Archive for August, 2007

Minor beats can yield major dividends

August 30, 2007

Don’t tell me you can’t find stories on “minor” college sports like cross country, swimming, and field hockey. Often, the best stories come from these beats. Most sports writers will clamor to cover football this fall, but that’s not where all the best stories reside.

Be thankful if you cover a “minor” beat because nobody else will have this information. Cover cross country or field hockey or rugby like any other beat by going to practices, talking with coaches and athletes, and reading stories on other conference teams. In the end, you’ll be an expert on this beat – and, therefore, invaluable. Editors and readers alike will appreciate your efforts. Too often, these sports unfairly receive little coverage even in high school and college newspapers.

Covering a “minor” beat will also help you land a job. Sports editors are sometimes more impressed when writers submit clips from “minor” sports,” believing it takes more time and effort to find these stories (After all, sports information folks offer play by play on typed sheets between quarters of football games. Where’s the challenge in that?) So relish assignments to cover these “minor” sports. That’s what our cross country beat writer, Brandy Provaznik, did this week, filing a terrific column for our college newspaper.

Here’s the beginning of her column on a new female assistant:

Sophomore Erin O’Grady ran the hill workout alone in a practice earlier this season.

She had moved ahead of her teammates and had no one to run with and keep her going.
That’s when Megan Craig, the new graduate assistant coach, stepped in.

“She kept up with me and cheered me on,” O’Grady said. “She was cutting corners and was probably exhausted, but she did everything she could to keep me from slowing down.”

Craig said she does whatever she can to make sure that people aren’t running alone – all the way from the fastest to the slowest runners.

Craig’s encouragement is not new to the Panthers.

This piece also reveals that columns can be more like feature stories with subtle, gentler commentary instead of a place where writers pontificate or offer screeching, bombastic statements.

So grab a minor beat. In the end, you’ll earn some major dividends.

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Don’t just wing it: Squeeze in some time to develop stories on bunts, picks-and-rolls and other sports strategies

August 27, 2007

USA Today recently posted a great article on the Wing-T offense in football, a formation that relies on misdirection and deception. This formation is especially helpful for smaller programs that do not have the size or strength on the front lines, although this formation is effective for programs of all sizes. More than 16 percent of all state champs in 2006 implemented the Wing-T, so named because the formation loosely resembles a T. To learn more about the strategies and intricacies of the Wing T, click here.

Readers love stories that help explain strategies, formations, and techniques. For example, you could write a story on how teams effectively implement the suicide squeeze in baseball, the triangle offense in soccer, or the pick-and-roll in basketball. That means you need to talk with as many coaches as possible to fully understand the nuances of these plays – and so you can get many perspectives. Not every coach runs the same play or offense the same way. In addition, make sure you also find compelling stories that reveal how the plays have worked, otherwise your story may read more like a training manual than a news story. Stories keep readers reading.

Also, do the research to gather statistics that help support your points, if possible, just as USA Today sports writer Jeff Zillgitt did in “The Wing-T offense: Football’s shell game.”

Some examples:

“An American Football Monthly survey of 2006 state champions revealed 16.8% of the respondents use the Wing-T as their base offense.”

“Goncharoff, who is 81-7 since 2000 and has won five of the past six Washington 3A state titles, loves the deception.”

“Few Wing-T teams have enjoyed as much recent success as Bellevue. The Wolverines started running the Wing-T in 1980 and won their first state title in 1982. In 2004 they ended the 151-game winning streak of then-USA TODAY No. 1 De La Salle (Concord, Calif.), rushing for 463 yards and not attempting a pass. In 2005, Bellevue won 30-16 against then-No. 3 Long Beach (Calif.) Poly.”

Make sure you also explain the strategy or play simply so even non-sports fanatics will understand how it works. Remember, someone new reads the sports pages every day. Help them to understand as well.

