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”

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.

Continue reading “Here’s how to cover a college beat even when ADs, SIDs limit access to athletes”

Sports conference offers training, tips about media from pros

Screen Shot 2015-12-11 at 10.23.47 AMStudents and advisers representing 59 colleges and universities from Alaska to New York gathered in Nashville last year for an immersive two-day sports media experience they will never forget. This year’s event is bigger and better and will sell out quickly, so make your plans to attend soon.

Continue reading “Sports conference offers training, tips about media from pros”

Using team nicknames correctly

Here’s another AP Sports quiz that focuses primarily on letters H-P, but the aspect I will hit hardest is the proper use of pronouns related to schools, cities and nicknames – a problem that arises frequently in stories. In the quiz, I erroneously inserted ‘their’ for ‘Eastern Illinois University.’ I also slipped in references to pitches (knuckleball, fastball), postgame/pregame, and horse racing distances (furlongs).

Continue reading “Using team nicknames correctly”

College sports writers offer solid coverage of NCAA tourney

Arizona's Daily Wildcat offered significant coverage of its team's first-round game Thursday.
Arizona’s Daily Wildcat offered significant coverage of its team’s first-round game Thursday.

The Arizona Daily Wildcat offered the most comprehensive coverage among schools whose teams played in the opening round of the NCAA basketball tournament on Thursday.  The Wildcat posted a game story, a column and a notes package while most schools offered a single game story, which was certainly a challenge for staffs covering late-night games. Several school staffs relied solely on social media for its coverage – but that’s not substantial enough for today’s multimedia fan/reader. Continue reading “College sports writers offer solid coverage of NCAA tourney”

Take a break from game coverage

Look at most college newspaper sports sections and you’ll see pretty much the same thing – stories about games: Precedes, folos, sidebars, columns. Sometimes, live tweets. Unfortunately, few college sports sections focus on stories outside the lines, as the Indiana Daily Student did this week. Why the dirth of non-game coverage? Habit. Laziness. Lack of imagination. Probably a little of each. To be fair, sports journalism newbies lack the perspective and context to drive these off-the-field stories. As aresult, student media advisers and journalism professors need to guide students away from exclusively covering games and to be sports reporters. It’s far easier to write about a sports event, where everything takes place in front of you and where sports information directors feed all kinds of background, stats, and key plays before setting up post-game interviews. To write a story like IDS’s Stephanie Kuzydym, you’ll need to think more creatively, do considerable research, and ask numerous follow-up questions. One more thing – as you read this story, notice how well this writer tells the story in her own voice, without inserting quotes every other graph. The story is a pleasure to read.