Teaching Journal: Writing about live sports events

Through the semester, I’ll offer observations from my own sports (and sometimes news writing) classes that could prove helpful for both students and teachers.

Assignment: Students wrote stories based upon the football exercise in the second edition of the Field Guide To Covering Sports (pp. 365-367).

Observations: Students developed leads that were general, which is often the case since they are often taught to take this approach in essays by most teachers from K-12. As a result, my students focused on leads about “regulation ending in a scoreless tie” or merely that Cocoa defeated Tallahassee Godby, 7-6, in a state title game.

Continue reading “Teaching Journal: Writing about live sports events”

UMBC’s historic win in NCAA tourney generates some terrific stories – and another upset

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NCAA.org offered a nice analysis detailing trends in these No. 1 vs. No. 16 matchups.

So how did the country cover No. 16-seeded UMBC’s implausible, crazy victory over No. 1 Virginia? Here’s a sampling of the stories that addressed what might be the biggest upset in the NCAA basketball tournament – and the first time a No. 16 seed has ever beaten a top-seeded team. Few fans had ever heard of the school, making its second appearance in the tourney. After the historic game, they crashed UMBC’s website trying to learn more about the little team that did.

In another upset that is equally shocking, Virginia’s student-run newspaper, Cavalier Daily, did not post anything on its website, Twitter feeds for news or sports, or on Facebook. UMBC posted a story both online and offered updates on Twitter – although no social media may have been more entertaining than the tweets from UMBC Athletics.

Check out these stories

Continue reading “UMBC’s historic win in NCAA tourney generates some terrific stories – and another upset”

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”

We’re set for the 4th annual national college sports journalism workshop

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College sports media students, advisers and faculty can spend two days at CMI’s Fourth Annual Training Camp and learn from the nation’s premier sports media professionals how to better inform and entertain your followers, no matter the media platform. This one-of-a-kind opportunity exclusively for college media will tackle sports storytelling, game analysis, social media and on-air radio and television. Sessions will address topics such as game coverage, feature writing, sports commentary, player & coach interviews, sports talk radio, play-by-play, working with sports information directors, blogging, sideline reporting, and sports broadcasting. Continue reading “We’re set for the 4th annual national college sports journalism workshop”

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.

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Tips on ways to improve cross country coverage

Cross country is not nearly as popular as football, but that doesn’t mean writers should cover this sport any less rigorously or creatively.

And there’s no reason this beat can’t be the most interesting.

In order to make it so, writers will need to find storylines before these races begin, to keenly observe the races, and to better understand strategy – in other words: to approach cross country like every other beat. Continue reading “Tips on ways to improve cross country coverage”