Here’s the simple break down on the Wing-T, as offered by Zillgit: “A basic Bellevue Wing-T play goes like this: The quarterback hands the ball off to the fullback. Or does he? He hands the ball to the running back. Or does he? He gives the ball to the wingback, positioned 1 yard off and 1 yard behind the tight end. Or does he? All four backs can be used as ball carriers, blockers or for deception.”

Make sure you also plan visuals and other ancillary elements to go along with your story, depending if it runs in print or online. That means scheduling pictures, working with graphic artists, and capturing video or audio. The USA Today story offers five video clips that help show the Wing-T in action. More and more, journalism merges words, video and audio (each has its distinct advantage.) Print allows for easier explanation of complex issues, video offers visuals that cannot always translate into words, and audio allows reader’s to hear inflections and speech patterns (and to hear the sounds of the game.)

Take some time when you develop story ideas like this, otherwise your final product might get lost among other items in print or online.

Give this a try: You’ll find you’ll also learn much more about sports. Good luck.

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MLB.com seeks interns for next summer

August 21, 2007

Here’s the press release we just received from MLB on internships. This is a great opportunity to get valuable experience reporting, writing, interviewing — and working with professional sports journalists. Check it out.

PRESS RELEASE
Want an exciting summer of covering Major League or Minor League Baseball? MLB.com offers 33 reporting internships to aspiring sportswriters. These internships are designed to give associates the full range of experiences that comes with covering a professional team. Each associate will work closely with a site reporter to give visitors to a team’s Web site all the information they need to follow the team from Opening Day to season’s end. Each Major League city will have one associate, and MLB.com, which manages the Web site for MiLB, will offer three internships for the Minor Leagues.

Starting Sept. 10, we will be looking for talented college juniors and seniors, as well as graduate students, for our 2008 Summer Internship Program. The application deadline for all internships is Nov. 21. We hope to make our selections by Dec. 21.

Our internship pays $8.50 an hour for undergrads and $10 an hour for those who have graduated or are in graduate school. We expect each intern to spend a minimum of 10 weeks in the program, dates determined by a person’s college schedule. Also, the more flexible an applicant is in terms of which Major League city he or she can work in, the better the person’s chances of being selected.

Applicants should submit a resume, five-to-10 published articles (no columns should be included), a list of references and a 750-word essay on why MLB.com should pick you? Please use the essay as a way of showing your creativity as a writer; in short, it should be more than a simple cover letter.

MLB.com also will be offering internships for photographers, copy editors/producers and designers.

Associates are responsible for arranging their own housing and transportation.

Please mail all internship applications to:

Bill Hill
Assistant Managing Editor/MLB.com
Attn: Internship Application
14825 N. 97th Place
Scottsdale, AZ 85260

If you have any questions, contact Bill Hill at bill.hill@MLB.com and put the words “Internship Info” in the subject line.

MLB Advanced Media

MLB Advanced Media, L.P. (MLBAM) is the interactive media and Internet company of Major League Baseball. MLBAM manages the official league site, http://www.MLB.com, and the 30 club sites to create the most comprehensive resource for Major League and Minor League Baseball on the Internet.
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Getting the most out of an interview

August 15, 2007

Sometimes, I can’t sleep so I sit, bleary-eyed, and retrace the day’s events while my body struggles to stay awake. At times, I drive around town with the other night owls and insomniacs. A few years ago, this led me to a Wal-Mart at 1 in the morning where I bought party favors for my daughter’s fourth birthday. As I checked out, I started to grow exceptionally weary (and grouchy) as the older woman at the register worked slowly, taking more time than necessary to handle and scan the pointed party hats, the sound blowers, and the napkins. I could barely stand. I was impatient and about to blow — until she started telling me her story.

“Having a party,” she said softly. “Those are always fun. You know, I haven’t seen my grand-daughter for a few years. I really miss her.”

