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(Sports) Journalism 101. The Most Basic Basics Sports Journalism in the Internet Age Tufts - Ex-College - Fall 2010 Week 2. Journalism Basics. Journalistic writing differs from academic writing.

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sports journalism 101

(Sports) Journalism 101

The Most Basic Basics

Sports Journalism in the Internet Age

Tufts - Ex-College - Fall 2010

Week 2

journalism basics
Journalism Basics
  • Journalistic writing differs from academic writing.
  • In journalism, it is not about using a lot of big words and flowery language to impress people. Journalism should be easy to read and follow.
  • Longer does not automatically equal better.
  • Most newspapers are written at a high-school reading level.
  • Lede – the introduction of a story. The first few grafs. This is what sets a story up and pulls readers in. Sometimes, written “lead.”
  • Graf – paragraph.
  • Nut graf – the graf or grafs that sum up what the purpose of the story is. Why it’s being told. What the information the writer is trying to convey.
  • Copy – the written text of a story.
types of ledes
Types of Ledes
  • Hard lede – Straightforward. Gets to the information in right away. Often referred to as AP lede because almost all AP stories have hard ledes.
  • Anecdotal lede – Sets the piece up with a short story.
  • Scene-setter – Sets the scene.
  • Question lede – Opens by posing/asking a question.
types of ledes to avoid
Types of Ledes to Avoid
  • Quote lede – Opens with a quote.
  • Buried lede – when the engaging part of a story, the part the writer probably should have started with, is further down in the piece, or “buried” in the article.
types of stories
Types of Stories
  • Hard news stories – breaking news of the day. Very timely. Not a lot of room for creativity. No opinion. This is often the standard news story you would expect to see on the front page.
  • Game/event stories.
  • Features – less time-sensitive than hard news stories. Can be tied to an event in terms of timeliness or can be completely timeless.
  • Columns – Opinion pieces.
some journalism basics
Some Journalism Basics
  • Do not miss deadline. Ever. Ever. EVER.
  • Always check spelling of names, teams, places, etc. Then check them again.
  • With the invention of spell check, there’s no excuse for having words spelled wrong.
  • Never trust your memory for facts. Confirm that information. Double-check stats.
some journalism basics9
Some Journalism Basics
  • Clean copy will make you an editor’s favorite writer.
  • Do not use three words when one will do.
    • Closer Dave Simms was able to put the game away.
    • Closer Dave Simms put the game away.
    • Bennett pitched seven innings of shutout ball.
    • Bennett pitched seven shutout innings.
some journalism basics10
Some Journalism Basics
  • Some things will be obvious by context.
    • The Spartans beat the Trojans 3-0 in the game on Wednesday night.
    • The Spartans beat the Trojans 3-0 on Wednesday night.
    • Sea City pitcher Phil Bennett struck out four Tucson batters.
    • Sea City pitcher Phil Bennett struck out four.
some journalism basics11
Some Journalism Basics
  • When quoting, try to put the speaker’s name before said.

PREFERRED: “The offensive line played a great game,” quarterback Peyton Manning said.

AVOID: “The offensive line played a great game,” said quarterback Peyton Manning.

  • Use full name on first reference. Then last name throughout.
some journalism basics12
Some Journalism Basics
  • Structure news stories with essential information high (early) in the story.
    • For example, in a game story, the score should always be in the first graf, if not the first sentence.
  • Inverted pyramid – a way of structuring a story so the most important information is at the top and information gets progressively less central to the story.
ap style
AP Style
  • Comes from the Associated Press Stylebook and Briefing on Media Law.
  • Style and usage guide used by newspapers and in the news industry in the United States. It is the basis for virtually every news publication’s style – when to capitalize, use numerals, preferred spellings and abbreviation.
  • Some papers/sites have their own additional style guides. But the basis for those is going to be AP.
ap style14
AP Style
  • Considered the Bible of journalism. The industry standard.
  • If you have any interest in becoming a journalist, buy and learn the AP Stylebook.
  • Spell out one through nine. Use numerals for numbers 10 and up.
number exceptions
Number Exceptions
  • Games in a series
    • (Game 1, Game 2, Game 3)
  • Numbers with decimal points
    • 4.2 points per game, 2.45 ERA
  • Football yardage
    • Brady threw a 5-yard pass.
    • Bush rushed for 3 yards.
number exceptions18
Number Exceptions
  • Made vs. Attempted
    • Paul Pierce was 3-of-6 at the free throw line.
    • Joe Mauer went 2-for-5 against Cleveland.
  • Records
    • The Raiders fell to 0-8 on the season.
    • After going 3-0 in July, Johan Santana went 2-4 in August.
number exceptions19
Number Exceptions
  • Scores and series records are always numbers.
    • Spain beat the Netherlands 1-0.
    • The Saints beat the Vikings 14-9.
    • The Lakers lead the season series with the Celtics 3-2.
    • Toronto FC sits in third place in the Eastern Conference standings with a 7-9-7 record.
    • Novak Djokovic defeated Roger Federer 5-7, 6-1, 5-7, 6-2, 7-5 in the US Open semifinal.
other style and usage notes
Other Style and Usage Notes
  • Alternate city and team names in a story.
  • Give team name and city on first reference.
    • The Boston Celtics signed Shaquille O’Neal in August.
  • Spell out positions.
    • Shortstop (not SS). Running back (not RB).
common grammar mistakes
Common Grammar Mistakes
  • Use a hyphen when a figure is used as an modifier.
    • Brees threw a 5-yard pass. (modifying pass)
    • Brees threw for 5 yards. (giving a distance)
    • Ramirez hit a 420-foot home run.
    • Ramirez home run went for 420 feet.
plural vs singular
Plural vs. Singular
  • Cities are singular.
    • New York leads the AL East.
    • Many feel Miami is the team to beat in the NBA.
  • Teams are plural.
    • The Yankees lead the AL East.
    • Many feel the Heat are the team to be in the NBA.

Note: Even when a team has a singular name – Jazz, Avalanche, etc. – it is used as a plural noun.

plural vs singular24
Plural vs. Singular
  • Differentiate between its and their.
    • Cincinnati headed back to its locker room at the half, trailing 7-0.
    • The Bengals headed back to their locker room at the half, trailing 7-0.
  • A team is an its. A club is an its.

CORRECT: Is a team responsible for the behavior of its players?

INCORRECT: Is a team responsible for the behavior of their players?

other common mistakes
Other Common Mistakes
  • its (possessive)
  • it’s (it is)
  • their (possessive)
  • there (location)
  • they’re (they are)
commonly misspelled words
Commonly Misspelled Words

(When in doubt, do a Google search to see what AP uses.)