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.

Continue reading “More cowbell: Quick takes on college sports media”

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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Tips for planning college sports coverage

College teams are already training and scrimmaging, weeks ahead of another academic year. So now is the time to plan your college media’s sports coverage – that is, if you have not already done so. (It’s not like every single event is not already scheduled and available on your school’s athletic website, right?) Planning enables staffs to be more creative, more engaged and more relaxed. Below are 10 tips for improving sports coverage across any media, which are excerpted from the second edition of the Field Guide To Covering Sports, which will include the expanded list when the book becomes available in Winter 2017. The new edition dives even deeper into social, digital, and mobile sports media, and the Field Guide greatly expands coverage of sabermetrics/analytics, Fantasy sports, ethics, broadcasting and visual storytelling. Plus, there is a chapter on covering a college beat.

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Sports leads should offer context, introduce storylines

Like a talented leadoff hitter, leads set the table for a game story or preview. They put the story in play in a reader’s mind, meaning, to continue the metaphor, that the writer might eventually score by compelling people to read on. Too many leads are the equivalent of a strikeout while looking; no big swings and misses. The bat never leaves many writers’ shoulders.

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Quick Takes: Avoid cliches like the (zombie) plague

A few quick-takes while reading college sports media across the country.

sufferNot a big fan of teams ‘suffering losses’ regardless if defeat is by 1 point or 49 points, unless players got hurt during the game. You can see the definitions of suffer in the picture to the right that includes the following descriptions: “to feel pain or distress” and to be subjected to “anything unpleasant,””and to “experience.” But these definitions are really indicating real physical and mental pain. If a team is truly suffering, then use this word – but then you must also investigate and offer that story line. Don’t use ‘suffering’ blithely or the word will lose its meaning and become yet another meaningless sports cliche. Continue reading “Quick Takes: Avoid cliches like the (zombie) plague”