The Seraph
  • Moderator: Mr. Hessel
Sports 4 - More Tips for Sports Writing

1. Write short, lively leads. Vary lead beginnings. Avoid starting with the date of the game, place, name of school or team nickname.

2. Requirements for the game story lead: name of the winner, name of the loser, score, place played, name or indication of the game (for example, first-round playoff, city championship), spectacular play of the game (not necessarily in that order).

3. Make sure that each story includes the when and where of the game as well as the score, preferably in the first two paragraphs.

4. Quote players and coaches only if they have something to say. Be sure to quote them accurately.

5. Avoid clich├ęs such as: would not be denied, roared from behind, outclassed the competition, gave 110%, played their hearts out.

6. Be fair and objective. Keep editorial comment out of sports news stories. Do not make excuses for losing. Stick to the facts. Report the complete story, including play of the opponents.

7. Run at least one story that readers are not expecting in each issue. Features should not follow a pattern. (example: rollerblading)

8. Run complete coverage of student athletics – varsity sports, JV sports, minor sports, intramurals, personal and leisure sports.

9. Keep accounts of games played weeks before the issue comes out fresh by furnishing new or unusual statistics or relating them to future games. Keep these stories brief.

10. Use as many names in sports stories as possible.

11. Study sports pages and sports stories of professional writers. This is  good way to learn. Don’t copy those styles, but use them as models to develop your own style.

12. Avoid discussing a team impersonally. Teams are made up of individuals, and in talking about individuals you are discussing the team.

13. Remember that sports fans are gluttons for statistics (records).

14. Do not be afraid to criticize, when necessary, but do so with caution and a certain knowledge of what you are doing. Criticize through reporting facts rather than your own opinion, except when writing a bylined sports column.