General, Sportswriting

Did Sports Illustrated senior writer reveal a bias to hire women? Isn’t it really about time for all sports media to do so?

There is a fascinating discussion on gender bias taking place on Twitter among several talented sports writers. No shocker: social media sees this as a black-and-white issue, but there are several gray areas as well.

Is it OK to hire and promote women over men, even if the industry is disproportionately one-sided? That’s a notion that has been discussed for many decades – even if there has been nominal progress. Sports journalism remains men-centric even though we educators have noticed extraordinary interest among women in covering sports. We now get large numbers at the CMI Sports Reporting Workshop, women pack sessions on sports coverage at College Media Association conferences and more women are taking our sports media courses here at Eastern Illinois University. (Shameless plug: we have elevated our sports program to a major starting Fall 2018). Continue reading

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Teaching sports journalism

Not so obvious to journalism students? To earn the best sports media jobs, one needs to work hard for a long time.

I think we all need to drop into Capt. Obvious mode from time to time – by stating ideas that are clearly self-evident … except to some of our students.

Students do not often consider the toil required to get to the level where they can get to the highest level – nor that they should enjoy the work itself. Success usually comes to those who are diligent and patient.

Conversely, teachers do not always remember that students are really just beginning on their paths, regardless if they are freshmen or seniors. Here are a few thoughts on the subject that I posted on my Twitter account. Please, feel free to add your own suggestions and tips below – no matter how obvious because they will probably be new to someone.

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Covering Games, Teaching sports journalism

There’s no better way to teach sportswriting than to bring students to cover live events

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EIU women’s basketball coach Matt Bollant and two of his players address the media, and my students, after a game last week. These experiences are invaluable for sports media students.

You can grill students all you want on interviewing techniques, keeping score, taking notes and writing game stories, but they won’t really learn until you throw them into live event coverage.

Everything makes sense until one has to cover a game on deadline.

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Sports Media Ethics, Teaching sports journalism

Why do athletes feel as though they are under attack? What can journalists do to address this?

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America feels as though it is under siege right now.

The students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, who are eloquently, candidly and smartly addressing the concerns they have about gun violence in America, certainly do. As does the NRA, whose president says that the Second Amendment is being attacked. There’s also President Trump, who claims that the FBI investigation into his administration is a threat. And there are also millions of Americans, who are concerned about our election process being hacked by Russians. There are also smokers, drinkers, non-smokers, Christians, Muslims and agnostics who have, in their minds, grave concerns about attacks on their way of life.

Add athletes to this list.

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College athletics access

College football programs try to control message, but they have only themselves to blame – not the media – for game performances

Screen Shot 2017-08-22 at 8.01.26 AMNotre Dame athletics is the most recent sports organization that just doesn’t understand how to work with the media – and, thus, to grow popularity and revenue. Instead of embracing coverage, Notre Dame decided to dictate strict, inhibiting – and, at times, paranoid – rules for sports journalists attending the football team’s practices.

Notre Dame tells media in a recent letter that they cannot produce a video that includes footage from interviews, press conferences and practices that lasts more than three minutes – probably in an attempt to elevate its own website and social media, where one will find lengthier and more in-depth video packages. So, essentially, Notre Dame has decided to reduce the length of numerous free commercials for its university. Advertisers will pay between $85,000 (Fox) and $92,251 (ABC) for 30-second commercials for Saturday night college football games this fall in an attempt to reach the same audience that would view video from Notre Dame practices. Yeah, not genius. Continue reading

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Sports Media Podcast

LISTEN: Interview with LGBTQ journalist of the year Erik Hall

On this week’s sports media podcast, we talk with Erik Hall, who was recently named LGBTQ Journalist of the Year by thew association of NLGJA by the national association of LGBTQ journalists. Hall, who writes for Outsports, is the reporter who had been declined press credentials by the St. Louis Cardinals to cover the team’s Christian Day last month.

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Sports Media Podcast

LISTEN: Claire Smith becomes the first woman voted into the writers wing of baseball’s hall of fame, the sad death of a former Yankees pitcher, and more

Screen Shot 2017-08-05 at 4.10.53 PMIn this week’s podcast, Jeff Owens and I address the historical implications of Claire Smith being the first woman, and fourth African-American, voted into the writers’ wing of the Baseball Hall of Fame as the recipient of the J.G. Taylor Spink Award, which has been presented annually since 1962 to those who have offered “meritorious contributions to baseball writing.” We also chat about a controversy surrounding Pete Rose and a teen, Sports Illustrated’s deep dive into the troubled life – and death – of former Yankees pitcher Hideki Irabu, and the lack of fanfare surrounding Adrian Beltre’s eclipsing the 3000-hit mark.

Subscribe and comment in iTunes, if you have the time. Thanks for listening.

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General

Cardinals refuse credential to Outsports reporter on Christian Day

When will business leaders, athletic directors, team owners and politicians realize–you can’t suppress negative coverage; you can only, perhaps, delay it.

Most everything eventually becomes public. Just look to the White House (or Baylor University), where stories emerge daily from private discussions and emails. Sports beat writers uncover previously hidden stories as well.

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Sportswriting, Training & Education

What questions do sports journalism students want answered?

So what do journalism students know, and, further, what do they want to learn?

That’s a primary concern for most educators like myself.

So I set out to ask students attending this week’s College Media Mega Workshop in Minneapolis that exact question.

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Sports Features, Teaching sports journalism

How to report and write news stories more visually

Co-wrote an article with friend and colleague Brian Poulter that has been published in the current issue of Teaching Journalism & Mass Communication. This evolved from a workshop we presented at several conferences on ways to improve writing skills by employing photographic approaches. Check it out.

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