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.
Students interested in writing journalistically – sports or otherwise – invariably take similar approaches and make comparable mistakes.
Language tends to be the biggest challenge for many students, whether that means a reliance on clichés and jargon, an inability to write precisely or concisely, or an overusage of inflated and hyperbolic language to display key moments or trends in games.
Let’s address some of those related to an exercise I developed for my sports journalism course. Continue reading “Correcting mistakes made by inexperienced sports writing students”