Bring your ‘A-Game:’ Avoid using cliches in sports writing

Cliches still plague sports writing. I suspect that’s because younger sport writers, by and large, watch more sports than read about them, which is a shame because there are so many amazing sports books out there. Continue reading “Bring your ‘A-Game:’ Avoid using cliches in sports writing”

Develop relationship with SIDs before diving into coverage

I was chatting with a friend who advises an East Coast university newspaper this morning about college sports journalism education. He mentioned the uncertainty students have about interviewing student-athletes. They ask him questions, such as: “Is it legal to go up and interview a player away from the field?” “Do reporters need to go through the sports information director?” “Is it OK to ask an athlete questions in class?”

Continue reading “Develop relationship with SIDs before diving into coverage”

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.

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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”

Here’s an opportunity to learn from premier sports media pros

College students and faculty will have the opportunity to spend two days with the nation’s premier sports media professionals during the second College Media Sports Reporting Training Camp scheduled Feb. 6-7 in Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena, home to the NHL Predators.  Last year, the conference sold out quickly, so register early to take part in this amazing learning opportunity. Look forward to seeing you there.

CMA sports 2015 copyHere’s more detailed information from our promotional materials:

College sports media students, advisers and faculty can spend two days at 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. Continue reading “Here’s an opportunity to learn from premier sports media pros”

Invigorate your campus sports section offers its rabid fans game stories, live chats, features, columns, and other content that engages readers. Look to professional websites like this to borrow and steal ideas to improve your own coverage. offers its rabid fans game stories, live chats, features, columns, and other content that engages readers. Look to professional websites like this to borrow and steal ideas to improve your own coverage.

Here’s information I presented at the College Media Association’s national convention in Philadelphia last week.

Establish beats. There is no logic in not having a sports beat system, only excuses and poor management. All beats have equally good stories. Assign one person as the primary coverage reporter for each sports team on campus. Other reporters can jump in and help by writing sidebars, compiling notebooks and filling in to write the mainbar when the main reporter is unavailable. Without a beat system, sportswriters are unfamiliar w/teams, can’t discern trends, and don’t earn players’ and coaches’ trust. Without a beat system, reporters are far less informed & don’t have established relationship with players/coach. As a result, stories = bland. So stop this nonsense of allowing multiple people to cover a single beat.

Continue reading “Invigorate your campus sports section”

Make your website attractive to fans

Originally posted June 2010

So what are you doing to create ‘the‘ place where fans turn for sports news on your campus? Or do you feel cocky, believing no other media can beat you for sports coverage? But does that include your own sports information department, which is probably cranking out copy, developing resources, and posting links all over its Web site?

Yeah, but that’s not journalism right? Think fans care? Really?

College newspapers are going to have to deliver more content on many more multimedia platforms much more frequently, if they are to remain relevant. Continue reading “Make your website attractive to fans”

Steps to writing an amazing news story

The more student stories I read, the more I realize I need to condense reporting to its basics. I’ve never been one to base my courses on a text; rather, texts have been companions to class lectures, discussions, etc. Next fall, I am going to begin the semester by evaluating professional news stories and by hitting the basics early. To emphasize the basics, I plan to review the list cited below both early and often. As I tell students, reporting is fairly easy. But reporting well takes significant effort, knowledge, and intellect. Feel free to use this, or to add your own suggestions in the comments below.

Continue reading “Steps to writing an amazing news story”