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!

Which March Madness game story is the best-written? Judge for yourself.

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Alma, Mar 23, 2007.


Which of these five stories best tell the story of Memphis-Taxas A&M thriller?

  1. Brent Zwerneman, SA Express-News

    4 vote(s)
  2. Terrence Harris, Houston Chronicle

    1 vote(s)
  3. Jeff Caplan, FW Star-Telegram

    1 vote(s)
  4. Rachel Cohen, Dallas Morning News

    14 vote(s)
  5. Dan Wolken, Commercial-Appeal

    9 vote(s)
  1. Bullwinkle

    Bullwinkle Member

    From the Chron story:

    SAN ANTONIO — In a game with so many historical implications, Texas A&M's first Sweet 16 appearance in 27 years Thursday night came down to the most basic fundamentals: rebounding and converting layups.


    It's accurate, sure, but does it really draw you in? It seemed too easy, but maybe that's the way to go.
    Better to be creative? -- or just hit the nuts and bolts from the onset and get on with it?
  2. Mystery_Meat

    Mystery_Meat Guest

    Something we don't know, or at least I don't know, is when their copy deadlines were. It's possible the San Antonio deadline was 30 or 45 minutes earlier than the other stories here. I had the same thoughts about the SA lead, but he may have had less time to put it together, making this a comparison of Gala apples and Granny Smith apples.
  3. Almost_Famous

    Almost_Famous Active Member

    I'd say the first and third were clearly a cut above. The first was probably the best. FWIW, I dont know any of these guys.

    I didn't mention the other three because i couldn't get past about the sixth paragraph.

    (had skipped over previous comments, so not to be influenced, now going back to read)
  4. Mystery_Meat

    Mystery_Meat Guest

    If the Commercial-Appeal beater gets a column, does he call it Wolken in Memphis?

    Now back to the discussion.
  5. Almost_Famous

    Almost_Famous Active Member

    Xan - on the MySanAntonio link, you have to read 10 paragraphs before learning about the free throws by the terrible foul shooter, or the missed layup by Acie Law. Please tell me you're kidding.
  6. Songbird

    Songbird Well-Known Member

    1) Slappy, you're awesome (Rachel Ray's vernacular is on my mind, apparently). I figured out the high-techery. Thanks.

    2) Almost Famous ... upon a second perusing I wasn't as impressed as I thought I was. What I really wanted to read was more passion without the syrup. I think in my second post on this thread I backpedaled on my original post and cited the Chron article for holding my attention better from the get-go.
  7. Almost_Famous

    Almost_Famous Active Member


    why are you writing without adjectives?
  8. Songbird

    Songbird Well-Known Member

    Work for an editor who thinks you don't need adjectives. I might throw one in there every so often, but for a few years now I've been trying to tighten my writing, to make every word count. It's made a difference.
  9. I liked Cohen's combo-platter lead. It cut to the chase the fastest and got the two critical elements of the game in two tidy sentences. Didn't like the San Antonio story as much -- the anecdote backed into a story of a game that was pretty exciting.

    I didn't like the NYT's lead on the game at all. Breaks one of the cardinal rules of game-story writing:

    SAN ANTONIO, March 22 — A 64.4 percent free-throw shooter this season, Memphis guard Antonio Anderson stepped to the line Thursday night with 3.1 seconds left for the most important foul shots of his college career.

    With more than 26,000 fans cheering wildly and his team trailing Texas A&M by 64-63 in the semifinals of the N.C.A.A. tournament’s South Regional, he took a deep breath and swished the first shot. The Aggies then called timeout in an attempt to unnerve Anderson, a sophomore who had scored 3 points in 29 minutes, had missed three of his previous four attempts from the line and had taken fewer than 90 free throws this season.
  10. Bullwinkle

    Bullwinkle Member

    [Mystery Meat ducks out of the way of tomatoes ...]
  11. jaredk

    jaredk Member

    All are weak.

    DMN the least weak. Been better if the 3d graf was the lede, and the first 2 grafs had names attached to the second-reference allusions.

    Houston totally confusing in its body.

    Memphis ignores the drama of a bad free throw shooter at the line. The lede anecdote would have been wonderful with another phrase or two explaining the circumstance.

    Fort Worth has the score buried. Yuck.

    SA's lede could've been written before the game, always a cardinal sin.

    (Speaking of cardinal sins, Ike B, what sin did the NYT commit? Read OK to me if you like narrative ledes on game stories. I'm so old school I want the score in the lede as part of a dramatic intro to the game narrative -- which is far, far harder thing to do, by the way, than backing into it.)
  12. joe king

    joe king Active Member

    I've tried to post this twice before and it disappeared for various reasons. So here goes one more time (with feeling).

    Give me the Dallas story, please. It's the only one that leads with the most jarring and important points of the wild finish -- the missed layup by Acie Law, hailed as Captain Clutch, and Memphis' four offensive rebounds before the winning free throws. She gets into the story quickly and touches on the pertinent issues. Not great, but clearly the best of these.

    The Fort Worth story leads with the wrong sequence. Once Memphis took the lead, A&M was going to need a near-miraculous shot to win. That's not when the game was won and lost. If he wanted to open the story with a slice of game action, he should have used the critical moments of the game, when, with a one-point lead and less than a minute to go, Law misses the layup and on the other end, Memphis gets all the rebounds leading to the final shots. Plus, it took him forever to get to the score. Tough to slog through this one.

    Houston's lede was kind of bland and very nuts and bolts, and the first quote, from Gillispie was horrendous -- it shouldn't have made the paper. Don't use a quote just to have a quote. It needs to say something or advance the story, and that one did neither. Other than that, he told the story rather efficiently, and the Kavaliauskas quotes were pretty good.

    I agree the San Antonio story was overwritten in places -- he lost me at ``hustle, zest and zing'' -- and it also took too long to get into it. The early part of it almost read like it was written from the Memphis angle rather than the A&M perspective. I'm not a big fan of the lede, but I guess it was OK.

    The lede to the Memphis story was too long. Use either the Andre Allen quote or the Calipari quote, but not both. They say about the same thing anyway. The rest was OK, though like others here, I had trouble with the clumsy ``And here's how it went down'' construction.

    OK, then. My final ranking:

    1. Dallas
    2. Memphis
    3. Houston
    4. San Antonio
    5. Fort Worth
Draft saved Draft deleted

Share This Page