How to report and write the sports news?

Report and Writing of sport news:

When a reporter covers sports events and issues, he must know how to find the news and file the report. It is most important for a reporter that he must get along with people of varying natures. He should also understand the politics of the news medium.

A reporter who wants to make a mark in the profession must inspire confidence. He should know landmarks in the history of the game, its rules, terms and top ranking players of the sport he covers. The background information and achievements of players should be on his finger tips. Besides, he must know the coaches, managers, officials and office-bearers of various prominent sport clubs and associations.

If a reporter have good contacts, then will be able to extract some information from them when you need to substantiate your report. There is variety in sports news starting from college sports at the amateur level to professional sports. It can be categorized as local, regional, national and international sports.

The readers are interested in the prospects of the team, individual players in a match and a post-mortem of the contest. Readers also look for important information related to the match or sport.

A sport reporter must be aware of factors which have a direct or indirect bearing on the contest from coaches and managers to regulations. The reporter must be aware of the part played by these factors so that he will be able to portray the correct picture while writing the report. The more a reporter study the scenario the more likely it is that he will gather information and the better will be his report.

There is slight difference between sports news reporting and general news reporting as a sports reporter has more freedom of self-expression. For example, sport reporters use more superlatives. Experienced and knowledgeable sport reporters generally get more freedom in usage as they know where to use and where not to use superlatives. However, sport reporters should also rely on accurate and objective writing, stressing ,clarity while avoiding jargon and unfamiliar terminology.

Reporters should also avoid writing vague reports. Readers will not be interested to read such reports. News reports should also provide details on the fitness of players, points of play, individual performance, tactics and strategies adopted in the contest and crowd reaction. To be a successful, a reporter has to cultivate his power of observation and presentation style.

Writers must choose their words with care when writing about stars and professional players. Reporters must have documentary evidence before they comment about players (mis) deeds on and off the ground. The profession is quite hazardous and reporters must play safe while writing about some players, coaches or sports bodies.

Need for Specialization:

The field of sport reporting is vast and it may be difficult for a reporter to be proficient in every game and discipline. In spite of that a sports reporter should know the basics of every sport at least the salient features, norms, rules and regulations. Besides, a sport reporter should specialize in one or two of the following disciplines: hockey, football, cricket, tennis, badminton, table tennis, athletics, diving, gymnastics or swimming. There are also many other sports.

By sheer knowledge and dedication, a reporter can outbid a rival. During training, a sports journalist can realize which sport or game more he will be comfortable with. Also, if you are well conversant with the rules of a game, you can write a report on a match with great ease and finesse.

If you are working in a major national daily, there will be many sport reporters and initially you may be asked to cover all sports as per the editorial needs. That is a good opportunity to learn the tricks of the game and you can go for specialization later on in your career. Besides, a reporter should adopt a style of writing which should be refreshingly different and illuminating to the general reader.

Facts for the Advance Story or News Item:

To write an advance copy, a reporter has to talk to the concerned officials, coaches and managers to get details. If you have good relations with officials, you will extract information easily. If you have a good equation with a coach, players or officials, they may yet be willing to speak to even in the face of a defeat. In a winning moment, you should not face any problem to get a quote or a comment. Sport today is no longer a matter of coordination of body parts. It is now played at the mental level.

The temperament and psychology of the players are equally, if not more important than technique and skill. Some teams or individuals lose under pressure, while some rise to the occasion despite intense competition,

This is an important aspect of sports and reporters must study it before writing the reason for a loss or win. Further, sports reporters must exercise tact and perhaps persistence when seeking information from officials. They need to study the situation well before asking questions for example to the coach or the manager. Whatever information you gather in this way will provide you with content enough for your advance report.

Covering the Game:

A sport reporter must learn to take notes systematically. All the important incidents and happenings including the major moves or strategies had a bearing on the outcome of a game. Reporters should watch the match dispassionately and without getting unduly excited.

The first rule in sport writing is tell the story immediately. Show off of your vocabulary, style or terminology should be avoided. Writers should also avoid injecting color and drama unless the situation demands such a report. If the match is dull and drab, you should not hesitate to say so. You should report the action of the sport or game in as much detail as the space allows.

There is no strict rule or formula for a sport reporter, there are some conventional rules about the structure of the sports story. Generally, a report should be written in the following way:

  • Lead should have who won where, when, why and how.
  • Second part should be the major details including star players, breaks and weather, if necessary.
  • Third part should have minor details including other players, other plays and the behaviour/description of spectators, and
  • Fourth part should have other details including statistics, line-ups and substitutions.

The summary lead should include the score and important details or the highlights, for example, the injuries, or the strategies, or the turning point of the match.

In sport reporting, hard facts are more important than rich language and colourful expression. A report with facts can score over other reports. Simple language and original expression are suitable for sports writing.

The follow-up story is usually written at leisure incorporating analysis and comment. In the follow up story information will be updated. There are also instances when the first report itself includes analysis. A reporter has to write under the pressure of deadline.

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