Wednesday, August 24, 2016

EDITOR's NOTES: Your local sports coming in HD

By David Kennard

Journal Scene sports reporter Roger Lee and his counterpart in Berkeley County, Rob Gantt – or as I like to call them, “The Talent” were in Coastal Coffee Roasters in Summerville on Tuesday afternoon.

They were video recording the first of what will become a 10-week(ish) project that previews local high school football games. You can find the video now on our website. Look for future videos to appear every Wednesday.

This is part of our ongoing mission of making The Journal Scene your No. 1 source of local, local news. Between them, Roger and Rob have been covering our local sports teams for nearly 30 years.

Sports fans are used to seeing them in the press boxes and on the sidelines talking to coaches, players and parents. Readers are used to seeing their roundups and previews in the paper and online.

Now for three to four minutes each week, you can watch them online talking about our local sports teams. It’s fun for me to hear their insights on the local teams.

When I first floated the idea of a short preview video, you can imagine their excitement. Actually you’ll have to imagine it because their reaction was more like, “Now what is he making us do?”

The idea was to try and capture their wealth of local sports knowledge and share it in video form. That’s the goal anyway. We’ll see how it works in the weeks to come.

Player of the Week

Also coming up in the next couple of weeks, we’ll be bringing back the Player of the Week game.

This weekly pick’em contest lets you go online and select your favorite football player from among those Roger and Rob feel had exceptional games during the previous week.

Like all sports critiques, it’s pretty subjective – a little like asking who’s the better athlete: Michael Phelps or Usain Bolt. So, please, don’t take it too seriously.

Athlete of the Week

In case that’s not enough, we’re also bringing back the Athlete of the Week feature that began mid-way through the last school year.

Again, it’s up to “The Talent” to select the athletes from all sports who, whether or not they had a stellar performance, deserve recognition for their contributions to their respective teams.

We try to pick a male and female athlete each week, and again it’s highly subjective. Watch for that feature to begin in a couple of weeks as well.

I love the Athlete of the Week because it’s a good way to throw a little love to all those non-superstars like me, who enjoy playing, but often are relegated to the bench.

In elementary school I loved it when they pulled out the parachute because in basketball, I pretty much just got elbowed a lot.

As a father, I got to watch my children play sports quite a bit. In fact my oldest son, Nathan, just missed playing against LeBron James for the 2001 High School Boys Division III Ohio state title.

James was a graduating senior the year Nathan started playing basketball as a high school freshman. Nathan is 6 feet 7 inches tall and did a decent job as a center and power forward. Unfortunately he inherited a lack of speed that ended my basketball dreams in high school as well.

He played football all through high school, though, and even started a few times. Of course my wife and I were loyal sports parents, sitting through the cold Ohio winters huddled under blankets on freezing aluminum benches. It’s a different experience here in the Lowcountry.

By the way, make sure to check out today’s paper for the Football 2016 special pullout section. It’s  just one more fun feature we’re sending your way to get you in the mood for fall sports.

David Kennard is the executive editor of Summerville Communications, which publishes the Berkeley Independent, Goose Creek Gazette and Summerville Journal Scene. Contact him at or 843-873-9424. Follow him on Twitter @davidbkennard.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

EDITOR'S NOTES: Pokemon, sex offenders; they’re all out there

By David Kennard

More than 80 sex offenders live or work within a 2-mile radius of my office.

There also are about 100 Pokemon Go “stops” in that same area.

Curious, I searched the South Carolina sex offender list, which shows me all the registered sex offenders within a 1-, 2-, or 3-mile radius of any given address. You can find the same list at

Next I went to and searched for all the Pokemon Go “PokeStops” and Pokemon Gym locations.

I took one map and overlaid it on top of the other. Wow.

In case you’ve been living under a log, Pokemon Go is an electronic game that people of all ages, but mostly children and middle-aged men, play on their electronic hand-held devices – smart phones and tablets.

The game brings up a map on your phone that shows local streets and landmarks. As you walk around town you discover electronic images that are superimposed on the map. These cartoon monsters, or Pokemon, are then collected as you play the game. The idea is that as you walk around, you run into other Pokemon players and “battle” with your collected creatures at designated spots on the map labeled “gyms.”

The game has been wildly successful for game-maker Nintendo. It’s creative and has motivated electronic game fans to get off the couch and into the “real-ish world.”

You’ve probably seen people playing the game but didn’t know what you were seeing. They are the zombie-like people staring at their screens as they walk around town. You’ll know you’ve found a Poke player when you see them stop, turn one direction or the other, wait, then celebrate in some way.

What’s happening is they are using their phone’s GPS capabilities to find the many Pokemon characters that appear on their phones’ map. When they locate one they stop to poke it on their phone and then using their thumb toss “Pokeballs” at the creature in an effort to collect them.

The problem is the only way to get more Pokeballs – yes that’s the name – is to wander over to a PokeStop and collect a few. PokeStops are all over the place: parks, businesses, museums, sex offenders’ homes. Wait, what?

That’s right.

Have a look at Journal Scene reporter Jenna-Ley Harrison’s story in today’s edition.

Police are actually warning parents and children to be careful where their Pokemon Go games lead them.

“We are having an influx of people playing…in our parks and making their way into businesses and what not, and that’s fine, but we just need them to be aware of their surroundings, who’s playing,” said Summerville Capt. Doug Wright.

Remember when your parents told you not to play in the street?

Long before the Pokemon and Pokeball phenomenon, my younger brother and I had just as much enthusiasm for whiffle ball. Most of our elaborate games lasted for hours and drew neighborhood kids from all over to our front yard.

We had more than one close call chasing whiffle balls into the street. Luckily no one ever got hurt. The nice thing about whiffle ball was that it kept us relatively close to home and out of the yards of dangerous people.

Like any new game or technology, parents would be wise to exercise some discretion when allowing their youngsters to wander around with their faces buried in their phones looking for Pokemon monsters – because real life monsters aren’t too far away.

David Kennard, a Level 8 Pokemon Go player, is the executive editor of Summerville Communications, which publishes the Berkeley Independent, Goose Creek Gazette and Summerville Journal Scene. Contact him at or 843-873-9424. Follow him on Twitter @davidbkennard.