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Feedback on first college article

Discussion in 'Writers' Workshop' started by coreybodden, Aug 6, 2012.

  1. coreybodden

    coreybodden New Member

    I'm in the middle of writing my first article for The Parthenon, Marshall Universty's student paper. My article is essentially about current head football coach Doc Holliday (hired in Dec.2009, assistant head coach at WVU before MU, known as a recruiter in CFB) and his recruiting efforts compared to his predecessor Mark Snyder (current DC at Texas A&M and MU head coach 2005-2009). I'm interested to get some feedback and see what everyone thinks of my first college artice. I'm in the process of fixing grammatical mistakes, so if you see one and want to do so feel free to point it out. Hope you guys/ladies enjoy it!

    Corey Bodden

    “He's a premiere recruiter in college football and once you put all that together you've got a recipe for a good hire."
    Marshall athletic director Mike Hamrick said it best when he introduced Doc Holliday as the 29th head football coach at Marshall on Dec. 17, 2009.
    He has certainly lived up to his hype as his first three recruiting classes already trump his predecessor Mark Snyder’s four recruiting classes in terms of numbers and averages.
    From 2006-2009 Snyder’s recruiting classes averaged 74th best in the nation with a 2.23 star average while having 28 athletes commit who were rated as three-star (out of five) players coming out of high school according to Rivals.com.
    Snyder’s classes included three-star defensive lineman Mario Harvey who accumulated 420 tackles and 23.5 sacks as a three-year starter, three-star tight end Cody Slate who racked up 1,935 receiving yards and 17 touchdowns as a member of the Herd and three-star running back Darius Marshall who rushed for 2,857 yards and added on 19 rushing touchdowns.
    Holliday has countered with his three classes (2010-2012) which boast an average of 64th best in the country with a star average of 2.52.
    Holliday’s classes, in terms of rankings and star average, are not significantly better than Snyder’s. However, the quality of the incoming players is where Holliday easily outshines Snyder.
    In four years Snyder signed 28 players who claimed three-star status by Rivals.com. Holliday has signed 36 in just three years. He has also added two four-star players.
    The eight player differential in three-star players signed can be a major factor in a team’s depth and talent. Three-star athletes are those who according to ESPN “show flashes of dominance, but not on a consistent basis.”
    Sophomore quarterback and former three-star Rakeem Cato has been the star of Holliday’s three classes.
    As a true freshman Cato passed for 2,059 passing yards and threw 15 touchdowns in 13 games, while starting nine of them.
    Two other three-star members of Holliday’s 2011 class contributed as true freshman.
    Tight end Eric Frohnapfel caught nine passes for 68 yards in one touchdown in thirteen games played (started three). Linebacker Jermaine Holmes racked up 26 tackles in 13 games, while starting eight.
    Junior linebacker Trevor Black and three-star member of Holliday’s 2010 recruiting class has 43 tackles and one sack in his two years with the Herd.
    Though Holliday has not hit a homerun with as many players as Snyder did the overall quality of Holliday’s classes should show in the long run.
    According to Rivals.com, Snyder had 105 players commit to Marshall. Only 35 of them could claim at least one offer from a BCS school. That leads to a woeful 33.98 percentage.
    Holliday has gained commitments from only 71 players. But, in one less year 36 of those commitments could claim an offer from one or more BCS schools and a much better percentage of 50.7 percent.
    In three short years Holliday has brought in more talent on paper than Snyder did in four. Of course the talent needs to be developed before any fan can see the results of Holliday’s hard work.
    If Holliday can keep up this pace Marshall football will have a very bright future.
  2. coreybodden

    coreybodden New Member

  3. KYSportsWriter

    KYSportsWriter Well-Known Member

    Dude, chill.
  4. Stitch

    Stitch Active Member

    You have a story on a coach and don't mention his record? Who cares about recruiting rankings?

    It also helps if you talk to people instead of writing facts that can be found in a few minutes on Google.
  5. coreybodden

    coreybodden New Member

    My bad copied wrong version. Had the records in the other one. And you'd be surprised by how many people care about recruiting. Just check the major sites (ESPN, Rivals, Scout, 24/7) and see the amount of people who discuss this type of info.

    It's a just a column comparing the two. Not much quotes could be added. And I was told the coach wouldnt say much. Hence it being a column type. Should have changed title.
  6. flexmaster33

    flexmaster33 Well-Known Member

    First off, you're posting on a professional message board here, so we're going to give you real feedback, not just what you want to hear.

    My first major red flag is who did you interview for this story? There are no quotes, other than the one you use as a lede and it sounds pulled from a 3-year-old press release. That's a major no-no in journalism. At least half your time spent on a story should be spent observing (watching the game) or interviewing multiple subjects for the story. You should have at least called the coach, probably the past coach, the MU athletic director, talk to some players. Stitch is 100-percent correct...any booster could find your pile of stats with enough web searching.

    Second red flag, is that your story is piled with stats and it sucks the life out of your subject. A common beginner's mistake. Better to choose the most hard-hitting facts and stick to those, rather than overwhelming the reader with so much Scoreboard type. If you feel you really must include all those stats on players, etc, you're better off to get in touch with your graphics department (or learn it yourself) and break those out into a separate eye-catching graphic of some sort. More people will read it and it will de-gunk your story.

    The main one is the no quotes/no interview thing though...that's Journalism 101.
  7. flexmaster33

    flexmaster33 Well-Known Member

    Post a real story when you have one...save the column junk for your personal blog.

    And if I had a dime for every time someone else told me "he won't talk to you", I'd be a rich man. If you're entering this profession, it's going to be your job to talk to people...many people, every day. College is a great place to learn those skills and practice it yourself. And maybe, there's a reason the coach won't talk to your buddy/co-worker, that shouldn't stop you from introducing yourself — appearance and respect go a long way in making a first impression.
  8. Stitch

    Stitch Active Member

    If you cover the football team, you'll have to meet the coach sometime. Wear a nice shirt and slacks for that first meeting. Shave and comb your hair, and leave the hat and sunglasses at home. And don't ever wear something with a team logo on it when you're out covering a story.
  9. HookEm2014

    HookEm2014 Member

    Hey Corey,

    First, I'd like to say I liked the amount of statistic research you put into this article. But as the others echoed, too many stats can weigh down an article, and that's the case here. It was a bit tough to get through at points because of this, and your voice was never really allowed to shine through.

    And as the others have said, reporting is a must. Quotes bring a personal element to a story that's essential, and when your writing a feature, like you seemed to be doing here, you have to have other peoples thoughts (and his own words) on the subject.

    Also, pet peeve of mine, but never put a quote as your first sentence. It's frowned upon in journalism in most cases.

    But, keep at it, and over time you'll be surprised with how much you've improved.
  10. STLwriter

    STLwriter Member

    Don't ever start a story with a quote. Ever.
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