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This article has been published on UPIU.com, September 13, 2010

Here is the Link: http://www.upiu.com/articles/usa%E2%80%99s-world-cup-win-ends-16-year-drought

I intended to make a news feature about Team USA’s gold medal win at the recently concluded FIBA world Championships but when I finished writing the story, it turned out to be a news piece instead.  I found out that this was also noticed by UPIU Mentor Brendan Smith when he commented and gave useful advices to improve my story. If I still wanted to pursue the story, he advised me to go with a feature angle instead since a news story requires first hand sources and is not reliant on web sites and other articles alone. He pointed out that my headline may mislead the reader regarding the sporting event involved since it said “world cup” instead of “world basketball championship.” He also commended the good statistics and information in my story.

I took note of all his comments and made the necessary changes to my article. Considering his advice, I plan to make a feature story on the same topic in the near future.

USA’s world basketball win ends 16-year drought

By Mark Christian Manalang

It has been 16 years since USA basketball last struck gold at the FIBA (Fédération Internationale de Basketball) World Championships.

And after Team USA’s 81-64 finals victory yesterday over host country Turkey, this 16-year drought is finally over.

This is the Americans’ first world title since 1994 when they dominated Russia in a 137-91 finals victory.

”To bring this back to the U.S. after a long, long drought, it feels good. Yeah it’s all worth it,” said USA forward and tournament MVP Kevin Durant on FIBATV.com’s post-game interview.

“This was a big win for us. We wanted to come here and prove we were the best players in the world, the best team in the world, and we did that. It’s very important. We hadn’t done this in 16 years. Now we have qualified for two years time (2012 London Olympic Games), we can go there and try to get another gold,” said USA guard Chauncey Billups.

Recap

From the opening tip-off up to the final buzzer, whistles and boos resonated in the arena each time the Americans had the ball.

The 15,000-seat Sinan Erdem Dome, which was mostly filled by Turkish fans, was at its loudest when Hedo Turkoglu made consecutive 3-pointers to give Turkey its first lead at 15-14 with 4:07 remaining in the first quarter.

According to FIBA.com’s game summary, the Americans were down 17-14 in the first quarter but sparked an 11-0 run in a stretch spanning the late part of the first period and early second for a 25-17 lead and stayed in front the rest of the way.

The U.S. held Turkey to one field goal over the first half of the second period, extending the lead to 10 on a 3-pointer by Durant. The Americans were ahead 42-32 at halftime.

Ender Arslan drained a three-pointer for Turkey’s first points of the third period with 6:36 remaining.

As the third period winded down, Lamar Odom got an easy dunk and the Americans pushed the advantage to 61-48 heading into the final frame.

In the final quarter, Team USA’s stifling defense and hot shooting was too much for the host squad as the Americans maintained their double-digit lead up to the game’s closing seconds.

B-Team

According to NBA.com, the Durant-led US team was called a “B-Team” by many due to its lack of star power. None of the players from 2008 Olympic gold medal team enlisted for the 2010 FIBA World Championships.

“That was motivation for us all. We worked that much harder to prove people wrong,” Durant said on wanting to shake off the tag of being part of a ‘B’ team.

Team USA was left with a young, undersized team, featuring six players 22 or younger and with only one true center in Tyson Chandler.

Despite all this, the B-team was able to outperform its bigger-name predecessors who failed to win it all in Japan four years ago.

Many failed attempts

The previous attempts of USA Basketball to grab the gold at the 1998, 2002, and 2006 FIBA World Cup have all fallen short.

Their 1998 campaign featured an American squad that did not include any NBA (National Basketball Association) player and was comprised of professional basketball players playing in Europe and two college players.

The 1998 USA team reached the knockout stages of the tournament but would later lose to Russia in the semifinals 64-66. Yugoslavia eventually won the 1998 crown while the Team USA finished third by defeating Greece 84-61 in the bronze medal game.

The 2002 campaign in Indianapolis, which saw the return of NBA players to the USA roster, became more disappointing than the previous one.

