Teaching sports journalism

Hey, every writer sucks at first. So let’s nurture, not torture

No matter how good you are today as a writer, you once sucked at some level.

And, nonetheless, someone likely told you a story or essay was OK, encouraging you to improve.

That’s our jobs as editors and – even more so – as teachers.

Accentuate the positive, denote the negative and offer advice for improvement.

Here are some comments I just sent to a student who just published his first sports story.

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education

It’s going to be a challenge teaching sports writing, but here’s how I’ll start

It’s going to be a different, and likely more difficult, semester for many who are teaching sports writing courses across the country. Few, if any, sports might be available in some states – and even where they will be competing, interviewing athletes and coaches will be more challenging. Nobody yet has many answers, but we’re all trying. To that end, I have shared syllabi for several courses below – Writing for Sports Media, Advanced Reporting and News Writing. Would love to see yours, as well.

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Sportswriting, Teaching sports journalism

Advice from veteran sports writer Tommy Deas

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Tommy Deas

 Tommy Deas, executive sports editor at The Tuscaloosa News and former president of the Associated Press Sports Editors, offered terrific advice to students attending the College Media Mega Workshop here in Minneapolis. Deas regularly mentors young students, which was evident by his pragmatic advice and encouraging tone. 

Here is some advice culled from our conversation with Deas, offered in no particular order of importance:

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Teaching sports journalism, Title IX

A primer on how to use databases to investigate Title IX compliance on your own campus

Sports journalism should include far more than game reports, reviews, columns and the occasional profile. The best sections address important issues related to sports.

Title IX is one of the most significant issues on college campuses, but it is a topic that is rarely reported in college media, which is a shame since the data is out there. So I’m always impressed when I find solid stories like this one by the Badger Herald’s Anne Blackbourn and this one by several writers at the Amherst Student.

Let’s look at some ways to develop a story using a database. In this case, I’ll address Title IX.

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Teaching sports journalism, Training & Education

Start planning for 2018 sports media conference for college students

sports17Sorry if you missed out on the best sports journalism training for college students this past weekend. But there’s always next year when we roll out another impressive three-day conference in Nashville.

We just completed the fourth annual CMI Sports Journalism Workshop, held this year at both Vanderbilt and Bridgestone Arena for more than 200 students and a few faculty members. Like the first three years, speakers once again delivered terrific insights into a variety of topics ranging from baseball beat coverage from ESPN’s Buster Olney and the St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s Derrick Goold to telling stories in long-form from Jordan Ritter Conn to sideline reporting to broadcasting, multimedia, interviewing, to name just a few. Continue reading

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Teaching sports journalism

Rubrics help teachers, students focus on key elements of journalism

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Anybody who works as a journalist realizes there are essentially two kinds of stories – those that either pass or fail, that either inform and/or entertain readers fully or that lack depth, sources, context, skill. Anybody who teaches journalism realizes we can’t really grade in this manner. To that end, I typically create rubrics for courses that address advanced reporting, sports writing and feature writing in order to offer more specific instruction on how to improve. Rubrics can remind students on the elements included in good journalism.

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