Nobody else was in line behind me, so she proceeded to tell a story about a young mother who believed her mother-in-law was getting too pushy and about a son who would not defend his mom. This woman said she was probably to blame, but she did not know how to solve the problem. She really missed her little grand-daughter.

I listened for about 10 minutes until somebody else came to the register, someone who was probably buying some late-night snacks or biding time until sleep overcame him as well. I hope the young guy also stopped to listen to this poor woman’s tale. Too often, we forget to listen — especially during interviews.

Journalists gather information through research, interviews and observation. But interviewing might be the most important skill of all. A sports reporter cannot just show up at a game, watch it, and then ask several general questions at the end — unless, of course, the reporter wants to write a story that makes editors’ eyes roll and readers’ eyes glass over. Sports journalists need to be prepared before heading out to a game, or walking over to a practice, or talking with a person for a profile story. We need to do some homework – and then be prepared to ask follow-up questions during the interview sessions.

Below, I have compiled some techniques that can help draw out significant information during your interviews. Consider why are you interviewing your source and what you want to get out of the interview. Hope this helps.

Do the research
Imagine taking a final exam without studying. (Nah, you’ve never done that.) A good interview requires significant research, where you read as much as you can on those you will speak with and on topics you will address. Great questions come from sweat and hard work. They do not come by staring at a blank page, thinking hard, and hoping a muse comes. Read everything related to the topic or the person to see what has been written beforehand in order to focus on the more interesting aspects of the story and to see what has not been covered so you can delve into that. Check newspaper archives and government sources. Also, do some background interviews to gather information. That might mean walking around a campus, speaking with those along the way, or it might mean informally talking with people who know the person you plan to interview.

The research may yield a perspective that is not typically addressed. Stephen Jay Gould, the noted natural historian, for example, adored baseball. That’s a topic that he preferred to speak about than the repeated questions about paleontology. I found out that Don Baylor loved to speak about the art of hitting, as did several other players on the Atlanta Braves. They spoke endlessly about hitting even though they were busy. I had to pull myself from them.

Frame your interview
People like to know why they are answering questions. Put the source at ease by letting them know about the subject matter. “Hi, I’m Joe Gisondi of the Daily Eastern News. We’re trying find out what students feel about some of the issues.” You might also tell them what you want to learn in this interview.

Ask the source to spell his name
This should be the first question, even if you have seen the name printed before. Game programs are especially bad at spellings. Once, we had a student on campus with a name that sounded like Fred. In reality, the student’s name was Phredd and the student was a female. You’ll come across many names that are spelled in varying ways, such as Jon/John, Sarah/Sara, Kristen/Kristin, and Kathy/Cathy.

Question everything
Do not just act as a stenographer, mindlessly scribbling down whatever anybody says. Rather, question anything that is unclear, unfamiliar and unverified. We are reporters first, which means verify everything. In many ways, interviewing is about listening, learning, and adapting.

Don’t ask questions to hear yourself talk
You are not the focus of the story. Don’t tell sources what you think; they don’t care. It’s about them. Bruce Selcraig of Sports Illustrated said, “Experts appreciate that you’ve done your homework and can ask intelligent questions, but they don’t want to hear you talk. Don’t try to impress them. Let them impress you.” You can set up questions, but don’t ask questions to hear yourself speak. Offer concise questions. Basic, simple questions solicit clear, lucid answers to even complex issues.

Get perspective
Interview people outside of the world in which you publish. Find out how the city budget in your town compares to those in other towns. And the budget at your college compares to others. Interview people in other areas so the reader can gain a better perspective on the news events. Speak with coaches and players at other schools. Call athletic directors in other conferences and other states. Ask questions that give the reader a better perspective on the news or the person profiled. Ask yourself, essentially, how does this all affect my readers?