Team USA, who had the home crowd, finished sixth as they lost to defending and eventual back-to-back champion Serbia &Montenegro (formerly Yugoslavia) 78-81 in the quarterfinals.

The 2006 World Championships in Japan showcased a USA team with fresh young faces and several newcomers from its management down to its players. The head coach was Duke University’s Mike Krzyzewski and the team captains were the young superstar trio of Lebron Jmaes, Dwayne Wade, and Carmelo Anthony.

The 2006 squad cruised through the preliminary and knockout stages with an unblemished record and a large average margin of victory. But Team USA’s stellar performance and its hopes of winning gold were halted by the Greeks in the semifinals as they ousted the Americans with a 101-95 victory.

Spain won the gold by defeating Greece 70-47 and USA went home with a bronze medal by defeating Argentina 96-81.

This opinion article has been previously published on Asiancorrespondent.com, August 30, 2010

Here is the Link: http://asiancorrespondent.com/ReadArticle/all-eyes-on-philippine-media.htm

Based on form and content, this article was evaluated by my professor and classmates in our online journalism class. The article was good enough that it was able to generate several comments but, as pointed out in our discussion, the article could have been better. As indicated by my professor, the main drawback of my work was that it lacked research. Since I wrote my article exactly a week after the event happened, my analysis and opinion on the issue could have been stronger, timely, and more relevant  if I had considered the succeeding updates and news reports on the hostage-taking incident.  The links were helpful in providing background for the article.

All eyes on Philippine Media

By Mark Christian Manalang.

Quezon City, Philippines—The date was August 23 when for 12 straight hours all eyes were on hostage-taker Ronaldo Mendoza, his 25 hostages which included 22 Hong Kong nationals, and the Manila Police Department. After the tragic ending that resulted with eight dead hostages, these eyes shifted elsewhere. From this news, it went on to look at the media, the news providers or messengers themselves which made the event known.

The bloody and unprecedented ending of the hostage-taking incident in Manila a week ago has focused all eyes on Philippine media. It is not because media brought and delivered this news to the public but it is because media actually became a part of this news. Media did not just merely report the news, media was clearly in it as their coverage of the hostage crisis had somehow affected its sad and disappointing outcome. Based on its questionable blow-by-blow coverage, media cannot be deemed blameless and unaccountable to some degree as to how the tragic hostage drama ended. In effect, Philippine media has once again come under the microscope.

Philippine media outlets have now been placed under the spotlight instead of being the ones who spotlight the newsworthy events. This spotlight has given media both added publicity and pressure which made their predicament more complex than it already is. So many players like the heavily-criticized Philippine Police, the highly-aggravated Hong Kong officials, the not so responsive Aquino Administration, the outraged and ever sympathetic Chinese community, and the local and international media groups have placed their critical eyes on Philippine media. Having different reasons and motives, all of them have placed close scrutiny on one of the freest media in Asia.

Is this scrutiny necessary? I believe so. The fact that eight lives were lost and many others injured gives these players the right to place careful inspection on media. The fact that media clearly violated protocols in covering sensitive events like the recent hostage-taking permits them to question media’s professionalism and guidelines. The fact that media appeared to focus on getting the scoop and beating the competition grants them the right to probe media’s main purpose for covering the event. The fact that media seemingly made the situation worse indeed validates their right to scrutinize media. This checkup on media because of its recent malpractice is justifiable, however, the blame to be widely or completely placed on media is unacceptable. The inefficiency of the police in handling the whole crisis situation must not be disregarded. But pointing fingers alone would not resolve or change anything as deliberated action and cooperation is also needed. Philippine media groups must prove to their attentive observers through their next moves that they are responsible and worthy of the press freedom that they have and enjoy. They must again work for the respect and trust of these players and understand when media when must step in and back off in crisis situations.

Media is in a delicate situation right now as the door for press freedom abuse has been opened once again. These watchful eyes on media have triggered the government to question the credibility and efficiency of self regulation. The thought of government regulation on media has crept in once again as new laws are being considered to curtail media from covering significant and similar crisis situations. Media institutions, carefully being watched by so many, must regroup, rethink, and reexamine themselves for their integrity and freedom is on the line.