Posts Tagged ‘college journalism’

‘Field Guide’ offers advice from 70 sports journalists

December 28, 2009

More than 70 sports reporters, bloggers, and editors, along with 20 coaches, contributed to the Field Guide.

Here’s the cover to the Field Guide To Covering Sports, a sports reporting book that will be published by CQ Press the first week in February. More than 70 sports journalists and 20 coaches contributed to the Field Guide. This book focuses on ways to prepare, observe, interview and write about 20 different sports – everything from auto racing to field hockey to rowing to wrestling. Besides these chapters, the book also offers chapters on writing game stories, writing sports features, covering high school sports, writing blogs, interviewing, and covering fantasy sports, among others.  Will Leitch wrote the foreward. I’ll post a Table of Contents in the next few weeks as the final pages are sent my way.



Crimson White, Daily Texan blitz coverage

December 5, 2009

The Crimson White produced a terrific publication previewing today's SEC title game.

So what are college newspapers saying about three big games set for kickoff today?

Florida vs. Alabama

The Independent Alligator offers a story that is filled mostly with overview and background. The ‘Gator also includes several columns along with a podcast where football writers preview the SEC Championship game. Decent content. But nothing spectacular for a game promoted as ‘the game of the millennium’ on the podcast. Columnist Mike McCall says he’s pulling for several teams (Texas Christian, Boise State and Cincinnati) to win so there will be added pressure on college football officials to create a playoff system. Good luck convincing those greedy, self-serving league officials to change the system, Mike, but keep trying.


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…)

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.


Duke routs Wake off the court

January 29, 2009

Psst. Did you hear? Wake Forest stunned No. 1 Duke last night on a last-second shot that is sure to be repeated on ESPN and local TV channels for days. (Not that the college newspaper wants you to know.)


No excuses. File gamers online.

January 28, 2009

Our college news publication is no different than any other. Advertising has slowed considerably, causing the Daily Eastern News to reduce its pages to eight several days each week, a situation that rankled a few ambitious sports editors accustomed to filling three-plus pages a day.

A week ago, the associate sports editor told me they were going to file only a game story on the men’s basketball game. Stop thinking you’re just a print publication, I said. File a side bar online.

Yesterday, I asked why we had not covered a weekend track and field event. No space. Did I mention that online option? He gets it now. I hope. He’s a sharp kid who has helped develop a daily sports blog. Still, I wonder when college journalists (and some pros) will accept the print edition is just one of the ways we present news.

Most college newspapers will stop printing a daily paper edition sooner than later. (more…)

No new media skills? Perhaps, no job.

November 19, 2008

NBA teams rely on new media to inform, and attract, fans. So do franchises in the NFL, MLB and NHL.

ESPN, CBS, the New York Times, and the Chicago Tribune are also creating websites for everything from prep to professional sports to inform, and attract, readers. Some newspapers offer niche publications connected to their main news sites, like the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s website just for Packers Fans. And Florida Today has a popular site that covers Little League baseball in Brevard County.

So why are you not presenting sports news from your campus in more than one (print) platform. Because it makes you feel uncomfortable? Because you do not know how to do it? Because you always wanted to write for a print publication? Because you do not want to get a job when you graduate? (more…)

College SIDs, newspapers clashing over access to players

October 23, 2008

Before Sarah Jones can interview an athlete at Fairleigh Dickinson University, she must contact the athletic department and let them know about the scheduled meeting. As sports editor of the Equinox, Jones is required to cite the date, time and place where she will interview the player.

At the University of Texas in Austin, reporters are usually limited to speaking with athletes brought to press conferences after basketball and football games. During this time, sports information associates may even tell players: “You don’t have to answer that.”

More and more, sports information directors are trying to control access to players and coaches, requiring journalists to schedule interviews through their offices in what the SID at Baylor calls “hard-and-fast rules.”


Explaining those tasty blocks

October 21, 2008

Kris Knowlton focuses on an aspect of football in the Daily Nebraskan that is not familiar to all fans – the pancake block (as opposed to cockroach and rodeo blocks.) The pancake is essentially a block where the opponent is forcefully knocked back and flattened like a Bisquick flapjack. Blocks like this give line coaches warm fuzzies.

When writing stories about unfamiliar topics, take extra time to clearly describe, or define, them. Even better, break down plays like the pancake block. How does one execute this block? You can ask someone to explain the technique for readers. The best resource for this? Coaches who know far more about football than players or reporters. Asking coaches to break down technical aspects of their sports serves several purposes. First, it educates a reporter who can then better explain to fans. Second, it can initiate a wonderful conversation with a regular source on your beat. Third, these stories can be further developed into multimedia presentations – perhaps, a video showing a pancake block executed perfectly (and which can even be narrated by an offensive line coach.)