Sports reporting advice
Andrew Warwick has suggested that The Boat Race provided the first mass spectator event for journalistic coverage. Cricket , possibly because of its esteemed place in society, has regularly attracted the most elegant of writers. The Manchester Guardian , in the first half of the 20th century, employed Neville Cardus as its cricket correspondent as well as its music critic. Cardus was later knighted for his services to journalism.
One of his successors, John Arlott , who became a worldwide favorite because of his radio commentaries on the BBC , was also known for his poetry. The first London Olympic Games in attracted such widespread public interest that many newspapers assigned their very best-known writers to the event. Such was the drama of that race, in which Dorando Pietri collapsed within sight of the finishing line when leading, that Conan Doyle led a public subscription campaign to see the gallant Italian, having been denied the gold medal through his disqualification, awarded a special silver cup, which was presented by Queen Alexandra.
And the public imagination was so well caught by the event that annual races in Boston , Massachusetts, and London, and at future Olympics, were henceforward staged over exactly the same, mile, yard distance used for the Olympic Marathon , and the official length of the event worldwide to this day.
The London race, called the Polytechnic Marathon and originally staged over the Olympic route from outside the royal residence at Windsor Castle to White City, was first sponsored by the Sporting Life , which in those Edwardian times was a daily newspaper which sought to cover all sporting events, rather than just a betting paper for horse racing and greyhounds that it became in the years after the Second World War.
The rise of the radio made sports journalism more focused on the live coverage of the sporting events. The first sports reporter in Great Britain, and one of the first sports reporters in the World, was an English writer Edgar Wallace , who made a report on The Derby on June 6, for the British Broadcasting Company.
In France, L'Auto , the predecessor of L'Equipe , had already played an equally influential part in the sporting fabric of society when it announced in that it would stage an annual bicycle race around the country.
The Tour de France was born, and sports journalism's role in its foundation is still reflected today in the leading rider wearing a yellow jersey - the color of the paper on which L'Auto was published in Italy, the Giro d'Italia established a similar tradition, with the leading rider wearing a jersey the same pink color as the sponsoring newspaper, La Gazzetta. After the Second World War, the sports sections of British national daily and Sunday newspapers continued to expand, to the point where many papers now have separate standalone sports sections; some Sunday tabloids even have sections, additional to the sports pages, devoted solely to the previous day's football reports.
In some respects, this has replaced the earlier practice of many regional newspapers which - until overtaken by the pace of modern electronic media - would produce special results editions rushed out on Saturday evenings. Some newspapers, such as The Sunday Times , with Olympic metres champion Harold Abrahams , or the London Evening News using former England cricket captain Sir Leonard Hutton , began to adopt the policy of hiring former sports stars to pen columns, which were often ghost written.
Some such ghosted columns, however, did little to further the reputation of sports journalism, which is increasingly becoming the subject of academic scrutiny of its standards. Many "ghosted" columns were often run by independent sports agencies, based in Fleet Street or in the provinces, who had signed up the sports star to a contract and then syndicated their material among various titles. These agencies included Pardons, or the Cricket Reporting Agency , which routinely provided the editors of the Wisden cricket almanac, and Hayters.
Sportswriting in Britain has attracted some of the finest journalistic talents. Many became household names in the late 20th century through their trenchant reporting [ citation needed ] of often earth-shattering events that have transcended the back pages and been reported on the front pages: McIlvanney and Wooldridge, who died in March , aged 75, both enjoyed careers that saw them frequently work in television.
During his career, Wooldridge became so famous that, like the sports stars he reported upon, he hired the services of IMG , the agency founded by the American businessman, Mark McCormack , to manage his affairs.
Glanville wrote several books, including novels, as well as scripting the memorable official film to the World Cup staged in England. Since the s, the growing importance of sport, its impact as a global business and the huge amounts of money involved in the staging of events such as the Olympic Games and football World Cups, has also attracted the attention of investigative journalists. The sensitive nature of the relationships between sports journalists and the subjects of their reporting, as well as declining budgets experienced by most Fleet Street newspapers, has meant that such long-term projects have often emanated from television documentary makers.
Tom Bower , with his sports book of the year Broken Dreams , which analyzed British football, followed in the tradition established a decade earlier by Andrew Jennings and Vyv Simson with their controversial investigation of corruption within the International Olympic Committee.
Jennings and Simson's The Lords of the Rings in many ways predicted the scandals that were to emerge around the staging of the Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City; Jennings would follow-up with two further books on the Olympics and one on FIFA , the world football body.
Likewise, award-winning writers Duncan Mackay , of The Guardian , and Steven Downes unravelled many scandals involving doping, fixed races and bribery in international athletics in their book, Running Scared , which offered an account of the threats by a senior track official that led to the suicide of their sports journalist colleague, Cliff Temple. But the writing of such exposes - referred to as "spitting in the soup" by Paul Kimmage , the former Tour de France professional cyclist, now an award-winning writer for the Sunday Times — often requires the view of an outsider who is not compromised by the need of day-to-day dealings with sportsmen and officials, as required by "beat" correspondents.
The stakes can be high when upsetting sport's powers: One of the reasons cited was that the BBC had been too critical of the performances of the England football team. Increasingly, sports journalists have turned to long-form writing , producing popular books on a range of sporting topics, including biographies, history and investigations. Dan Topolski was the first recipient of the William Hill Sports Book of the Year award in , which has continued to reward authors for their excellence in sports literature.
Most countries have their own national association of sports journalists. Many sports also have their own clubs and associations for specified journalists. These organizations attempt to maintain the standard of press provision at sports venues, to oversee fair accreditation procedures and to celebrate high standards of sports journalism.
Home Courses Introduction to Sports Reporting. About Self-Directed Courses In a self-directed course , you can start and stop whenever you like, progressing entirely at your own pace and going back as many times as you want to review the material.
What Will I Learn: How to prepare for your story before the game begins Know what to look for during a sporting event Who to interview after the game How to size up your stats and notes to find a storyline.
Who should take this course: Sports fanatics, student reporters and journalists not privy to covering sports. Related Courses and Content Introduction to Reporting: Using Data for Better Sports Journalism.
So focus on listening, really listening, to what an athlete or manager has to say and form a folo question in the moment based on his or her answer.
Develop an effective post-game note-taking strategy. Juliano said he will often review his notes after a post-game interview and have no idea what he wrote down because the words are scribbled gibberish-style all over his notebook.
To steer clear of that messiness, focus on being concise and also consider recording the interview so you can listen in later and spark your memory about those scribbles in your notes. Tweet, tweet, tweet and check Twitter often. From the perspective of Juliano, a year veteran in the field, tweeting is one of the best ways for journalists to share information and an excellent tool to see what other people are talking about. For the sports writer, that might mean fan chatter — a bunch of tweets about a similar topic could be the seedlings for a related question worth asking after a big game.