Take a break from game coverage

Look at most college newspaper sports sections and you’ll see pretty much the same thing – stories about games: Precedes, folos, sidebars, columns. Sometimes, live tweets. Unfortunately, few college sports sections focus on stories outside the lines, as the Indiana Daily Student did this week. Why the dirth of non-game coverage? Habit. Laziness. Lack of imagination. Probably a little of each. To be fair, sports journalism newbies lack the perspective and context to drive these off-the-field stories. As aresult, student media advisers and journalism professors need to guide students away from exclusively covering games and to be sports reporters. It’s far easier to write about a sports event, where everything takes place in front of you and where sports information directors feed all kinds of background, stats, and key plays before setting up post-game interviews. To write a story like IDS’s Stephanie Kuzydym, you’ll need to think more creatively, do considerable research, and ask numerous follow-up questions. One more thing – as you read this story, notice how well this writer tells the story in her own voice, without inserting quotes every other graph. The story is a pleasure to read.

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About jgisondi

I covered sports and worked as a sports copy editor for more than 20 years at several newspapers in Florida, including the Fort Myers News-Press, Clearwater Sun, Florida Today and Orlando Sentinel. I started writing for a weekly sports publication in Coral Springs, Fla., at age 15. I have been hooked on sports journalism ever since. I was fortunate to have worked with some amazing editors along the way, journalists who took the time to help me even when my copy was not top-notch. Now, I teach journalism at Eastern Illinois University and work as an editor for Landof10.com, a vertical that focuses on Big Ten athletics. A second edition of the "Field Guide To Covering Sports" will be available sometime in February 2017. The book is a practical guide to preparing, observing, interviewing and writing about 20 different sports, from auto racing to wrestling. Chapters also address ways to cover high school sports, fantasy sports, to develop sports blogs. You can also learn how to cover games, to write features and to interview better. Fans can also learn basic rules of these sports, along with ways to better observe the action. New chapters in the second edition will address social media, advanced analytics, fantasy sports coverage and revised, expanded chapters address game coverage, features and columns, among other new sections.
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