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January 26, 2012

Jeff Brown

Mark Hodgkin

Jason Matheson

Dave Smoller

Jason Sullivan

THE MODERATOR:  Good afternoon and welcome.  Thanks for joining us, and this is the CoSIDA continuing education series in our membership call today.  Our live topic with many of our panelists is entitled New Media Tips and Answers from the Collegiate Athletics Internet Digital Association.
Hi again, everyone.  This is Eric McDowell, the CoSIDA Third Vice President and the Assistant AD for Sports Information here at Union College in Upstate New York.  Thanks again for taking the time out of your day to serve your student‑athletes and the exceptional panel coming up.  For the first half hour it will be designed for the university sessions and then the second half hour for the college division sessions as we get sessions in consideration of the department's needs and size.
Before we introduce our panelists, let's give you some communication codes about how you can contribute as well.  We have transcripts going on live at asapsports.com/webscripts/cosida.  You can also call in and listen at 216‑502‑3200, if you are at your office, call from your cell phone, and enter code 1184.  And you can send questions through Barb Kowal.  Her email is barbkowal@cosida.com.  If you don't remember any of this go to COSIDA.com and all the information is there for you as well.
We do want to thank also Josh Mathis of TRC and ASAP Sports for their work today.  We want to get started and introduce the presenters and we'll start afterwards with Dave.  First one is Dave Smoller, Director of Internet Services at Kansas State University.  Also joined by Jason Matheson, who is the Director of Digital Media at the University of Oklahoma.  Mark Hodgkin is the Internet Services Director at the Big East Conference.  Jeff Brown is a Web Communications Specialist at The Ohio State University.  And Jason Sullivan is the Associate AD External Communications at Bryant University.  Thank you for joining us and we'll start with Dave Smoller and we thank you Dave for your work in putting this together, with some opening remarks from you before we take our questions, and let people know what CAIDA is all about.
DAVE SMOLLER:  Thanks, Eric, and thanks to Barb and everybody at CoSIDA for the opportunity today.  We're excited.  We're a fledgling association at this point.  Basically what CAIDA is an effort we started probably back in May, June last year to give folks who work on Internet or social media or Web video or anything basically with a digital publication a place to call home, somebody to identify with, to get professional development, support, give them an opportunity to feel like they belong to a larger entity than just themselves.  Something that we have found over time is that a lot of people who do this kind of work kind of don't really have a home.
They might report to a lot of different departments, organizations, and they feel like maybe they have some overlap with others.  This one gives them hopefully a chance to say, yep, I'm not alone, there's other people that do this kind of work and hopefully we can expand and give some support and development to folks in this field.  So CAIDA is young.  We're starting about a year and a half two years away from being a full‑fledged organization you said the NACTA umbrella.  But we're moving forward and we feel good about where we're at.
So we appreciate this opportunity today to sort of get started and our chance to create development and opportunity and support for people in this area.

Q.  THE MODERATOR:  That's great.  Thanks, Dave.  And good luck with this and all the expertise from the five of you is going to be very helpful to our membership.  Again, before our first question, you can e‑mail BarbKowal, that's Barb Kowal at CoSIDA with your questions right now.  We'll take questions throughout the hour.  One other note for each of the panelists if you could identify yourselves right before you answer the question we do have two Jasons on the call, that will help us.  So let's get going, shall we?  We'll start with a question from Josh.  He's in the university division.  Since mobile communications is expanding, navigating a website via a tablet screen isn't easy.  If the website is built for the PC experience.  So do you have any tips on creating good mobile apps or a mobile Web page?  Open it up to any of you folks.
JASON MATHESON:  This is Jason from OU.  I think we would really like people not to have to download an app to see our information.
And I think what the question is referring to is just somebody actually navigating to the site using a native browser on a mobile device.
I think you've got to completely understand that you're dealing with a very small screen and somebody's fingers have to be able to move around and be able to get to that information quickly.
And I think designing your regular site with that in mind, knowing that, again, as I mentioned the mobile traffic continues to increase is extremely important.  Larger buttons and easier to understand directions going through your site.
I think that's definitely something that has to be completely considered and thought through as much as possible, because that's the only way somebody's going to be able to get from the front and dig deeper into your site.
MARK HODGKIN:  This is Mark from the Big East.  To jump on that same thread, I think it's something that when you're designing a site or every few years when you design it with your Web provider, just talking, laying out that as an expectation of something that you find important is‑‑ sounds simple but it's definitely‑‑ it's definitely helpful.  And another thing that we've been challenged with, and I think everybody is kind of in the same boat, is incorporating the video in there.
And as some of you know, most websites utilize flash video on their athletic sites.  But that doesn't play very well on, say, an iPad.
So as you work through that, I think one of the things we did was adding a splash page that if you go there on the iPad app, there's some limited functionality here.  You can buy the app or download the app or continue to the site managing the expectation that everything might not work exactly right.
But I think that's still the right way to go about it in the interim, because you're managing the expectation, which is important.
So I think the basics of it, what Jason outlined.  But the video's another thing to consider.
