Focus should always be on ACTION Transmit action through: ▪ Variety ▪ news, features, profiles, sidebars, etc ▪ Photographs ▪ Writing ▪ look forward; use active verbs and active voice ▪ Broaden coverage ▪ cover frosh-soph, JV, intramurals, etc A good sports reporter attends the games they are writing about, and keeps in constant contact with key members of the team (coaches, captains, managers, strongest players)
Good writing and good journalism are good for sports coverage Sports journalist should be well versed in the sport(s) they cover Should capture a sport’s flair and flavor Involves readers in all aspects of the game Challenges of particular sport Rules Standings The better the writer understands the dynamics of the team, the better the stories they will capture
For the print edition, coverage can be complicated What to focus on when covering a game: 1. Who won? 2. What were the game highlights? 3. Did anyone set or nearly set a record? 4. Why was the game important in standings and for one or more players? 5. What other elements stood out? 6. What consequences, if any, are likely?
Writing a sports game preview/advance An overview, perhaps by a sports columnist, of what the rest of the season looks like in the light of the team’s record so far Concise paragraphs about upcoming games, concentrating on what to watch for in each, and grouped as sports briefs with longer paragraphs about the major rivalry
1. Strive to look forward, not back in time. Examples: ▪ Poor: After disappointing losses for its first four games, Norman varsity football found a winning formula Oct. 16 with two touchdown passes from quarterback Brand Post to end Jim Wagner as it edged Morningside 14-13. ▪ NOTE: Save losses for later paragraphs ▪ Poor: On their way to repeat the success of last year’s team, JV girls’ soccer team shut out its first five opponents, winning 2-0 against Inglewood April 11. ▪ Better: After its 2-0 win against Mayfair April 11, the JV girls’ soccer team posted shutouts against its first five opponents and looks ready to win a second successive league championship.
2. Stick to third person, except in quotations. Examples ▪ Poor: Our varsity basketball team fought to the finish… ▪ Better: The Norman varsity basketball team fought to the finish…
3. Keep stories free of strictly one-sided reporting; NO editorializing Examples ▪ Poor: A highly deserved win over the Santa Monica Vikings Feb. 29 proved again that the Beverly basketball team is the best. ▪ Better: A 79-58 win over the Santa Monica Vikings Feb. 29 strengthened Beverly’s standing in the league basketball championship race.
4. Know the sports you write about. Correctly use and spell the specialized terms of each sport. Not all sports events are games; some are matches or contests. Know the rules, the strategies, the records and the schedules, but avoid becoming too technical for less learned readers.
5. Keep your writing moving forward. Use strong verbs and precise nouns. Avoid using trite expressions that strain to be striking and colorful, but only sound cliched.
6. Seek informative quotes that tell the inside story. Example: Looking forward to future games after the win over Morningside, the coach said, “Everyone’s aching to topple us.” He stated it was, “best to take it one game at a time.”
7. Look for the inside story Attend practices—look, listen and learn. Talk with and quote athletes as well as coaches for insights and opinions.
8. Be fair to the opposition, but show enthusiasm Strive for balance coverage that offers valid evaluations of both your team’s and your opponent’s strengths and weaknesses It’s ok to promote the home team, but don’t belittle the opponent. ▪ For example, put your school’s score first: ▪ Beverly 6, Venice 4 OR Normans 6, Gondoliers 4 Concentrate on highlights ▪ Especially after a close game or a win ▪ Mention pluses—good moves or smart plays after a loss
9. Keep the game and the entire season in perspective Know records and standings of: ▪ Home team ▪ Home team players ▪ Opponents Evaluate and interpret: ▪ Key plays ▪ Strategies ▪ Overall situation with statistics, background info, facts Always remember you are a reporter, not just a fan ▪ Think of your story as you watch the game and take notes
Write 300-400 word sports article about a game or a series of games Must include direct quotes from interviews with two members of the team (coach, players, manager) ▪ For a new perspective: interview fans Must include facts, figures, feelings May be about a frosh-soph, JV or varsity game Completed, final draft due Tuesday, Dec. 6 Typed, double spaced, 12 pt Times New Roman