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Thoughts on a "media relations" piece

Discussion in 'Writers' Workshop' started by crimsongolfer, Mar 21, 2007.

  1. crimsongolfer

    crimsongolfer New Member

    Alright guys, I'm a 20-year-old sophomore working in the media relations office at the University of Alabama as a features writer. I recently discovered that there seemed to be a pretty large proportion of Kenyans on the track team, and ran with it. This came out of it:


    I'd love to get some thoughts or opinions. Thanks-
  2. Monday Morning Sportswriter

    Monday Morning Sportswriter Well-Known Member

  3. I'll try to be a little more helpful than MMSW.

    1) - It's way too long.

    2) - There are some grammar problems in it. Although you likely have a better grasp of the language than most of your college classmates, you still need work to get to a professional level. Take a writing course at college.

    3) - If you have any self-respect (or desire to work as a journalist) move away from the dark side. SIDs = Evil lying liars.

    4) - Keep at it. I can see potential in this piece.
  4. crimsongolfer

    crimsongolfer New Member

    Thanks for the constructive criticism. I agree on the length...it got a little out of hand, but there was so much that could be done with it. Besides, I was tired of writing 300-400 word write-ups on the women's basketball team.

    I would appreciate a little direction on the grammar problems you mentioned, as well.

  5. spnited

    spnited Active Member

    I didn't see a lot of grammar problems but the length was a problem.
    Too much background on what (you read) Kenya is like. Better to keep the focus on the runners and thier adjustment to Alabama than tel me about Kenya's climate.

    There was a lot of good here, it just needed some serious tightening and some grammatical fixes.
  6. crimsongolfer

    crimsongolfer New Member

    Most of the information I received on Kenya came from personal interviews with the coach and runners, and the bulk of "research" that I did applied primarily to the tribal system. The problem with the article was that I would be at a good point in the information to put it all together, then I would learn something huge, like Kenya never gets any warmer than 70 degrees, or all these guys are still in tribes. It was hard to discern what to put in and what to take out. I decided that, since every runner I talked to immediately referenced the fact that Alabama was scorching hot compared to what they are used to, that that plays a huge role in adjusting as a runner, and I felt it needed emphasis.

    Thanks for the advice, as always...anything is welcome.
  7. musicman

    musicman Member

    Keep writing long, keep making mistakes and learn from it. If you care, and it seems like you do, you'll figure it out. The fact you've got the sack to ask for honest feedback and put yourself out there means a lot.
  8. Freelance Hack

    Freelance Hack Active Member

    There are more good SIDs then there are bad reporters, and there are plenty of bad reporters out there.
  9. friend of the friendless

    friend of the friendless Active Member

    Mr Golfer,

    My very quick take:

    I like more than I dislike what I read in this story. If you're in school, please take heart from that.

    Your lead: It's probably the right scene to lead with and it comes very close to coming off. It would be nice to get inside the guy's head a bit more. What was he thinking? How anxious was he? It doesn't have to be a quote. A little more detail as well. Did he have a single bag? What was the last thing he ate? (Can imagine that he might have passed up on the meal in flight.) A greater sense of isolation/desperation would be good. You could up the wordplay. (Hey, I'm of a certain vintage and it's been done to death, but this is the classic example of the loneliness of the long-distance runner.)

    Other stuff: It's nice to have the recruiting side laid out, but "inundated" isn't the right word for three or four emails a week. The coach "fields" that many emails--and are any of those repeaters? To say that he hears from 200 or 300 or 400 Kenyans a season might be a better indicator. In fact, the way you set it up tends to soft-sell the situation.

    A bit of history about Kenyan (and other foreign) runners coming to the US would be good. Henry Rono was at Washington State (I think) when he was the dominant guy back in the 70s. I presume he was the first big name from Kenya--and that Kenyans were running in the tracks first pounded by Irish guys going to Villanova--something like that. How many NCAA titles do Kenyan runners have.

    I'd like a bit more of the voice of the Kenyans in the sociology section of the piece. Maybe even a professor on campus who specializes in the culture and politics of the country. And maybe a voice or two of an alum who has gone back to Kenya on how more runners are finding their way to the US. Simply, a little more reporting would do the trick.

    I don't think the piece is too long at all--what I do think is that with more reporting you could more than justify the length.

    YHS, etc
  10. I'm sure there are so...sorry. I guess.

    I've spent enough time on the news side (covering politics) to have developed a complete and utter distrust of flacks. SIDs generally deal in good news (and flacks love to get the good news out), but deal with one when the crap’s hitting the fan at the AC and....a flack is a flack is a flack.
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