called them “the most influential internet presence on the Olympics.” From Bolt to badminton, ATR’s newsletter and website provide comprehensive coverage, and with the clock ticking closer to London, their Twitter account’s pumping out loads of interesting content.

NBCOlympics @NBCOlympics: If you pay a record $1.18 billion for Olympic rights, you better have a good Twitter account. NBC’s official Olympics account is a solid mix of news, retweeted pictures from American athletes and links to articles on nbcolympics.com. @NBCOlympics should be a fantastic supplement to the network’s staggering 5,535 hours of coverage.

BBC2012 @BBC2012: While NBC’s essentially still in training camp, the BBC’s well into its preseason schedule. The network’s currently providing unprecedented coverage of the Olympic torch relay, which is a monumental task. This account’s main focus right now is largely on #BBCTorchCam, but it’s also sprinkling in other pictures and content from the host country.

OFFICIAL ACCOUNTS

London2012 @London2012: If you could only follow one of the 30 accounts on this list, we’d suggest @London2012. But a warning: You may get lost for a good hour if you click on the account’s main page to see all its behind-the-scenes goodness. Dozens of photos from event sites, daily video recaps of the torch relay and links to everything you need to know about the Games are blasted out daily. It’s a good bet this will be the most popular account during the Olympics. Our guess is it’ll break 1 million followers by the Opening Ceremony and it’ll reach a few million by the time the flame’s extinguished.

Seb Coe @sebcoe: Like with Alex Wolff above, we’re taking a leap of faith here. Seb Coe is far from a prolific tweeter, but the head of London’s Games is likely to become more active. Coe won Olympic gold for England in track’s 1500 meters in 1980 and 1984, and he’s recieved loads of credit for London’s winning bid seven years ago. As the face of the city’s third Olympics, he’s probably under more pressure than any athlete, but if his Games are a success, Lord Coe’s legend will grow even bigger in Britain.

Olympics @olympics: We’ll finish up our list with the most obvious account of all. After a less-than-inspiring social media presence in 2010, the International Olympic Committee’s ramped up its efforts for London, including a partnership with Foursquare. The  @olympics Twitter account isn’t just pumping out news, it’s also promoting a contest which will send a lucky winner to the Games.

WE NEED YOUR HELP

After we posted Part 1 last week, many of you asked for us to provide a public Twitter list. Well, ask and you shall receive: Spiracle Olympic List. Thanks to reader suggestions in our previous post, we’ve added a few more accounts to our original list of 30.

From athletes to media to official accounts, there are literally hundreds we could’ve written about. What other suggestions do you have? Let us know in the comments below and we’ll make sure to add them to our list!