Covering Games, Teaching sports journalism

Remaining active is essential to teaching sportswriting

Covering sports is often both humbling and gratifying, more so at the prep and small college level where not as much information is readily available. As a journalism teacher, I find these reporting experiences essential to teaching, serving as a reminder what students endure each time they head to a gym or ball field.

I once had a journalism professor who was out of touch, arguing that my approach to covering a game the night before for a local newspaper had been all kinds of wrong – perhaps if viewed through his mindset, which had clearly calcified a few decades earlier. I walked over to the college counselors after class to switch my major to English. If I was going to learn about older writing, I might as well read Hawthorne, Dickens and Whitman whose words still resonate.

On this assignment, I sought to model several behaviors:

  1. Speak to numerous players and coaches after the game in order to gather insights that can not be discerned from watching the game.
  2. Offer a storyline that offers insight into what this game means.
  3. Not write a basic lead that offers just who won and a key play or stat. After all, most readers will already know the result via social media. We posted the scores as well.
  4. Include brief analysis of the game.
  5. Link to previous coverage.

You can verify for yourself whether I succeeded.

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