Episode 2: NCAA sanctions, Dilfer’s hypocrisy, NFL coverage & much more


In our new weekly sports media podcast, we address the NCAA pulling seven championships from the state of North Carolina during this academic year for failing to rescind House Bill 2, ESPN’s coverage of the NFL, more Colin Kaepernick backlash and much more. Check out episode 2. If you’d like to suggest a topic, send me an email at jgisondi@gmail.com.




Episode 1 of our new, weekly podcast about sports media


In this first edition of our sports media podcast, Jeff Owens (WEIU-FM’s director) and I address coverage surrounding Colin Kaepernick, cite our favorite journalists and broadcasters and discuss other sports media news from the past week. In addition, we plan to interview professional sports media journalists and experts, to offer advice to younger journalists, and evaluate sports coverage. Who knows where else this will morph? Please, check it out.



Here’s how to cover a college beat even when ADs, SIDs limit access to athletes

In the past week, I have received several queries from college sports media staffs stating that a sports information director or athletic director is limiting access to athletes – and, thus, are trying to control coverage. In one case, a college staff was told it could never speak to college athletes, only with coaches. Not only is that rule absurdly idiotic, it also begs to be challenged as a free speech issue.

Bottom line: Do not back down from these fights no matter how much you believe covering games is essential, otherwise you’ll rarely get what you want, need or even deserve to share with these athletes’ fellow college students in the future. It’s sad when it is easier to speak with college administrator than with college students who happen to play a sport on campus.

Continue reading “Here’s how to cover a college beat even when ADs, SIDs limit access to athletes”

Tips on ways to improve cross country coverage

Cross country is not nearly as popular as football, but that doesn’t mean writers should cover this sport any less rigorously or creatively.

And there’s no reason this beat can’t be the most interesting.

In order to make it so, writers will need to find storylines before these races begin, to keenly observe the races, and to better understand strategy – in other words: to approach cross country like every other beat. Continue reading “Tips on ways to improve cross country coverage”

Even Spock might agree: Clarity is the key to solid sportswriting

Once upon a time, someone somewhere used a new word or phrase to describe something related to sports that was creative, illuminating and/or humorous. Through the years, that word became embedded in sports journalism’s lexicon, used – perhaps, tirelessly – numerous times. So should this word be considered a cliché, a worn phrase or just another vocabulary word, no different than other parts of speech? At what point should writers eschew such words and phrases?


Let’s look at the word workhorse, typically used in football stories to describe a running back who carries the ball a great number of times across a game or entire season, figuratively plowing through defenders and hauling the ball across the field. On some levels, workhorse appears to be a creative, appropriate analogy. Such phrases, though, are often misappropriated and frequently overused by writers who prefer the easy descriptor instead of a more apt word. Continue reading “Even Spock might agree: Clarity is the key to solid sportswriting”

Tips for planning college sports coverage

College teams are already training and scrimmaging, weeks ahead of another academic year. So now is the time to plan your college media’s sports coverage – that is, if you have not already done so. (It’s not like every single event is not already scheduled and available on your school’s athletic website, right?) Planning enables staffs to be more creative, more engaged and more relaxed. Below are 10 tips for improving sports coverage across any media, which are excerpted from the second edition of the Field Guide To Covering Sports, which will include the expanded list when the book becomes available in Winter 2017. The new edition dives even deeper into social, digital, and mobile sports media, and the Field Guide greatly expands coverage of sabermetrics/analytics, Fantasy sports, ethics, broadcasting and visual storytelling. Plus, there is a chapter on covering a college beat.

Continue reading “Tips for planning college sports coverage”