Columnist says Cardinals manager Mike Matheny is using alternative facts to explain his team’s struggles in 2017

Bernie Miklasz, who covered the St. Louis Cardinals for 26 years, relies on advanced metrics to illustrate that the team’s manager, Mike Matheny, has incorrectly blamed younger players for problems in 2017.

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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”

More cowbell: Quick takes on college sports media

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Writing and photography are more closely linked than one might believe. I learned that firsthand by working with numerous amazing photographers and through conversations with good friend and colleague Brian Poulter, who frequently takes photojournalism treks along national highways, rivers and into regions such as Alaska. Together, we developed a piece on how to apply photographic principles to writing, which will be published in a mass comm journal later this fall. Essentially, there are four levels of photos – and thus, four levels of writing – starting with informational. With each step up, the reader (or viewer) gets more engaged: graphic, emotional, intimate. Clearly, the goal is to almost always strive for the final two levels.

Continue reading “More cowbell: Quick takes on college sports media”

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”

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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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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