Local reporting matters most, even when national media try to co-opt the narrative

This is why local journalism matters, sometimes more so on stories that attract national attention — and where America thinks everything is resolved when attention is diverted elsewhere. The local reporters don’t take off to the next big thing; rather, they grind it out, pushing back against those who seek to hide public information and who threaten to prosecute journalists who keep digging in order to cover up their misdeeds — as happened to the Sun-Sentinel staff. Kudos to those at the Fort Lauderdale newspaper who fought tenaciously against those in power at local school boards and the sheriffs department to reveal the facts behind the shootings at the Parkland, Fla., high school. Check out this powerful letter from a parent whose child was killed during the massacre at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School, which was sent to the Pulitzer Prize committee. Kudos to the staff in South Florida – and to journalists everywhere who seek truth and report it.

-30-

Advertisements
Posted in News reporting | Leave a comment

Some March Madness cliches are more wretched than others

used to rail vs clichés like “Cinderella” and “bubble teams.” Those words, though, have been used so pervasively in discussions about the NCAA Basketball Tournament that they are now as endemic to coverage as March Madness. That’s what makes English perhaps the best language on the planet; words are blended and redefined, in part, through popular usage and changes in society. (God help us, though, if charity stripe eventually makes the cut.)

Sports language has been a big part of our vernacular for more than a century. Baseball, in particular, has a strong hold on how we describe our lives. We go to bat for others, strike out when we fail, and hit a home run when we succeed. Sometimes, though, we throw a Hail Mary pass in a desperate attempt to do well. At other times, a decision or action is a slam dunk. Continue reading

Posted in Covering basketball, Sportswriting: Language, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

How to keep score, take notes and write stories about live sports events

nu3606 copy

Here are my notes for today’s session on ways to more effectively keep score, take notes and, ultimately, write a more informed story about live sports events. See you later today in Louisville at the Associated Collegiate Press/College Media Advisers national college journalism workshop.

BTW, it’s never too early to start planning for the sixth annual Sports Reporting workshop hosted at Vanderbilt, which is tentatively set for the second full week in February. I’ll supply more details when they become available.

-30-

Posted in Covering Games | Tagged , , , , ,

Writing is not a mystery, even if you binge-watch ‘Bosch’

Writing is not a mystery, except when it is.

If you’ve written a great deal, you know what I mean. If you have not, the previous sentence reads like awful haiku.

Continue reading

Posted in Sportswriting | Tagged , , ,

Don’t fear asking the right questions

Don’t let coaches intimidate you from asking questions. If you believe the biggest controversy revolves around whom will start at quarterback, then ask about that scenario — even if the coach becomes agitated, surly or even angry, as Tide coach Nick Saban did here.

To Saban’s credit, he apologized. Likely, some coaches will also offer a mea culpa, if you regularly cover a beat (or if the response is well publicized).

Coaches have the power to eradicate such questions by either responding candidly or by making a decision on, say, who will be the starting quarterback. They just need to realize that transparency will set them free.

-30-

Posted in Interviewing | Tagged , , , ,

Journalism still has a future despite its hiccups and challenges thanks to passionate young reporters. But Americans need to step up as well.

I’ve learned a few things, and developed stronger stances on several other things I thought I knew after discussing journalism with the 15 high school students attending our camp at Eastern Illinois University.

1. It’s tough to determine what to believe with so many real and false news websites, and even when real news sources fail to be as objective as they should be.

2. Working journalists should refrain from offering personal opinions, snarky comments or anything else that even slightly diminishes one’s integrity. Use social media to share verifiable information and to promote media content. Reporters can even share about their life, if appropriate and not political. Continue reading

Posted in General | Tagged , , ,

Did Sports Illustrated senior writer reveal a bias to hire women? Isn’t it really about time for all sports media to do so?

There is a fascinating discussion on gender bias taking place on Twitter among several talented sports writers. No shocker: social media sees this as a black-and-white issue, but there are several gray areas as well.

Is it OK to hire and promote women over men, even if the industry is disproportionately one-sided? That’s a notion that has been discussed for many decades – even if there has been nominal progress. Sports journalism remains men-centric even though we educators have noticed extraordinary interest among women in covering sports. We now get large numbers at the CMI Sports Reporting Workshop, women pack sessions on sports coverage at College Media Association conferences and more women are taking our sports media courses here at Eastern Illinois University. (Shameless plug: we have elevated our sports program to a major starting Fall 2018). Continue reading

Posted in General, Sportswriting | Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,