Fans (like this) shred poor reporting

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Yes, what I’m about to show comes from what appears to be a biased blog, but that doesn’t mean the writer is not correct – that journalists should verify everything.

As sports journalists, we are not nearly as expert on the games we cover as the coaches who pore over game film, study strategy, and teach skills in practices. At games, our job is to find the most compelling story and interview those involved. Sure, some reporters, like a Bob Ryan or a Jim O’Connell in basketball and a Peter Gammons in baseball, can become experts after spending years covering their respective sports. But most of us are storytellers who may know more than the average fan. We know far more how to report, interview, and observe.

Don’t pontificate, don’t try to be hip. Be a reporter, a writer – a journalist. Check out this Duke blogger’s assessment of CNNSI Nina Mandell who analyzes the Duke-Wake Forest men’s basketball game played two nights ago. (And then imagine how readers break down our game stories.)

If you want to learn more about the games, sit down with coaches for off-the-record conversations. Ask about strategy. Ask about the team. Ask if you can sit in on a film sessions. That’s how you learn. (And that’s how you build trust and mutual respect.)

Coaching ain’t easy. And doing it well is even more difficult – sort of like journalism, right? So halt the glib comments and unconfirmed attacks. Stick to the facts and tell good stories.

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