Ask follow-up questions
Coaches say their pitchers threw perfectly, their quarterbacks were off the mark, their runners were fatigued and their teams were stale. But what do all these adjectives mean? Find out how and why the pitcher threw well. Did the pitcher mix it up better, throwing more off-speed pitches on 1-2 counts? Check with the catcher as well. Were the cross country runners tired because a bus broke down, because they ran three races in 10 days? Find out the reasons behind the statements. The follow-up question offers perspective and supplies answers.

Ask tough questions last
especially if you suspect the source will end the interview when you ask the question. That way you can get other information first.

Get specific details
Ask sources to expand on general statements, such as “the stadium was in bad shape.” Were bleacher boards cracking, pipes constantly bursting and rusted nails falling out of walls? Make the source prove his point so you can illustrate ideas to your readers. Details enable you to put the reader at the scene. That’s why you would keep focusing in on specifics when the source is inclined to give you general information. You never know when details will be important.

Tell me a story
Ask sources to tell you something specific. For example, don’t ask, “Why did you do it?” Instead, say “Tell me the reasons you did it.”

Ask sources to define jargon
I’m not an expert on environmental science so I would ask why the water in a lake is tannic and would ask for clarification in terms such as secci disk. That way I can offer information. If you are working on a music story, ask the musicians to describe or define terms such as “baroque” or “repertoire.” What do these mean to the reader? In sports, ask for definitions of sports terms. If you do not know what Fartlek training is, ask the cross country coach to explain it. If you do not know what a nickel package is, ask the football coach. They will appreciate that you want to learn more, that you will want to get it right. If you do not completely understand what the source said, ask him to repeat what he said. For example, if a sources says that music is “actually a textual painting of an artist’s poem,” you will definitely need to ask them how particularly this is so. I’m still perplexed by that quote.

Don’t lead with your questions
“Don’t you think…?” Most people like to be liked and will agree with you that the weather is great. They might answer the exact opposite five minutes later to be liked by another person. Information and response lack credibility.

Don’t act like an expert
You are an expert in journalism, not on the topic being discussed; otherwise, you would be getting interviewed.

Be bold
Call experts and celebrated people to get perspective and information. Call the President. You’ll be amazed how accessible people can be. The worst that can happen is you get stonewalled. The best is a great interview or source in a story. If you are working on an advance on an author, call the New York Times book reviewer or other noted authors in the field.

Be persistent
Keep people talking because you never know what you’ll hear. Plus, people may lower their defenses.

Nearly 10 years ago, tornadoes ravaged Central Florida, killing more than 30 people in the middle of the night. One of my student reporters could not believe the destruction as she walked around a trailer park in Kissimmee that was inundated with reporters and videographers. The woman running the park said she had a ban on reporters and then spoke for about five minutes, concluding that everything was “off the record.”

The reporter politely said she could not do that and cajoled this woman to talk some more. The woman eventually offered the correct spelling of her name before re-emphasizing that “everything was off the record.” Michelle kept the woman talking. Eventually, this woman discussed the loss of her home and her pet in the tornado. She could not have kids so the pet was like a child to her, the woman said. The lady then invited our reporter into the trailer to see her cat, where Michelle could observe this woman more.

The result:
“Joan Thomas bent over and pet her cat Harold, a white-footed calico.”
‘That’s my baby,’ she said, holding the spotted cat over her shoulder.’ ”

Persistence. Patience. Keep people talking in a friendly manner. Let them tell their stories

Ask for stories
Remember asking your parents to tell you a story? Same thing. We all love hearing stories. Ask about the minute details about the setting, clothing, and temperature. And then write this story much more concisely in your own words.

Listen for unexpected turns
A Des Moines Register reporter heard the police chief say he missed a meeting because he was too tired planning the Pope’s visit to town. The reporter did not blurt out: “The Pope’s coming!” Instead, he said, “Oh yeah. Is that next week?” Act like you know new information.

Listen for nuances
Writes Nobel Prize winning author (and former journalist) Gabriel Garcia Marquez: “Today, one has the impression that the interviewer is not listening to what you say, nor does he think it important because he believes that the tape recorder hears everything. But he’s wrong; it doesn’t hear the beating of the heart, which is the most important part of the interview.”

