College Media

Tips for planning college sports coverage

College teams are already training and scrimmaging, weeks ahead of another academic year. So now is the time to plan your college media’s sports coverage – that is, if you have not already done so. (It’s not like every single event is not already scheduled and available on your school’s athletic website, right?) Planning enables staffs to be more creative, more engaged and more relaxed. Below are 10 tips for improving sports coverage across any media, which are excerpted from the second edition of the Field Guide To Covering Sports, which will include the expanded list when the book becomes available in Winter 2017. The new edition dives even deeper into social, digital, and mobile sports media, and the Field Guide greatly expands coverage of sabermetrics/analytics, Fantasy sports, ethics, broadcasting and visual storytelling. Plus, there is a chapter on covering a college beat.

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Sports Scholarships

Apply quickly for sports journalism scholarships

There are only a few days left, but this is a terrific opportunity to earn some cash for college – and all for doing what you love best, right? Check out the details below and send in your clips . I suspect they’ll accept some unofficial transcripts until an official one can be mailed.

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Covering Games, Multimedia

The new(er) face of sports event coverage

This is the new(er) look of game coverage: a package compiled by a writer typically watching an event away from the venue and who relies more heavily on advanced metrics, video and social media instead of on play-by-play and post-game interviews. You’ll also notice that visuals (metrics charts that appear more like daily stock market charts), video clips and social media screen shots play as big a part in presenting this story as words do. To learn more about advanced hockey metrics, you might want to start here.

You’ll also need to learn to break down action on the ice, as SB Nation’s Pat Iverson did below. To improve your ability in assessing play, you can chat with high school/college coaches and players, asking if they’d be willing to meet with you to explain – even off the record – aspects of the game. If you’re lucky, you’ll also be able to sit in when they break down game video.

Value picks. Understanding advanced hockey metrics (left) can get as complicated as evaluating ebbs and flows in the stock market (right). 

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Covering Games, Multimedia

Miami Herald offers an excellent multimedia game package

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The Miami Herald delivered a terrific post-game package after Game 6 of the NBA playoff series between the Miami Heat and Toronto Raptors.

Today’s game coverage has changed a great deal from two decades ago, before social media and during digital media’s infancy, but some things haven’t changed: telling stories that are focused around key players, plays or trends – even if they are conveyed through audio, video, photos or all three mixed together.

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College Media, Sportswriting: Leads

Sports leads should offer context, introduce storylines

Like a talented leadoff hitter, leads set the table for a game story or preview. They put the story in play in a reader’s mind, meaning, to continue the metaphor, that the writer might eventually score by compelling people to read on. Too many leads are the equivalent of a strikeout while looking; no big swings and misses. The bat never leaves many writers’ shoulders.

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Sportswriting, Sportswriting: Language

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

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Interviewing, Sources

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?”

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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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Sports Media Education

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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