1. Welcome to SportsJournalists.com, a friendly forum for discussing all things sports and journalism.

    Your voice is missing! You will need to register for a free account to get access to the following site features:
    • Reply to discussions and create your own threads.
    • Access to private conversations with other members.
    • Fewer ads.

    We hope to see you as a part of our community soon!

What to avoid when writing:

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by subhead, Jan 23, 2007.

  1. Don't you know that language stopped evolving when the guy in charge got out of college?
  2. Smallpotatoes

    Smallpotatoes Well-Known Member

    Don't put the record before the score.
    Don't use "by the score of"
    Don't use the term "head coach" unless you're also talking about an assistant coach in the story.
  3. dawgpounddiehard

    dawgpounddiehard Active Member

  4. crimsonace

    crimsonace Well-Known Member

    NEVER mention a nickname before the school name in a prep story.
    (Example lede: The Cougars were struggling in the closing minutes ...).

    And ALWAYS mention what sport you're covering somewhere in the first few grafs of the story, even if the pictures make it obvious. Especially in a prep story.
  5. Dale Cooper

    Dale Cooper Member

    If two schools are arch rivals, everyone reading the story knows that. Barring unique circumstances, the most mention you should give to it is "UCLA defeated rival USC 88-84."
  6. sportschick

    sportschick Active Member

    Use of the words plated, walk-off or dimes (when used to refer to assists) can cost you limbs if you work with me.

    Also, it should be after instead of following in most instances.
  7. Photographer

    Photographer New Member

    Funny story - The new sports editor/reporter for the weekly didn't get the score of the big game before he left. So he decided to jump over to the daily web site and grab final score. The daily paper has a headline and a 2 sentence blurb on the main sports web page. (You click "more" for the full story.)

    The daily used the score of a game 2 months before first (It was clear it was the previous meetings score if you read it.) Of course the weekly sports editor/reporter didn't read and just assumed the score was from the big game he covered. Opps! The wrong score went out to 40,000 readers and was never caught. ::)
  8. Twoback

    Twoback Active Member

    On one-sentence paragraphs, I agree with Bob Ryan. If you use one for effect, fine. If you use them time after time after time in the same column, it's because you've got nothing to say and you don't know how to build a coherent stream of thought.
  9. slappy4428

    slappy4428 Active Member

    Avoid putting any dual numbers before the final score; "Down by five with three seconds left" as opposed to "Down 72-67 with three seconds left"
  10. Smallpotatoes

    Smallpotatoes Well-Known Member

    While Podunk High is a proper noun, The Swimming Team is not.
    On second reference, it's Smith, not Coach Smith (unless there's a player on the team with the same last name).
    We're not writing a court document here, folks. No need to be so formal.
  11. moonlight

    moonlight Member

    There's a guy I used to work with who used the sport as a modifier and it drove me fucking crazy.
    He'd write something like: "East outscored West, 72-65, for a section 2 girls' basketball victory on Friday."

  12. Sportsgal25

    Sportsgal25 New Member

    I agree with everyone threatening physical harm for the use of sports lingo such as "plated", "bomb", etc. This is probably a given, but I also think reporters should stay away from the use of description words such as "terrible", "great", "suspenseful" and the like. Readers don't need to be told a game was great, they want to read <i>why</i> and be able to formulate their own opinions.

    Maybe this is just a personal issue, but my eyes bleed every time I see the words "hero(es)", "heartbreaker(ing)" and "tragic" as well. Soldiers are heroes, not point guards who make a game-saving basket. 9/11 was heartbreaking, not a loss to a cross-town rival. But again, maybe that's just me.

    Also, a good rule when trying to trim down stories is to go back and take out all "that"s in the article. The word "that" is almost never necessary, and can be done away with to make room for an extra "heartbreaker" or two. :)
Draft saved Draft deleted

Share This Page