You can ask yes/no questions …
… if you are verifying information. You can also add a follow-up question.

Stay within the subject being addressed …
… unless the source digresses to a more provocative or amusing angle.

Look at body language.
Get sources to unfold arms and be more open. People whose arms are crossed are often uptight or uncomfortable. Before you start asking the more pertinent questions, gab with them for a little while and see if they start uncrossing their arms and opening up. While interviewing, lean in to show you care.

Be confident in the silences
People unaccustomed to speaking to the press may need time to formulate answers. Let them do so. Once in a while, a person might use silence as a weapon by quietly glaring at you after a question is posed. Prod these confrontational sources by saying, “Would you like for me to repeat the question?” Or, you can also say: “Sorry, maybe I did not phrase the question right. Let me try again.”

Don’t try to control the interview
Think of the dialogue as conversation. And be honest with those you interview if you expect them to be honest with you. If they trust you, they may give you information ahead of time, knowing that you will not reveal it too early. But you will be able to do the research before the story breaks.

Don’t make promises you can’t keep
Don’t tell them what the specific angle will be, when the story will be running, or that they can review the story before it is published.

Make a list of unusual questions you can use for profiles and features
• What’s the most bizarre thing you’ve ever seen?
• When did you realize there was no Santa Claus?
• When did you realize life was unfair?
• What’s a perfect day?
• What’s a typical day?

Keep listening as you pause near the front door
Keep the tape recorder rolling. The person interviewed sometimes offer significant stories or details as you or they are leaving. That’s where confessional information is occasionally offered. At this point, sources are more relaxed, thinking the interview is over.

A good journalist can interview and write a decent story on anyone if he does enough work and pays careful attention during interviews. Everybody is worth a story. The woman at Wal-Mart made me think of a line from a favorite poem by Yevtushenko entitled People: “When people die, worlds die with them…the first love, first kiss.” For this reason, people hope to live on by telling their stories, even if that means thousands of people will read about embarrassing or poignant moments. Let’s make sure we treat these stories, and our sources, with the respect and empathy they deserve.

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Develop a sports syllabus that meets your students’ needs

August 13, 2007


You would assume that most students who sign up for a sports reporting class would like sports. That’s not always the case. Sometimes, students sign up for this class in order to fit in another writing course, because they always wanted to learn about sports or because they cannot get into another class. Students who think this will be a blow-off class quickly drop it, mostly because they find the class requires a considerable amount of writing. After all, that is how one learns about reporting and writing — by doing it. (Something that is complemented by assessment and analysis). That is how I set up my syllabus. I do not give tests or quizzes. Each writing assignment is essentially a test on how much students have learned in class.

I also do not assume that even my most senior and experienced students understand all about sports. As a sports editor, I used to read copy from some reporters who did not know enough about the sports they were paid to cover, so I know college students will not know everything either. Fans believe they are experts on all sports when, in fact, very few are. (Head out to a high school football game or Little League game. You’ll see this right away.) That’s why I educate students on as many sports as I can, offering rules, key stats and strategies. In many cases, I invite college coaches and athletic administrators to class, whose expertise into their respective sports surpasses most any sportswriter. The coaches at Eastern Illinois University have always been engaging, informative and prepared. You should check with coaches at your own schools or communities to recruit similar experts. As the instructor, I then integrate this information with the more technical or general ways to cover these sports.

Writing and reacting is the key to any writing course, whether that is Composition I, Intro to News Reporting, or Sportswriting. Encourage your students to report frequently, and be prepared to offer as much feedback as possible.

I have cited my syllabus below but will add a link later so you can read it in its original form. Let me know if I can help anybody in any way. I’d also suggest posting comments below so you can converse with others who are teaching similar courses. Good luck.

