Presentation on theme: "Ten Top Tips for Tiptop Sports Writing How to make your sports section the best-read, most-meaningful part of your high school newspaper Karl Grubaugh."— Presentation transcript:
Ten Top Tips for Tiptop Sports Writing How to make your sports section the best-read, most-meaningful part of your high school newspaper Karl Grubaugh The Gazette Granite Bay (Calif.) High School The Sacramento Bee
Top 10 Tips for Tip-Top Sports Writing So, do you get the feeling that people aren’t reading your sports section? Is your sports coverage dominated by dated game stories and cliché-filled features? These 10 tips can go a long way to improving your sports coverage – and your readership of the entire newspaper.
1.Reporting Comes Before Writing You MUST do the hard work of reporting before you sit down to write a story Remember, sports is one of the most statistics- and facts-heavy subjects out there – you have to have those at your fingertips to write good sports stories. That means you have to find out who has them, or keep track of them yourself.
2. Don’t Try to Do Too Much Find a SINGLE FOCUS and stick with it! Don’t try to tell someone’s life story It’s tough to tell more than one person’s story at a time, so avoid the temptation to tell the story of entire teams. Pick a player or two, not the whole offense or defense.
3. Show, Don’t Tell OK, so this is perhaps a bit of a cliché, but it’s important that you understand what it means – you have to put the readers in the story. Some examples: Use DESCRIPTION and get the DETAILS! How? DO YOUR REPORTING!
4. Don’t Do Game Stories * Most high school newspapers distribute approximately every three or four weeks. Unless you distribute more often than once a week, leave the game stories to the daily newspapers. Exceptions? When you can get a big game story into your paper less than a week after the game has ended.
* Only do game stories for your regularly updated ONLINE EDITIONS Get them up THE NIGHT/DAY they happen! Get the results in the first couple of grafs. Add at least a quote or two. Team records (overall and league) should be in the story. Report some statistical highlights.
5. Avoid Cliches Like the Plague If you’ve heard it before, figure out how to say it another way. An example: He took it to the hole in a gut-check game. “It’s all about the team,” Smith said. “There isn’t any ‘I’ in TEAM, so I played my own game and took it up and down the floor at 110 percent, and then let the Ws and Ls take care of themselves.”
6. Avoid ‘Jock Talk’ With all-ESPN all the time, this is a pernicious, difficult problem to avoid, but you must endeavor to only use intelligent, meaningful quotes. Suggestions – 1. Some coaches and athletes will fill SILENCE with more thoughtful remarks, so learn to WAIT for better answers. 2. Don’t ask cliché questions.
7. Use Dramatic Story-Telling Devices to Tell Your Stories Use the drama of sports to write more dramatic stories. Consider literary devices like foreshadowing, etc. Consider story-telling approaches like italics to set off events in a different time or place, etc. Try techniques like the Wall St. Journal feature method.
8. Don’t Always Write The Obvious Story Look for the little- known, unmined nuggets on your campus. Look for the stories that people don’t know about. Those are the stories people will want to read.
9. Sports Is Also News Just because it’s going in the sports section doesn’t mean it needs to be soft and squishy and entertaining. Even on high school campuses, sports has its share of hard-news stories that are begging to be told. Some examples:
10. Read Good Sportswriting! There is plenty of bad sportswriting out there. Try to avoid it. Find the good stuff and use it as a model for reporting and story-telling techniques. Examples: The Best Sports Writing of the Year, Sports Illustrated, ESPN the magazine, the L.A. Times, the Boston Globe and many others.
Thanks for Listening! Karl Grubaugh Granite Bay (Calif.) High School 1 Grizzly Way Granite Bay, CA 95746 916-786-8676, x5811 or 5514 firstname.lastname@example.org granitebayhigh.org