JASON MATHESON:  This is Jason from OU again.  I would just add that you need to also consider that somebody using a mobile device to access your site may have different‑‑ may be coming to the site for a different reason.  So you may be wanting to think about the end user here and think about that perhaps scores, things that people are coming to see very quickly maybe on a mobile device ought to be pushed up to the front and made more apparent.
THE MODERATOR:  That's easy to tell from the hits and the reports.  That's a very good point.  A lot of people want to check a quick score, may not want to be looking for a feature per se and a lot of things like a staff page but they want quick score, quick schedule especially spring weather that sort of thing is what you're saying, right?
JASON MATHESON:  I definitely think you can look at the apps that have actually been created, the applications that people can download, and you'll see that your website has really been distilled down to schedules, scores, rosters, that very basic information that somebody may need to access quickly or on the go.  Or if they're watching one of your games on TV or trying to follow it on a different form of media, if they want to accompany that or look for more information, then I think that in addition to your actual apps, I think your actual website, if somebody is using an iPhone they may download the app or an Android device to be able to get that information really distilled.
But with the tablet, like an iPad, where you have a larger screen, they may actually just pull up your website use the Safari browser.  If they can very quickly see that information on your regular site also, I think that would be critical.
THE MODERATOR:  Let's check with Barb if we have any questions coming in in e‑mail.
Right now we don't.
THE MODERATOR:  If you would like to send questions to Barb it's barbkowal@COSIDA.com.  This is an interesting question from anonymous university.  I think we only play them in a bye week, I guess.
How long should have for an attention span for videos.  They're not talking about live video, folks, but they're talking about maybe a recorded interview or press conference postgame, what would you say would be the limit that you would want to have for people to watch a video in its entirety?  Anybody?
I'm not sure there's a limit per se.  But I think the rule of thumb I always have with feasibility is that the number of clicks or the length of time for things is less important than the difficulty or the interest level in that video.
So it doesn't matter how many clicks we have, it's how challenging those clicks are.  There are a lot of choices in between those clicks.  The same is true for video, length is less important than quality.  If it's a good quality interview, good questions and good engagement with‑‑ if it's a coach or a player, whoever, the length is less important than how engaging those people are in the video.
So there's always a point of diminishing returns, but I would say usually if you're under five, ten minutes that's probably good enough for an interview.  For a longer show, there's different things.
But quality is always king.  And I think people will be more willing to sit through a longer presentation if it engages them, allows participation, feedback, that kind of thing.
THE MODERATOR:  Very good.  Other folks' thoughts?
JEFF BROWN:  This is Jeff Brown from Ohio State.  With a lot of our websites to generate revenue, you're going to have an advertisement preroll as well.  And a lot of times those are probably, you know, in the 15‑second range.  So one thing that we've really tried to focus on is finding that happy medium, and you don't want a 15‑second pre‑roll for a 30‑second video.  That's going to be very discouraging for the end user.
So while in theory you might want to think that you want to shorten your videos, in attempts to make them click and keep the attention span and not lose the attention span on the end user, you also have to be worried about making them too short and frustrating the end user for possibly having to sit through a possible pre‑roll to get to a video that ends up being shorter than the advertisement that they just witnessed.
JASON MATHESON:  This is Jason at OU.  We have an interesting conversation going on within the department about how produced should a video be.
We have a sooner vision who is our in‑house video department they can create something that can go up on a TV show but we have also armed our S IDs with video cameras, and they can shoot if they're traveling with the team, and we think there's a lot of value to that video that may have a little bit of a rough feel to it.
We feel that it add legitimacy.  Everybody looks at YouTube and sees that, and they know as long as it's watchable and you can listen to it, the lighting is fairly decent, it doesn't have to be a highly produced video.  We think there's actually a value that people add some legitimacy to it they get the feel they're seeing behind the scenes.  That's the whole point of the video.  You're trying to immerse the fans and the potential student‑athletes and really see what it's like to play or compete for that university.
DAVE SMOLLER:  I think Jason's absolutely correct.  The one thing that a university athletic site has over ESPN, CBS or any of your local media is access.
So any kind of video you can show from a locker room, from a practice or anything, no matter length and quality, I think a flip cam is fine.  I think what you're showing is access for that fan.  And that, again, goes back to it's about the quality of the video as far as the benefit for the fan to actually watch it.
If you can provide that, I think they will bear with you lower production costs or length.
THE MODERATOR:  Follow‑up on this, too, is that in fact we're starting this here called Nice to Meet You Union Athletics and one of the things we're doing is an in studio for about five minutes and then walking with the student, meet them at a art gallery or flood area and mixing that in and showing the student in an area outside of the playing arena.  And you don't need realknowledge ‑‑ these flip cams can work just as effectively and it should be just as attractive for the people to watch, would you say?
JEFF BROWN:  This is Jeff Brown from Ohio State.  I would absolutely agree and along with what Dave mentioned about having access, the thing that piggybacks on top of that the access that the school has is also the timing that the school has.  I mean they know when events are happening.  They can be prepared for it.  They can turn‑‑ we can turn video around very quickly, and with today's social media and instant gratification, you know, it's actually more beneficial to have that video up even if it's a little more raw and have it up instantly than taking it back to a production studio and inserting graphics and cutting it up and making a final cut of it and maybe having a more produced video.
