Archive for the ‘Tips: General’ Category

Put final score in all stories

October 19, 2009

Nice lead on Florida’s 23-20 football win over Arkansas by the Independent Alligator. But the final score is not included.

Here are some excuses I’ve heard for leaving it out. But it’s in the mainbar, main graphic, cutline – and, everybody knows the score! That’s ridiculous. Not every reader knows the final result. Online, readers don’t see these print visuals. So insert final scores in every story.

Here are some other stories on the game. (more…)

Use recorder to obtain best quotes

August 31, 2009

When I took Reporting I in my junior year, I never used a recorder because I wanted to be comfortable reporting stories without one. Now, if I’m covering something and I don’t have a recorder, I don’t have to panic because I know I have the skills to get by. This happened to me during my summer internship. I had to cover a women’s junior college basketball all-star game and I’d left my recorder at home.  I had to talk to a lot of people (players, coaches, scouts, etc.) and take hand-written notes, but the story turned out fine.

Whether to use a recorder is one question many students have. I say you should know how to report without one. That being said, once you are working for a paper, the only reason you shouldn’t use one is when your interview subject declines to be recorded.

Reading through the Independent Alligator today I noticed an abundant amount of terrible quotes. Most of them were under ten words. Examples: (more…)

Make the most of your four years

August 26, 2009

I wish I had a time machine so I could do it all over again. Entering my senior year at the University of Florida, I know I’m a little behind the curve and I have ground to make up. I can think of many things I should have done earlier in my college career, but didn’t. So I’m going to share some of those things with you. This will be my blueprint to college success aimed at incoming freshmen who are thinking of being journalism majors. If you are such a freshman then you should be well prepared to find a job after school by following these guidelines.

Introduce yourself to coaches, SIDs

August 25, 2009

First impressions are terribly important. So make a better one by introducing yourself to the coaches and sports information directors you will work with this season – in their offices, not out on the field where they will be working. You would not want people introducing themselves to you on deadline, right?

Keep these conversations off the record. Get to know one another. You can also talk about expectations for the beat, such as best times to speak with players before or after practices, and schedule a weekly meeting for a time to catch up, ask questions about upcoming stories – and even to allow coaches to grieve about coverage (which should be keep off the record).

Or, you can start just by popping in to the office, saying hello, and requesting a time to speak later. Ultimately, this helps both sides see one another as someone other than ‘the coach,’ ‘the reporter,’ or ‘the SID’ – a perspective that should prove helpful to all.


Prep football’s still a game

November 28, 2008

Jere Longman writes that high school football games are more compelling than college ones, perhaps because of the immense support and loyalty shown by the schools’ respective communities. In Thursday’s New York Times, Longman acknowledges that high school sports are not pure. But they are still games to those who play them, he writes.

It’s not that high school football is pure. Far from it. The excesses of recruiting and steroids have trickled down from above along with eye black and end-zone dances. But at the prep level, football exists in an encouraging twilight. It is still a game, not yet a business. It is life lived in the present, players smashing through a banner held by cheerleaders, bursting with the possibility of the moment, not yet circumscribed by the limits and betrayals of the future.

Check it out.

Fans go crazy over ‘second tier’ sports

November 25, 2008
Fans raced to see their favorite runners up close while others watched the race on the large-screen TV set up near the awards podium.

Fans sprinted to see their favorite runners up close Monday at the NCAA Cross Country Championships in Terre Haute, Ind., while others watched the race on the large-screen TV set up near the awards podium.

Oregon’s Galen Rupp, who trailed for the first 5 kilometers, outkicked Liberty’s Sam Chelanga in the final 200 meters to win his first NCAA Cross Country Championship on Monday in Terre Haute, Ind., finishing the 10K race in 29 minutes, 3.2 seconds.

And Texas Tech’s Sally Kipyego held off two challengers to win an unprecedented third straight women’s title, clocking in at 19:28.1 for the 6K race on a cold and blustery afternoon.

Meanwhile, in Louisville on Sunday, Maryland defeated Wake Forest 4-2 to capture its third NCAA field hockey title in four years.

Neither championship received much attention from the mainstream press. (more…)

Spiraling economy hurting pro, college and prep sports

November 15, 2008

The economy (try not to say ‘recession’ too loudly) is starting to have an impact on professional, college and prep sports. You may want to see how tumbling stocks, reduced advertising budgets, and cut state appropriations are going to affect your own university or county sports programs.

Here are three stories on this growing problem.

High school sports are getting hammered just like the auto, insurance, banking – and, seemingly, every other industry, says Orlando Sentinel sports columnist David Whitley.

The poor economy has hit NASCAR and a major cycling event, according to the New York Times.

College administrators are worried that boosters, hurt by a spiraling economy, may abandon university sports programs.


Intramurals is a great beat

November 13, 2008

The Daily Iowan proves that you can fire off interesting stories away from the so-called major beats. Yes, readers clearly want to know whether the Hawkeyes can focus on Purdue a week after upsetting No. 1 Penn State. But readers may be more impressed by another story – on injuries during intramurals, a beat that is usually ignored or covered superficially. Kudos to the Iowan staff for digging into sports activities that can sometimes attract more fans than some NCAA games. I’ve heard the deafening cheers in our rec center at key volleyball and basketball intramural games during which hundreds of students are packed tightly around the courts. The Daily Iowan realized this, covering the story just like any other beat (and they included a video package on a player who tore his ACL playing flag football). Excellent.


Southern Cal doesn’t offer cross-country scholarships? That’s hardly a shocker

November 9, 2008

Southern Cal spent $76 million on its athletic programs last season, a total that includes expenses related to travel, scholarships and equipment, among other things. The university spent more than $20 million on its football team, the only sport at USC that generated a net profit last year. Few teams generate a net profit – even at a larger, successful program like Southern Cal’s, despite what most people will have you believe. But that’s okay. Neither academic nor athletic programs are developed to generate income. Education is a university’s mission. Yet, sometimes a disparity, or inequity, is worth noting. Last week, the Daily Trojan revealed that the women’s cross country team does not have any scholarships. Instead, the team relies on walk-ons and track runners. The story does not dive into this inequity, nor does it offer specific reasons behind the team’s relative success against Pac-10 rivals, but the story does offer enough information to make you wonder how a varsity team at a major athletic university can get slighted like this.


Lacrosse continues to grow

October 24, 2008

Lacrosse, historically a sport played more in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast, continues to expand. Last night, lacrosse was sanctioned as a high school sport for both boys and girls in South Carolina, the 19th state to do so. North Carolina may soon follow suit, showing the growing popularity of the sport. Roughly 60 mens and 90 womens teams already compete at the NCAA Division I level. In South Carolina, lacrosse will be played from January to April. I recall the meteoric growth of this sport while living in Central Florida. Brian Logue, director of communications for US Lacrosse, says lacrosse’s popularity continues to soar in Florida, Texas and Colorado. You may want to learn more about lacrosse because, odds are, you may be covering it sometime in the future. As with any sport, do not attempt to get too technical in your coverage, mostly because your readers may not know the esoteric terms either. I’d speak with a coach before heading out to cover a game for an informal lesson on how lacrosse is played. That’s good advice for any sport you have never played, really.