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High School Sports Writer looking for Feedback/Helpful Criticism

Discussion in 'Writers' Workshop' started by Anthony Y, Dec 17, 2019.

  1. Anthony Y

    Anthony Y New Member

    I appreciate the feedback!
  2. Anthony Y

    Anthony Y New Member

    I appreciate the feedback!
  3. Dan Omlor

    Dan Omlor New Member

    I would urge you to remember that every single person has a story to tell, but most of them are unable to tell their own story. It is thus your job to draw that story out of them and tell it to the world. This includes the little used reserve, the student manager, the assistant coach and the trainer. Remember that student managers like Scottie Pippin suddenly got their growth spurt and became college stars and NBA players. A lot of those "little used reserves" are actually late bloomer who suddenly get their weight, their size, their coordination and their eye late in high school or even in college and become valuable players. Some of the best coaches in the country, including some NBA coaches, were student managers, not players. Adolph Rupp, the greatest coach in the history of the game, and Bobby Knight, certainly one of the greatest, were both reserves on their college teams. So always treat every single character in your local sports world with the utmost respect.

    I would also urge you to begin buying (most local libraries don't stock them) and reading the books on basketball, baseball and football strategies and tactics. You need to know about the various kinds of offenses and defenses and the philosophies on how to run practices, coach games and administer programs.

    You also need to become extremely good with a camera and be able to serve as both reporter and photographer, because on many downsized sports departments, that's what you'll be asked to do.

    Interviewing is a skill. Not many people have it. Sadly, not all Journalists have it. But you need to start studying that skill. Find some books on it and read them. Talk to the editors of your local newspaper for suggestions. I cringe at how many reporters conduct interviews. They ask the wrong questions, do not ask followup questions, don't know how to word questions, etc.

    When you start looking at colleges, look for a college with a School of Journalism. Some colleges offer "majors in Journalism" but do not have accredited Schools of Journalism. A School of Journalism will train you much better and place you in a much better job. The very best Schools of Journalism are at the University of Kansas, the University of Iowa, the University of Wisconsin, Syracuse University, the University of Kentucky, the University of Minnesota, Pem State University and the University of Ohio (not the same as Ohio State). At the Masters level, Columbia University and Northwestern University have the best general Masters in Journalism but the University of Georgia offers the best Masters of Sports Journalism.

    If you're not a player, seriously consider becoming a student manager in one of the three major sports in high school and college. You need the day-by-day, grinding inside knowledge of how teams train and practice, what goes on in pre games, timeouts, halftimes, how game plans are put together, and how coaches deal with various issues. In the Physical Education Department of whatever college you go to, they will offer courses in Football, Basketball and Baseball Coaching, and usually even offer Advanced courses in those categories. Take those courses. For you to be outstanding, you need to know at least as much and often more about the game than the men coaching it.

    EVERY SUMMER you need to be working either as an intern or a seasonal reporter for a newspaper. Right now, that would be your hometown paper. When you're in college, that should be a major daily. What you are doing is building your resume. There are more Journalists and more graduating every year than there are jobs available, so you need extensive job experience and recommendations to get one of those jobs.

    Start now polishing your computer skills. You need to be an expert in Photoshop, Dreamweaver, InDesign, and other programs used to produce online newspapers. By the time you graduate from c0llege, most newspapers, whether big city dailies, small town dailies or small town weeklies, will be online only. The earlier you begin developing proficiency in those programs, the faster your career will progress.

    Diversify. Even now, cover school board meetings, town council meetings, local political campaigns and other types of news. As newspapers downsize, they need flexible reporters. You need to be able to tell an editor that while you may spend most of your time on sports, if he's in a pinch, you can step over and cover a meeting or whatever else he needs.

    Finally, people will tell you Journalism is a dead career. Don't believe them. There will always be a need for News in some form. The best in any field will always find jobs. The best will rise to the top of their field. And while there are hundreds of reporters out there who are really not very good and probably should not be reporters, and they struggle with low pay, the best will always be paid well.

    Good Luck.
    SportsGuyBCK and jlee like this.
  4. Anthony Y

    Anthony Y New Member

    Thank you for the advice and the guiding, I appreciate it a lot.

    I will most definitely be reading more books on basketball and football to get a better understanding of the game, in addition to learning how to be better at interviews.

    I’ve looked into the university of SYRACUSE and I’m currently prepping my test scores to match their requirements so I get in. I’ve heard they have a great sports journalism program and I’ll most likely tour the campus this summer.

    I’m extremely skilled on adobe photoshop and learned how to work in in design last year.

    i agree with what you mean by building my portfolio. Currently I’m working on starting my sports blog called ‘305Sports’, where my staff and I plan on covering the sports in the city of Miami. (Pro, College, and even high school). I want to gain more experience and also fill up my resume so I get a head start over many people.

    Once my resume and portfolio increase in size, I plan on getting a job as a freelance writer for SBNation. I’ve communicated with the staff of one of their blogs “The State of the U”, and thankfully I have received feedback on what I have to do to make it.

    I have one question regarding my portfolio. What do you put on it when applying for a sport writing job? Is there some sort of guidelines or template? I find myself in a hole at times because I don’t know what else to add.

    Thank you!
  5. Dan Omlor

    Dan Omlor New Member

    I would not overload it. No editor has time to spend 30 minutes reading a list of articles. Instead, I would go for quality. I would include one outstanding football, basketball and baseball game story, one outstanding interview, one outstanding background feature, one outstanding Opinion piece and several outstanding photos. Then I would add a note that if he wanted to see more you could forward more. You want a one page cover letter, listing newspapers worked for, schools attended and honors won. Then you want three letters of recommendation from editors you've worked under.
  6. Anthony Y

    Anthony Y New Member

    Got it. Thank you!
  7. Twirling Time

    Twirling Time Well-Known Member


    (Old SJ joke)

    Just kidding! Not a bad story at all.
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