By that time, unfortunately in today's world, that's old news.  So along with access, the other thing that we have that we can really take advantage of is the timeliness of getting that video content up on an official athletic website.
JASON MATHESON:  This is Jason at Oklahoma.  I totally agree with Jeff what's happened with the five to 10 years is that the athletics department basically can now communicate directly with its constituents without going through a middleman.  We can put up‑‑ we can be proactive with our video.
We know something's coming up, it might be detrimental to the athletics department or be seen in the negative light.  You can be proactive with that, but using video is critical, because it communicates a student‑athlete or coach's personality.
You actually get to see the person.  It's a lot harder to criticize somebody or go on a message board, they still do it but it's a lot harder when you actually understand these are people and not just numbers on a uniform or under a helmet or something you can't see.
But also on what Jeff said, jumping on top of it the timing of it knowing it's not highly produced but getting it out there as quick as possible, our access to our student‑athletes is what we can leverage from campus that the other news organizations that we now compete with directly cannot.
THE MODERATOR:  Barb, do we have questions?
Barb:  There's a question.  A listener is asking, first of all, a comment who says a great free app for the iPhone right now called Slice which allows you to quickly add a title screen and transition to shoot video.  He says he's done women's basketball pregame speeches and had them up on YouTube by the tip with the title screen.  So that is a‑‑ it's called slice for the iPhone.  A question for the group, a good one, what can you tell us about Google Plus and the hangout feature as far as doing interactive video interviews for Internet press conferences?  Is this easy to do or is it just more of a hassle?
JASON MATHESON:  This is Jason at OU.  We've not done any.  We watched‑‑ I think the Dallas Cowboys did one.  We sat and watched it.  I think there's a limit of eight I think different feeds that can come in that you can see at one time.  I'm not sure, somebody can correct me.
I thought it was very interesting, because you got to see the fan's reaction.  The trouble we have is that you can't just let‑‑ because of the compliance rules and other things that we live under, that maybe a professional team or somebody that's outside the NCAA doesn't have to deal with, is that when we did chats and things with student‑athletes you do have to kind of filter some of that and tried to figure out a happy medium with that, with what Google Plus has done, I think is challenging.
THE MODERATOR:  This next question is for Mark and it's a very good question for our folks that are at conference offices, is they'd like to know how things have worked for you with the Big East as to how you do things conference‑wise, making sure every team has something equal and also how the member schools work with you for video as well.  Could you talk to those folks listening from conference offices for those tips?
MARK HODGKIN:  Yes, absolutely.  I was quiet on the last one because I think the thing we have is a conference, we don't have to say, is the access to student‑athletes.  And it's definitely our constant challenge that we're not‑‑ we're in an office far away from most membership.  And our example, we're in Providence, and Providence College is down the street, we're cognizant of the fact if we're at Providence doing stuff every week that it's unfair to other members.
We've invested in some technology that allows us to do some Web exchange.  We're actually in the midst of a process getting melts from each school ingested into our vault which then we use for original programming produced in our conference office as well with our production studios run by Access Digital, which manages our content management as well.
The communication, I think, is the biggest thing that you need to do there.  You need to explain to the schools what's trying to get done.  The challenge.  Talk frankly with what you're trying to get done with the process and also how it will help the schools.
You're always going to have mixed results.  You're going to have certain schools that you rely on a little bit more than others.  But it's a slow‑moving process, but one that's certainly worth doing.  And it's certainly worth following up on.
You have to know what you're exactly looking for.  For us, we've got clean footage we can archive for historical purposes which we can serve the media with and which we can use at other schools, was what we identified.
And that's kind of how we look at that.
THE MODERATOR:  Barb we have the Chris Stein comment, I can add that one.  He's the chair of the new committee technology committee and she mentioned YouTube released data that said the best engagement comes with videos under three minutes in terms of how long people will sit.  Three minutes.  So what do you folks think of that?
JASON MATHESON:  This is Jason at OU.  I would say I would agree with that up to a point.  But I think that we're dealing with an audience that usually the content that we're putting out is extremely hungry, and as Dave mentioned before, it depends on the quality of the content.
And you're having a student‑athlete give a tour of their facility your fans, as long as it's engaging, they're going to hang around and watch the video, because, again, that's content they're getting direct from the source.
Now if you're on YouTube, that's probably the average three minutes or less.  And we've taken features from our TV shows and broken them up into what we would call bite‑sized pieces for that reason.
And people can kind of pick and choose if they want to watch the whole thing.  But, again, I don't know if it was Jeff or Eric mentioned the preroll ads with almost any provider you're going to have a 15‑second or a 30‑second preroll ad which is sort of the CNN model.  Fans are used to that but that pre‑roll add sometimes can be a killer.
