Here are several ways to improve sports coverage at college media

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This is the most important time of the year for college sports media: when editors and producers need to plan coverage for the next three to – ideally – six months. 

Too often, editors and producers rely way, way (way!) too much on game precedes and folos, which is both lazy and unimaginative. To compound problems, college newspapers and TV stations lean on, respectively, print/digital game stories and brief descriptions of game highlights for its primary coverage. To be fair, professional newspapers and TV stations frequently fumble through game coverage as well even though this is the lowest form of sports reportage.

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Register now for this amazing sports journalism workshop

CMI_Sports18MainArtMMGranted, I am a bit biased since I have been involved with the CMI Sports Reporting Workshop since its inception five years ago, but you won’t find a more impressive list of sports media professionals anywhere.

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Oregon’s Willie Taggart apparently ends his boycott of Oregonian. Lesson: Don’t give in to bullying by coaches

College coaches Oregon’s like Willie Taggart need to handle pressure.

They drill their players to be tough and resilient, but they act like children when a reporter uses words they do not like. In this instance, Taggart telling Oregonian reporter Andrew Greif: I won’t talk to you. Coaches like this are angry, I suppose, because they cannot control the media in the same manner as they do their own players.

Continue reading “Oregon’s Willie Taggart apparently ends his boycott of Oregonian. Lesson: Don’t give in to bullying by coaches”

This week in college sports media: sportswriters on politics, violent Quidditch matches, special basketball sections, flying cats and more

Thomas Munson of the Daily Pennsylvanian writes as eloquently as any sports writer in this piece that addresses both today’s elections and sports, particularly the massive celebration in Chicago following the Cubs’ World Series championship run. At first, I needed to double-check to see if this were really a piece from the likes of Thomas Boswell or Wright Thompson instead of from a student journalist at Penn.

I won’t steal Munson’s proverbial thunder, but here is an example of his exceptional writing and wonderful insights into life, politics and sports. Continue reading “This week in college sports media: sportswriters on politics, violent Quidditch matches, special basketball sections, flying cats and more”

More cowbell: Quick takes on college sports media

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Writing and photography are more closely linked than one might believe. I learned that firsthand by working with numerous amazing photographers and through conversations with good friend and colleague Brian Poulter, who frequently takes photojournalism treks along national highways, rivers and into regions such as Alaska. Together, we developed a piece on how to apply photographic principles to writing, which will be published in a mass comm journal later this fall. Essentially, there are four levels of photos – and thus, four levels of writing – starting with informational. With each step up, the reader (or viewer) gets more engaged: graphic, emotional, intimate. Clearly, the goal is to almost always strive for the final two levels.

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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.

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