Those of you that know me or follow me here or on Facebook know that one of my favorite websites is Joe Gisondi’s blog, Sports Field Guide. Gisondi, a journalism instructor at Eastern Illinois University, give solid, practical tips for practicing sports journalism.
In a post this week, Gisondi urges sports writers to do more than just the same, tired gamers and cover sports like a reporter:
Why the dirth of non-game coverage? Habit. Laziness. Lack of imagination. Probably a little of each. To be fair, sports journalism newbies lack the perspective and context to drive these off-the-field stories. As a result, student media advisers and journalism professors need to guide students away from exclusively covering games and to be sports reporters.
Gisondi links to a story in the Indiana Daily Student as a sterling example. The story is about coaches wives, and the writer, Stephanie Kuzydym, really nails it.
Think about this honestly, Missouri college journalists. What stories win the sportswriting awards every year? They aren’t gamers. In fact the entry guidelines ask you to AVOID entering game stories. They are stories about people and the unusual. They are investigative or analytical. And they show good legwork and interviewing skills drive good writing.
Kathleen Barbosa does a nice job of this kind of story in The Index at Truman State University. Barbosa is listed as the feature editor on the Index website, but she might get called up front at MCMA in April for this piece on the three men who are managers for the Bulldogs’ women’s basketball team. And she will likely get the award in Sportswriting.