SPORTS WRITING
JOU 3706 COURSE SYLLABUS
Fall 2007

PROFESSOR Joe Gisondi
EMAIL jgisondi@gmail.com
OFFICE/HOURS Buzzard Hall, room 1831
MW 11 a.m. – noon
TR 1-2 p.m.
PHONE 581-6016
TEXTS The Associated Press Stylebook and Libel Manual
Best Sports Writing 2007
http://onsportz.blogspot.com

COURSE OBJECTIVES
General Goal: To give students the fundamentals of gathering, organizing, evaluating and writing objective reports in accepted journalistic style and to provide them with an understanding of what a career in journalism entails.

By the conclusion of JOU 3706, students will:
1. Prepare for and conduct an interview to gather facts for a sports news or sports feature story.
2. Take notes effectively in conducting interviews.
3. Organize facts and quotes into the traditional inverted pyramid structure.
4. Create an effective lead that accurately summarizes the story and attracts the reader.
5. Create a lead that grabs readers who already have basic information supplied by other media.
6. Compose stories on a computer using a word-processing program.
7. Explain the basic legal rights of and constraints on the free press: the laws of libel, privacy, and obscenity, Freedom of Information Act and Sunshine laws.
8. Become better editors by recognizing superfluous wordiness including redundancies, pretentious diction, jargon, slang, euphemisms, and editorializing – and how to smoothly and clearly avoid such problems.
9. Recognize the differences in style and organization between journalistic writing and subjective academic rhetoric.
10. Understand the importance of understanding and reporting on diverse populations and of writing for equally diverse readers.
11. Recognize the presence or absence of fundamental News Values and Reader Interests in potential stories.
12. Use reference tools such as dictionary, directories, almanacs, thesaurus, stylebook, atlas, reference and bibliographic databases.
13. Explain the major principles of journalistic ethics as practiced and enunciated by professional news organizations.
14. Learn to look outside the lines for stories that can impact communities.
15. Understand when to write with attitude and when to report just the facts.
16. Develop visual elements that complement sports stories.
17. Plan sports packages on season advances, social issues and individual teams and players.
18. Understand the importance of perspective in stories and sections.

ACADEMIC HONESTY
Plagiarism is the unpardonable sin of journalism, an act that essentially ends a journalist’s career. Check out Janet Cooke and others who have falsified information or taken others work as their own. Plagiarism could also end a student’s career. There is nothing wrong with using information from another source so long as it is clearly credited within the story. If you take a quote or information from another publication, cite it within the story. An assignment determined to be plagiarized will be give a grade of “0” and the responsible student will receive an “F” for the course. Plus, this student will be referred to the appropriate EIU board for discipline. According to the university’s policy, students who plagiarize are eligible for dismissal from EIU.

STUDENTS WITH DISABILITIES

Contact the Office of Disability Services (581-6583) for answers regarding accommodations, auxiliary learning aids and physical accessibility. Diagnostic information regarding the disability must be submitted so the most appropriate accommodations can be arranged. Refer to the Undergraduate Catalog for more information.

ABSENCES & MAKE-UP WORK
Students are expected to be in class on time and remain until the dismissal. Students may not make up quizzes or assignments missed for tardiness or an unexcused absence. If you miss class when an assignment is due, you will receive a “0” for that assignment. When absent, please contact a fellow student to find out what was missed; if important notes were given, please get those from a fellow student. Therefore, it is important for you to become well acquainted with someone in this class. You are responsible for all material covered or assigned during classes.

In addition, cell phones should be turned off before entering class – if you must bring them at all. Ringing phones are rude to the other students trying to concentrate in class. Be responsible and keep them turned off.