We really have tried to persuade our partners to hold to that 15‑second pre‑roll ad rather than a 30‑second.  Because I think you can pull up data there that would show that you lose a proportion of your audience just because of the length of that pre‑roll ad, too.  So I think that's important to consider.
MARK HODGKIN:  This is Mark at the Big East again.  I've heard that figure before.  And I think some of the data I've looked at at our various Web hosts has drawn it out as a good rule of thumb.  Three minutes is a good thing on its face a good thing to shoot for.  I think like Jason said you have to focus on not only the content you're trying to put out there, I'd say in an interview you'd probably not want to be usually more than three minutes in most cases.  But something more engaging you would.
The other thing I would add is that consider the distribution.  I mean, I'm kind of a fan of if you can get away with it, with your service, your partner, putting stuff on different platforms.
We have so many now from YouTube to Facebook, to Twitter, to getting things up in different places and creating value across your different channels instead of filtering everything through the same video player.  And sometimes smaller cases that are easier to share work on those other platforms better.
So I think that's another wrinkle to consider when you're talking about video length.
THE MODERATOR:  Few more minutes and I've got a couple more questions.  Really these are excellent.  Can you talk about your Web mastering background and how you came to athletics?  Were you guys S IDs who new HTML beforehand or were you Web masters who came to work in athletics.  I have used them and do a lot of the Web work here.  I would love to get a better background in Web design just tough to find the time learning the code plus I felt it was heavy mental having to work within the parameters of their website since there is so much stuff going on in the site that I can't even comprehend yet.  He's not alone.  How do you folks answer on that excellent question?
DAVE SMOLLER:  This is Dave from K‑State.  Great question.  I've heard that from folks who want to know how to get in.  The Web world can be intimidated.  If you see a brick of code and you've never seen that before, it might seem like a foreign language.  It's one of those things where I think you just have to take the plunge and go as far as you want to go with it.  It is a field that has different layers of depth.
I'm self‑taught.  I worked at an agency off campus for a few years.  I took a job on campus teaching in the journalism school and just worked my way over to athletics.
But I know a lot of folks in this field start as an intern and they just gradually get to use more things and gradually learn more stuff and then you find jobs and work your way up.
So I think I don't know that there's one way to get in it.  But learning Web from scratch is tough, especially if you're looking at the more involved things like coding and the JavaScripting and CSS and that stuff.
But unfortunately for folks these days there are more and more tools building websites for free and doing plug‑ins and stuff for free that these days it makes it easier than ever to hit the ground running.
JEFF BROWN:  This is Jeff Brown from Ohio State.  I too like Dave was self taught.  I was hired by the athletic department here at Ohio State to kind of just manage our partnership with our Internet provider, host provider.  And as the role continued to develop and the Web actually started to become an asset instead of just something that was kind of nice to have at one point, you know just kind of got in and rolled up my sleeve and started pulling down some different code from different websites and started tinkering with it and seeing what happened when I changed different things.
I think I screwed up a lot of pages along the way, but I think that couldn't agree with Dave more that you could take it as much as far as you want to take it from any background.  And trial and error is probably one of the most successful ways to go about it.
DAVE SMOLLER:  I would say, too, if there's ever a time to do it is it's now.  It's only becoming more of a focus for departments to save money by not putting it in a media guide, let's put it online, let's save money by putting it on online.  If there's ever a time to get into it it's now.  It's only going to expand and this role is only going to become more important in the future.
JEFF BROWN:  This is Jeff Brown real fast.  If I could plug the organization.  That's one of our goals of the CAIDA organization is to share ideas and get people that are involved at their school or university at any numerous levels or any different kind of backgrounds and provide them a forum where they can meet people more experienced, less experienced, on the same page and start sharing ideas and sharing thoughts and learning things and hearing from different experts in the field.  So that's kind of we obviously understand the diverse background that people would be coming from and that's kind of why we're developing this platform to help people hopefully expand on that issue.
THE MODERATOR:  One more I'd like to get in that any of you folks can take and it's a very brief question is do you use external or internal CSS?  Please explain the difference and the value.
JEFF BROWN:  I'm not sure if you're talking about in the page or external files for CSS.  I'm not really sure I know what kind of‑‑ external, I would say yes.
The difference is basically how many pages are controlled by that brick of code.  So if you have a little bit of CSS on a page, well that one page is the only thing that's going to be controlled by that set of rules.  If you have an external CSS page that page can now control multiple files.  So if you change the color of the headline that might take effect on 10, 20, a thousand different pages.
Internal can only affect that one.  Advantages and disadvantages are basically kind of how you want it to work, if you need it to adjust many things, you almost have to go external.  But internal allows you to overwrite certain global rules with more specificity.
THE MODERATOR:  Okay.  We are closing out our university portion of the hour.  And we do want to thank our presenters again, Dave Smoller of Kansas State.  Jason Matheson of Oklahoma.  Mark Hodgkin of the Big East Conference.  Jeff Brown of Ohio State University and we'll be joined by Jason Matheson at Bryant university as we provide the next half hour of questions from our college division members.  So thanks to all of you who were listening during this portion.  We thank ASAP sports for the live transcripts and the fast scripts will be available after the call.  Again, it's ASAPsports.com/Webscripts/COSIDA.  Thanks also to Josh from TIV for an excellent job, Josh Mathis and our production and to Barb Kowal for her work.  Thank you all for listening and now we'll lead right into our next portion of the show which is for college division.  So folks who may have smaller shops or smaller college enrollments, these are geared toward you.
