Test students for sports terms, style

Students are always going to stumble over coverage of sports events, especially on deadline, such as finding the best angles, selecting appropriate quotes, structuring stories effectively, asking probing questions, and determining key trends and plays. That’s part of the learning process. So is employing suitable terms.

I used to think students would know the difference between shut and shutout and that players are positioned at second base, point guard, and running back. But I’ve learned this is not the case. Instead, stories are filled with secondbasemen, pointguards, and runningbacks.

This weekend, I developed four exercises that teachers can use to further reinforce the proper terms that are outlined in both the Field Guide To Covering Sports and in the Associated Press Stylebook. (Listed on the right side of this page.)

After reviewing sports terms in class, you can use the following exercises to test how much students have learned. Ultimately, you can create a final test or ask students to detect errors in sports stories. Please, send me your own style questions so I can share them with others. In the meantime, feel free to use the AP Style exercises below.

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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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