ASSIGNMENTS
Name/Points
Game stories (4)/40
Critiques/10
Attendance 10
Column/10
Profile/10
In-depth, enterprise story/20
Total/100

ATTENDANCE – Attendance is essential to your success in this class. This is when we discuss important issues, techniques, and strategies to covering sports. This is also when we critique stories and talk with coaches and other sports professionals. You will lose one percentage point from your overall score for every missed class. The first missed class, though, will not cost you a point.
WEEKLY ASSIGNMENTS – Students are required to cover at least four of the six sporting events scheduled in the syllabus, each of which is worth 10 points. Failure to cover four results in a ‘0’ for each uncovered event. Students covering more than the required number of sports events can substitute these for their lowest graded game stories. All weekly game coverage assignments must be e-mailed to me by 8 a.m. the following day. That means, you would email me your story by 8 a.m. on Wednesday if you had covered a game on Tuesday night. Late assignments will NOT be accepted. So, please, make sure you know how to file and send Word attachments properly.
DEADLINES – Making deadline is essential in journalism. In this class, missing deadline will mean a full letter-grade (10%) will be deducted each day that assignment is missing. Late assignments, those not submitted at the start of class, will also be reduced the full-letter grade. In-class assignments and quizzes may not be made up. All assignments are required to be typed and double-spaced with the proper headings. If they are not typed, they won’t be accepted and will be considered late.
PROFILE STORY – Students are required to develop and write a 500-plus word profile story on someone connected to sports at Eastern Illinois University. This story needs to include at least three excellent primary sources. Make sure you read as much as you can about any person before interviewing him or her – and try to include some observations about this person either on or away from the athletic fields. These stories and observations can reveal another, perhaps unknown side, to the person profiled.
ENTERPRISE STORY – Students will develop an in-depth sports story on a topic directly related to Eastern Illinois University. This story does not have to revolve around EIU athletics, but it should be a story that interests readers in Charleston or on campus. Check with me if you are unsure. The story is due Nov. 30. This in-depth story must be at least 800 words and include a minimum of five excellent primary sources. Failure to meet the length and source requirement will result in a ‘0’ grade for this assignment.

GRADING
A – 90 to 100%
B – 80 to 89.9%
C – 70 to 79.9%
D – 60 to 69.9%
F – below 60%

ELECTRONIC WRITING PORTFOLIO
This course qualifies as a writing-centered course in the Electronic Writing Portfolio (EWP) program. So an assignment from this course may be submitted to the EWP to fulfill part of your graduation requirement, Information is available online at http://www.eiu.edu/~assess

CLASS REVISIONS
This syllabus may be changed at any time during the semester by announcement of the instructor.

SCHEDULE OF ASSIGNMENTS
Aug. 20-24
Monday Overview of class
Review syllabus
Read Sports Guidelines in AP Stylebook
Wednesday Writing sports leads. (Read my posting at
http://onsportz.blogspot.com/2007/06/i-continue-to-hear-editors-and.html
and at http://onsportz.blogspot.com/2007/03/go-long-in-sports-feature-leads.html)

Aug. 27-31
Monday Interviewing, Sources & Using Quotes
(Read my posting on interviewing and using quotes at
http://onsportz.blogspot.com/2007/05/quotes-avoid-cliches-like-plague.html)
Wednesday Keeping score: Compiling the basics for a game story
(Read my posting at
http://onsportz.blogspot.com/2007/04/keeping-score-is-joy-heres-how-to-jump.html)

Sept. 3-7
Monday
Labor Day
Wednesday Covering CROSS COUNTRY
Cross country essentials – rules, statistics, interviewing (Read my posting at
http://onsportz.blogspot.com/2007/02/covering-cross-country.html)
Critique cross country game stories
Guest speaker: EIU coach Geoff Masanet
Story Assignment – Cover EIU Panther Open at 5 p.m. Sept. 14 (Lakeside Field)

Sept. 10-14
Monday Writing game stories: Taking a closer look at how sports events are covered
in print and online
Wednesday Covering RUGBY
Rugby essentials – rules, statistics, interviewing (Read my posting at http://onsportz.blogspot.com/2007/03/rugby-covering-games.html)
Critique rugby game stories
Guest speaker: EIU coach Frank Graziano
Story Assignment – Cover first-ever NCAA rugby match against West Chester at 1:30 p.m. on Sept. 15