And we do have some specific questions.  And some of the questions we asked before we might also pop into this half hour as well.
Before we begin, we want to have Dave with some opening comments again about CAIDA, and for this new audience coming on board.  Dave.
DAVE SMOLLER:  Thanks, Eric.  And thanks to Barb and everyone else at CoSIDA for the opportunity today.  We're excited about the opportunity to help out where we can.  We are starting an association under the NACTA umbrella called CAIDA, collegiate athletics Internet digital association.  The vision is to create an opportunity for people who do Internet or digital publication of things, to give them a place to call home.  If you're an Internet director, social media person, sports information person that's charged with doing your website, give them an opportunity to develop professionally to ask questions, give support, feel like you're not alone in the world, know that there's other people facing the same challenges and difficulties that you are and hopefully get some support and growth that way.
So we're about a year or two away from being a full‑fledged member of NACTA, an organization under the umbrella, and we're excited about where we're headed.
THE MODERATOR:  Thank you, Dave.  We want to welcome now Jason Sullivan, Associate AD of External Relations at Bryant University, a school transitions to DI.  We'll ask you a question, as you worked at all levels, went to school at a DivisionI.  Also at a school that made a transition from II to I and you're doing that again.  And talk a little bit about how that works for you as, and also the size of your staff, how you are doing work with new media and what you've learned over the years.
JASON SULLIVAN:  Thanks, Eric, and I was able to listen in on the first portion here and some great questions, and I think one of the questions that came up towards the end there, it was just kind of getting in and understanding the basics behind this new media from social media to Web streaming and things of that nature.  And I can kind of say that I come from a small shop where a place where you wear many hats.  Sports information background.  But as most people here are listening you're asked to do a lot of new different things.
And it's just important, I think, during my career in the past, is just trying to stay up with the latest technology, starting out, learning basic HTML but thanks to a lot of the new companies, new Web providers, they make things a lot easier for you, but just having an understanding of the way things work, but at the same time with trying to make due with limited budgets, small staff that you can kind of work with, and people are asking you to do a lot of different things but try and do that balance between the output that you can kind of turn out.
THE MODERATOR:  Jason, it seems like yesterday you walked into my office and actually said our baseball coach at Cal Poly would like to do something called a Web page.  And our eyes exploded.  We didn't know what we were in for.  And it seems like yesterday.  So we appreciate your joining us with the experience you have.
First question we want to have comes from Kim.  I know it's important to try and get your content viewed across all platforms and social media links.  In addition to putting your social media links in a prominent position on your home page, is there a best way, a really readable way, to display your links to Facebook, Twitter, et cetera, on each page of your website?  Out to the group.
THE MODERATOR:  Best way readable way to display the links to Facebook, Twitter, et cetera, on each page of your school's website.
JASON MATHESON:  I'll jump in.  This is Jason at Oklahoma.  I think those social media companies and they have spent a large amount of money to get their logos out there and using their logo, something that's very recognizable to somebody that's just glancing at the page, knowing that those are the links to the school's official platforms within those are important.
But I think all schools use those different platforms a little differently and everybody else can jump in when they need to.  But we use Facebook to be a little more immersive and actually ask questions and have the fans come back and forth because it is a very small version of a message board, because of the feedback that's allowed that we do have to monitor.
Whereas Twitter we tend to use it more of the tip of the sword.  We will release something during a press conference as we're standing there with a coach, when he or she is discussing something with the media.
And all the other schools can jump in, too, just how they use that.
DAVE SMOLLER:  This is Dave.  I think my biggest piece of advice is if you can have a consistent header or footer that's persistent, so it stays the same on every page so that the user no matter what page they're on is comfortable and has an expectation that's easily met that if I look in the same spot everywhere on the site it's always going to be there.
The other piece of advice I'd have is I think these days you are better off leaving off http//Twitter.com.  Get rid of that.  Just put the Twitter icon and then put@sign your Twitter name.  I think what Jason said, most folks these days are familiar enough with that logo where you could drop some of the extraneous URL characters and just go to that and be consistent and use that almost like a mark, like a logo and just put that on everything.  We've put it oppose terse, media guides, schedule cards, anything what we can do.  We're consistent with it.  And just builds that equity and that mark.
What we've done sometimes is build a little piece of code, sounds more complicated than it is, but a few lines that have the Twitter and the Facebook handles and just drop them in every news article.  It's a little bit‑‑ it's almost‑‑ it is old‑fashioned the way to do it.  But it gets it on the articles if you're talking about news articles, you put it at the bottom and top, and it's a matter of cutting and pasting every time you cut something new.  Kind of an easy low tech way around without putting it in the header.
THE MODERATOR:  You have one.
