An English soccer team’s going to charge the media to cover them (seriously). The shot of the year in high school hoops. And a very cool visual tribute to autumn.

Chelsea v Newcastle United - Carling Cup 3rd Round

Oh man, this is one of those ideas that could make the head of an ex-sportswriter like myself just about explode into a million pieces.

Newcastle United, a famous franchise in England’s Premier League, has begun to approach newspaper editors in Britain with their plan to sell “exclusive” access to the team, offering a series of packages to media outlets for a fee.

According to this story, “The club has told reporters from national titles who are working in the North East that they will no longer be given access to their players between matches this season and will instead give those “privileges” to organisations that pay them.”

Wait, it gets better, or more revolting: “The club has rather optimistically graded the packages as bronze, silver and gold with the level of payment determining the level of access.”

Awesome! So if I pay for a gold membership, I can interview the star player, but with only a bronze, I get the backup right fullback.

This is so reprehensible it makes me want to puke. So many problems with this idea: First of all, the idea of media entities “paying” to cover a team compromises any shred of integrity and objectivity it would have left.
Second, as this article points out, when the team is doing well, it’s going to want all the publicity it can get, and then it’ll have to deal with the fact that two reporters are there at practice and at games.
Third, I know next to nothing about the Premier League, but Newcastle United isn’t even one of the most popular clubs. So is there such an incredibly high demand for info on the team that fans are going to be pissed when certain media outlets don’t cover the team?

Good Lord I hope this isn’t the future of sportswriting. I expect this idea to fail spectacularly, and if doesn’t, then sports journalism is in real trouble.

**So this is pretty amazing. A Virginia high school basketball player named Marvey’0 Otey plays for William Byrd High School, and in a game on Tuesday night he hit one of those amazing shots he’ll be telling his grandkids about.

Watch this and know that maybe not even LeBron James could make this if he tried 100 times.

**Finally today, every once in a while these visual drawings really catch my eye and amaze me. An artist named Xiangjun (Shixie) Shi started with pencil and paper and made this incredibly cool tribute to fall.

“I bought a couple of rims of printing paper, and drew on a light table,” Shixie says.”The drawings are then photographed one by one to make up the animation you see. The software I used to photograph the drawings is Dragon.”

Way, way cool. Also I like it because it’s about fall and not winter, which right now is pissing me off with all the 20-degree days in New York City (as my readers in the Midwest laugh and say “We’d kill for 20 degree days!”)

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