Sept. 17-21
Monday Writing profile stories
Read, critique story in Best Sportswriting text. Will be assigned.
Wednesday Covering VOLLEYBALL
Rugby essentials – rules, statistics, interviewing (Read my posting at
http://onsportz.blogspot.com/2007/02/volleyball-covering-games.html)
Critique volleyball stories
Guest speaker: EIU coach Lori Bennett
Story Assignment – Cover volleyball match Sept. 18, 21, or 29

Sept. 24-28
Monday Developing, compiling notebooks
Wednesday Covering FOOTBALL
Football essentials – rules, statistics, interviewing (Read my blog posting at
http://onsportz.blogspot.com)
Critique football game stories
Guest speaker: NFL referee Ken Baker
Story assignment – Cover EIU football vs. E Kentucky at 1:30 p.m., Oct. 6 (O’Brien Stadium)

Oct. 1-5
Monday Online coverage: Writing Blogs and Glogs
Wednesday Covering SOCCER
Soccer essentials – rules, statistics, interviewing (Read my blog posting at
http://onsportz.blogspot.com/2007/03/blog-post.html)
Critique soccer game stories
Guest Speaker: EIU soccer coach Tim Nowak
Story Assignment – Cover women’s soccer match vs. Tenn Tech at 3 p.m., Oct. 5, or the match vs. Austin Peay at 1 p.m., Oct. 7 at Lakeside Field

Oct. 8-12
Monday Developing in-depth stories
Read, critique story in Best Sportswriting text. Will be assigned.
Wednesday Critique Profile Stories

Oct. 15-19
Monday Writing worthy sports columns
Read, critique column in Best Sportswriting text. Will be assigned.
Wednesday Covering the NCAA
Guest Speaker: Dr. Gail Richards
Assignment – Profile story due Oct. 19

Oct. 22-26
Monday Using precise language
Eliminating clichés from your writing
Wednesday Work on in-depth sports story

Oct. 29-Nov. 2
Monday In-depth story updates due. Type summary of your reporting to date that includes people interviewed, key details and angles uncovered through research and visual elements considered. This will enable you to hear suggestions from an editorial group in class. Afterwards, we will address issues related to your in-depth stories with the entire class. Submit this typed report to me at the end of class.
Wednesday Covering BASKETBALL
Basketball essentials – rules, statistics, interviewing (Read my blog posting at
http://onsportz.blogspot.com/2007/02/basketball-covering-games.html)
Critique basketball game stories
Guest speaker: Women’s basketball coach Brady Sallee
Story assignment – Cover women’s basketball game vs. Truman State at 5 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 1 in Lantz
Class assignment – Sports column due Oct. 31

Nov. 5-9
Work on in-depth, enterprise stories that are due Nov. 12

Nov. 12-16
Monday
Critique in-depth stories
Wednesday Critique in-depth stories

Nov. 19-23
Thanksgiving break

Nov. 26-30
Monday
Online sports reporting essentials
Wednesday Covering BASEBALL
Baseball essentials – rules, statistics, interviewing (Read my posting at
http://onsportz.blogspot.com/2007/03/baseball-covering-games.html)
Covering SOFTBALL
Softball essentials – rules, statistics, interviewing (Read my posting at
http://onsportz.blogspot.com/2007/04/softball-covering-games.html)
Guest speaker: EIU coach
Class assignment – In-depth stories due Nov. 30

Dec. 3-7
Monday Covering TRACK & FIELD
Track & Field essentials – rules, statistics, interviewing
(Read my posting at http://onsportz.blogspot.com/2007/04/track-field-covering-meets.html)
Guest speaker: EIU coach
Wednesday Review of sports coverage

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