JASON SULLIVAN:  This is Jason from Bryant.  That's what we do with releases game notes.  We have a game day Twitter handle.  And all of our press releases we keep a consistency where we make sure you know where to follow where things are and without having the long URL.  But we made sure to separate it so fans can easily recognize that and find it.
THE MODERATOR:  On the next one in here, we do want to say that what's really good at the college division level is occasionally there will be one or two sports that gets a lot of attention, maybe more people, maybe more media coverage, but all of these areas especially Facebook Twitter allows all those sports get equal coverage wouldn't you say because when you sign up for it you see something coming from each sport and that goes over very well with these students.
JASON SULLIVAN:  I would totally agree with that.  We try to do a balance of all 22 of our sports to try to get at least some kind of coverage with broadcasting and things of that nature and we're ambitious, too.  Trying some new things with a tennis match.  We did a swimming broadcast.  We had 200 viewers just to do a swimming, it was bare bones, but people were very excited.  The fans.
You'd never get a broadcast out of a swim meet.  But we were able to pull it off and the fans enjoyed it.
THE MODERATOR:  The next one is a free plug for you guys free of charge.  People want to know how to get involved with CAIDA.  C‑A‑I‑D‑A do you have a website yet?  If you do, let us know.  How do they get involved in your organization.
DAVE SMOLLER:  Probably the best way is to send us an e‑mail.  We're in the process of gathering as much contact information as we can at all levels.  And so we started a Gmail account that lets us kind of centralize that.  If you want to get more involved or have a question or derogatory remark you can e‑mail us at contact CAIDA@gmail.com.  Caida, contact CAIDA@Gmail.com.  We'll be launching a website this spring that has more information and more details, answers to questions, that kind of thing.
But that probably would be the best way right now.  And we welcome any and all questions and answers.  We'll try and answer them the best we can.  If you have a contact at your school or your university or college that is your, quote/unquote, Web contact, feel free to pass that along to them as well.
THE MODERATOR:  Thanks very much for that.  And I think you're going to have a lot of new members, which is fantastic.  Now, if you do have a question, again your e‑mail address is barbkowal@COSIDA.com.  And the questions are pouring in, which is great.  Feel like Brian Williams but this is more fun than a debate because you're all on the same page.
Next question, are there any restrictions we need to be aware of in terms of who holds the rights to footage and where can we post or share it, even if it's shot on campus by staff members.
Very good question.  Again who holds the rights to footage and where can we post or share it, even if it's done by staff members on campus?
MARK HODGKIN:  I'll take the first stab at this, because I think a lot of these things are conference‑related.  It will depend on every single conference's policies.  So I guess the short answer is to talk to somebody at your conference office.
In our league, basically ESPN controls the rights to every game action, men's basketball, women's basketball, football games they produce, which means even if somebody at one of our schools shot game footage, they would not be permitted to use that on anything besides their official athletic sites.
For example, we'll have pilots at every men's basketball game we don't put them on YouTube or directly on our Facebook page because of the structure with ESPN.  That will be different I think down the line from every conference there is.  But the short answer I think would be to check with somebody in the conference office.
I think it really depends on your conference and depends on your service provider.  I think if you don't have a conference that specifies where multimedia rights go, you need to check with your Internet service provider, whether it be sidearm or presto or CBS or New Lion whoever it may be, check to see if there's a provision that says you maintain the right to use that footage wherever you want to use it.
JASON MATHESON:  I would suggest once you decide on language or once you decide what your parameters are, that that would then be on your credentials or whoever you issued to anybody that would be, your photographers or videographers or anybody collecting media from your games that it's clearly stated that's the property of the athletics department or the conference.
THE MODERATOR:  Next question comes from Tim at a college division school.  It's extremely hard to keep up with all the new technologies when your media relations staff is yourself and a GA.  Can you identify a few trends of things we should be most thinking about this year as it pertains to making our website copy better?  This can be content, visual trends, video, et cetera.  We would like to focus on a few and do well with those few.  Open to anyone.
JASON MATHESON:  I think one thing we've seen our communications office transition to in relation to their game notes or their media guides or their releases are just the use of bullets.  Making things more bite‑sized so that people can digest that information quickly.
We're just not quite sure‑‑ that's what's so different now is that media relations departments were set up to service the media, but now the athletics departments are actually competing directly with the media that they were supposed to service and that we now have our own platforms to communicate on.
And I think that you need to really take a look at your media guides, your game notes and really decide whether or not people are actually using those anymore or whether, if they are using them, how are they using them and what do I need to adjust and not be doing the same thing I did the year before, because of how communication is changing so quickly.
THE MODERATOR:  That's a good point I was going to follow up with.  S IDs are not ones to use the word no they use them in Scrabble to get a couple of points but they won't say no.  They'll say I'll try or I get to it.  And therefore the plate gets very full.  So it's very good you mentioned some things that people do need to try to alleviate and take off the plate to ensure that they keep up with the Joneses and the things that the people want to see now.
