Fewer sports are being played here in central Illinois and around the country, but outdoor activities that enable students to be more socially distant during competition, such as golf, tennis and cross country, have been allowed in Illinois.
That means more coverage of these three prep sports than usual.
Coaches send me screen shots of school matches for our local sports news website where I post short stories, which, of course, are longer for big events or for those that we cover in person.
As a primer for teaching golf coverage, though, these two shorter exercises work well.
Here are my notes for today’s session on ways to more effectively keep score, take notes and, ultimately, write a more informed story about live sports events. See you later today in Louisville at the Associated Collegiate Press/College Media Advisers national college journalism workshop.
BTW, it’s never too early to start planning for the sixth annual Sports Reporting workshop hosted at Vanderbilt, which is tentatively set for the second full week in February. I’ll supply more details when they become available.
Students are always going to stumble over coverage of sports events, especially on deadline, such as finding the best angles, selecting appropriate quotes, structuring stories effectively, asking probing questions, and determining key trends and plays. That’s part of the learning process. So is employing suitable terms.
I used to think students would know the difference between shut and shutout and that players are positioned at second base, point guard, and running back. But I’ve learned this is not the case. Instead, stories are filled with secondbasemen, pointguards, and runningbacks.
This weekend, I developed four exercises that teachers can use to further reinforce the proper terms that are outlined in both the Field Guide To Covering Sports and in the Associated Press Stylebook. (Listed on the right side of this page.)
After reviewing sports terms in class, you can use the following exercises to test how much students have learned. Ultimately, you can create a final test or ask students to detect errors in sports stories. Please, send me your own style questions so I can share them with others. In the meantime, feel free to use the AP Style exercises below.