College Media

Block nickname metaphors simile to this

There is no justification for the bawdy headline in LSU’s student-run Daily Reveille this past week that characterized how the Tigers defeated the South Carolina Gamecocks. In some ways, the headline is 

This was the headline in the  Daily Reveille.

This was the headline in the Daily Reveille.

titteringly amusing in a pre-teen sort of way. In many more ways, the headline is amazingly insensitive to readers.

Is this the first time someone thought, or said, that term in relation to a South Carolina team? No. But it apparently was a revelation to an unrestrained LSU headline writer.

Let’s be clear, though. This appears to be an anomaly. The LSU Reveille typically does an excellent job covering sports. I’d say the newspaper is among the top tier in the country among college sports staffs. So let’s not bury them for a single headline. Instead, let’s consider what can be learned from this.

More than anything, do not play off team nicknames. Otherwise, you’ll repeatedly write similarly vague and laborious headlines. Really, how many times can the ‘Tigers claw’ at an opponent, the ‘Eagles soar,’ ‘Yellow jackets sting,’ ‘Bulldogs get collared,’ ‘Pirates sail past,’ ‘Mocs strike,’ and boll weevils do whatever the heck those beetles do? Instead, focus on key plays and players, find connections to current and historical events, and address what the game results mean.

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College Media, Sportswriting: Leads

Grantland Rice would be kinda proud

The Duke Chronicle called it “The Miracle on Franklin Street.”

The Daily Tar Heel lamentably wrote that the final shot ‘froze’ the Smith Center.

The Raleigh News & Observercharacterized the finish as the ‘craziest’ in Duke and North Carolina’s 233-gamehistory.

Yahoo Sports tagged it an ‘instant classic’ game. Continue reading

College Media

Too many college staffs fumble NSD coverage

National Signing Day is like Christmas to college football fans, coaches and athletic directors.

For most college sports staffs, unfortunately, Wednesday might as well have been Arbor Day for the lack of timely coverage of football signings across the country.

While there’s a direct correlation between a team’s success and the quality of its recruits, according to, the relationship between college newspaper staffs and NSD is much more tenuous, even among student media covering traditional football powers. Sports staffs continue to wait until the next edition gets printed on paper to reveal news like this, an approach that is as antiquated as pica sticks and paste-up. There are exceptions, though, like student media at LSU, Michigan and Boise State, where staffs innovate and break news. Sadly, far too many sports staffs have failed to learn how to report in today’s media environment, where breaking news gets posted immediately – especially when readers have a voracious appetite for the content. Auburn fans, for instance, want to know who they’ve signed instantly – during a coffee break, while eating lunch or on their phones at any time.

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College Media

Double OT game is worth at least a story

The Hartford Courant covered all angles of the game between U-Conn and Louisville.

The Hartford Courant covered all angles of the game between U-Conn and Louisville.

I still don’t understand why student papers fail to report on bigger sports events as soon as possible. After all, we are in the news business, so when sports news breaks, like Louisville’s double-overtime basketball victory over UConn on Saturday, readers want to read about it – even more so, if the game was broadcast on TV or if they had attended it. Readers want analysis, insights from players and coaches, descriptions of key plays and, most of all, a storyline about what just happened.

As of Sunday morning, neither UConn’sThe Daily Campus nor The Louisville Cardinal had posted anything online. UConn has just a game preview,, while the Cardinal has a game story from Wednesday’s game with West Virginia.

After the game, the Louisville Courier-Journal published both a game story and a column from Rick Bozich. The Hartford Courant, meanwhile, has a game story,slideshow, column, notebook, sidebar,box score, a blog that analyzed some key plays, along with video of key plays and postgame comments.

Certainly, most college newspapers don’t have enough writers to do all of this after each game, but, please, at least offer a game story – make your newspaper relevant while building your own skills on deadline.

BTW, check out this terrific lead on the game from the Courant’s Mike Anthony:
This loss, this disintegration, wasn’t official until Kemba Walker’s desperate three-pointer from about 33 feet soared high into the air and kicked off the back left portion of the rim at the final buzzer.

Walker could not add to his list of remarkable answers Saturday at Gampel Pavilion as the second overtime expired, but that’s not why Jim Calhoun and the fifth-ranked Huskies were so crestfallen after No. 23 Louisville’s 79-78 comeback victory before a raucous and increasingly frustrated sellout crowd of 10,167.

The Huskies led by nine with under nine minutes remaining in regulation, by seven with under five remaining. They led by four with under 30 seconds left in the first overtime. And then Louisville, increasingly efficient as UConn was increasingly incompetent, word down the Huskies’ in the second.