JASON SULLIVAN:  And as mentioned, we have a small shop as well.  And we're finding that our fans‑‑ and our audience‑‑ loves videos.  So we purchased a bunch of cheap little portable cameras, video cameras, and just arm them with our interns, our students at a game just getting some postgame comments from some of the players and stuff.  And we're finding that less of the text, just more of the video interviews and things of that nature really goes a long way.
THE MODERATOR:  This question is outstanding and it's again from an anonymous college, shall we say.  But this is an excellent question.
How do you find out about the best people?  It's extremely difficult for us in our department, myself and the students, to get, as they wrote this out here, to get the coaches to inform us about the students and the special things they're doing.  How do we find out, how do we get the support from an AD and how do we find out about those special students so we can do special new media initiatives for those athletes?  Very good question.
Great question and probably a global problem.  I think no one knows the roster better than the coach.  Definitely need the assistance of the coach or the support staff in the sport to let you know of good stories to tell.
One thing we do here is at the beginning of every sports season we distribute a questionnaire to every kid on the team and have them answer a few basic questions that kind of get you to understand them a little bit better.  Background, interests, hobbies, what they've done, favorite memory, that kind of thing, that can spur some discussion and might through that discussion you might learn more about something that your audience might be interested in.
But I know that's something that we always discuss here at K‑State is how do we know that this fifth rower on the team has a great background, how do we know that.
JASON MATHESON:  And I would say that one thing that got our coach's attention is that we said it was for recruiting.  And we said that we are always in the business of not only recruiting potential student‑athletes but recruiting fans.  And you can never tell when that content that you put out there ticks the interest of somebody in your program whether it be a potential student‑athlete or a fan.  And I think that's how you get the coaches to understand what you're doing, why you're out there at practice, and get them to buy into it.
JEFF BROWN:  I also think that a very important selling point to administration is who better to tell your story than you?  We're not just‑‑ we're just not in the business of just reporting what everybody else reports.  We can make our own‑‑ we can make our own news.  And we can be a competitive news outlet.  And who better to tell the story, the university itself, or a local‑‑ a local television or radio station that may have a different agenda or may be trying to take a different, take a different angle on a story.
So with good news and with bad news, who better to tell your story than you?  And it just needs to be a collaborative group effort.
THE MODERATOR:  Many schools could be in large markets with professional teams, large schools, and they get buried, and therefore the TVs would not do those features.  So video can provide a way for these special students to come to life on a website as well as for the small colleges that might be out far away from a nearby TV, wouldn't you say this is a great way to have your own TV and bring these students to life and see them speak and talk about the wonderful things that they're doing?
JEFF BROWN:  Yes.  You're absolutely right.  And you know we have 36 sports here at Ohio State.  And I think you can probably guess at the four or five that get covered the most.  And this is a perfect outlet and is applicable for the other sports, some of our Olympic sports, the local and the national television stations aren't going to pick up on.
And it ties into everything that's been mentioned.  It's great to get those stories out there.  A lot of times we've done our own stories.  And then a television company has seen it and wants to elaborate on it and do their own thing.
So it's great to get it out there in the news, and it's really one of the few outlets that some of our teams have to get their story told.
JASON MATHESON:  And I would say that one thing we've looked at is that football or basketball you can write a team story or do a video about the team and the people will pay attention.  But for some of the Olympic sports, look at how NBC does their Olympic coverage.  You may not know anything about the sport but contention luge, for example, they'll dive in tell you a personal story about one of the athletes to make you care about that person and hopefully that translates into caring about the team or sport overall.
THE MODERATOR:  Outstanding, and very good point and they're probably out there doing so to speak some of those doing way ahead of time.  I want to get one more in and leave a little time for each of you to give a thought about something that may not have been asked, something that you could provide to us as we close.
This last question will be in doing analytics on your own websites, what do you find people linking to and downloading the most besides video?  Is it audio or podcasts?  Are they still popular?  Slide decks?  Photos?  What are the trends?
DAVE SMOLLER:  I'm not seeing as much interest in podcasts, although we don't do as much as some others.  So that may be more a reflection of us.  I think anything you can do to give multimedia, whether that's photo gallery, video, I think that's still the primary way people are trafficking our site.  We see huge spikes in pages that have pages in them and embedded in them versus just a straight text story.
Photos get clicked on.  I think any of that kind of stuff, something that the user feels like they are engaged in participating in is big.
MARK HODGKIN:  Yeah, similar to what Dave just said.  The thing we see the biggest on is content that people can actually talk back to and kind of engage in, whether that's a kind of discussion board, poll, things like that, that are well thought out.  And having multimedia definitely helps with that.  But that's what we've seen where people can kind of join the conversation, not really surprising when you think of social media in the last five years or so.
JASON SULLIVAN:  We're finding that mostly it's stuff we create, some of the promotions we do, some of the goofy things that we do.  It's been a highlight.  Just the different content, seeing different athletes in different perspectives.
THE MODERATOR:  Folks, I want to leave if you each can give me about a minute of a closing statement, something you think we may not have touched on or some advice for our membership as we close things off.  And we'll start with Jason Matheson from Oklahoma.
JASON MATHESON:  Certainly appreciate the opportunity to speak with the CoSIDA membership and, again, I appreciate Dave at K‑State and all the other people that have been instrumental in getting CAIDA rolling.  We're excited about where we're headed.
One thing I don't think‑‑ we may have touched on this a little bit, but I get a lot of questions from other schools about how do you hire somebody for this position or where do you find these people that are going to be good for this position?
And I think we've talked about knowing programs, and I think that programs change and you can learn a program.  But I think bottom line is you've got to find people that demonstrate creativity but a disciplined creativity.  Those are usually two things that are at odds.  Meaning that you have to be able to come up with something right after a game.  You have a time constraint.  And you have to be disciplined.  You have to be on top of things and be able to churn that stuff.  It's creativity on demand.
And this is kind of a niche field on finding people that can do both of those things well.  And if you see somebody within‑‑ if they're in your communications office or in your marketing office or in a different area of your department, those are the people that might be interested in doing this.
THE MODERATOR:  The Sooners are fortunate to have you, thank you for your input today.  Let's hear from Mark Hodgkin from Providence from the Big East.
MARK HODGKIN:  Thanks for joining us here today and having us on here.  We're excited about what we're doing and hope to talk to you more about it soon.  What I would close with, and it's something I talk about a lot internally and with people when they're setting out on this kind of stuff is to really do an honest assessment of where you're at and what you can do better than other people.
It's easy to get shiny objects in your own and saying this school is trying to do this and this entity is doing this let's try to do that.  Just being very honest with yourself about what you can do and what you can do well, bringing that to the Web I think is really important.  Having a plan kind of managing the expectations and really understanding what you want to get out of it and what you can do better than other people.  So I think developing a Web strategy which is important, I would encourage everybody to think along those lines as well.
THE MODERATOR:  Thank you, Mark for your great perspective from the conference office and let's head over to Columbus with thoughts from Jeff Brown.
JEFF BROWN:  I echo the thoughts of the fellow CAIDA panelists for the opportunity to talk to this group.  The one thing I'd probably focus on is regardless of the size of the school, you know, the website, there may be one person in charge of it.  But it is a team effort.
It's impossible for one individual or two individuals to get around and gather all the content that fans are looking for on an official athletic website.  And really just the collaboration of everybody within the department of athletics, from administration to any video and coaching staff and the student‑athletes, obviously the communications, marketing.  It is a team effort.
And I think that the more that the entire group understands that and can get on board with that, the more successful you're going to be able to be pushing content from your school out to your fans.
THE MODERATOR:  The members will be more successful now thanks to Jeff and the other members of the panel.  Let's go to comments from Rhode Island, Bryant's, Jason Sullivan.
JASON SULLIVAN:  I want to thank everybody for this great forum.  I think there's some great ideas.  Some great resources available for everybody to utilize from the big schools and to the small ones, which I'd love to be a sounding board.  I just joined this group last week in fact.  But I'd love to be a good sounding board for some of the folks that are struggling [Jason]  they want to achieve some things but maybe just need some help finding students on campus, finding support on campus from some other departments, communications departments, things like that, and the thing that we find is that our students they're looking for this experience but they're also knowledgeable.  They know more stuff about some of the technology than some of us.  And they had some creative ideas and creative thoughts.  They're really invested in the things they're working with.  And they work very hard.  I'd love to be a sounding board for that.
THE MODERATOR:  Great, thank you, Jason.  Now we'll head to Manhattan and hear comments from the leader and the person who has put CAIDA together, and also very helpful today to getting all our tremendous presenters, let's hear from Dave Smoller for his final comments.
DAVE SMOLLER:  Thanks, Eric.  And thanks again for the opportunity.  We really enjoyed it, I think.  I know I have.  Really appreciative of this chance.  I think my biggest thing, and it's something I repeated to folks I've talked to folks on the phone at all different levels, NIA, junior college all the way up to big huge schools.
The biggest thing I would to say is to echo Michael Jackson.  You are not alone.  There are people, no matter where you are, there is somebody that's out there in the same boat as you, has the same experience as you, same questions, same feeling of overwhelm, intimidated, whatever it might be.  So you're not fighting these battles in a vacuum.  There's other people.  And my advice would be to ask questions and hopefully that's the role CAIDA will play when it's up and running.
But ask questions.  Get support, put an e‑mail together and send it to folks that are your equivalent at other schools and ask questions.
Something we talked about pay lot in the Big 12, we're not competing with each other, with websites.  We're competing against ESPN at some levels.  We're competing with the local paper's website.  I'm not going to convert, as much as I'd like to, I'm not going to convert a KU fan to becoming a K‑State fan because my website is awesome.  So asking KU or giving KU advice shouldn't be looked as a bad thing or taboo.  So ask questions, get feedback.  Everybody can help each other, because we're all fighting the same battles.
THE MODERATOR:  Thank you, Dave, and we would love to see all five of you in St. Louis at our convention this year will be in St. Louis later in June, and there will be registration coming up in February.
We'd love to have each of the five of you come to spend time with our members, one‑on‑one personal time as well as panels.  We hope to see you all there.

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