Sports Journalism: A Practical Introduction

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Phil Andrews

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  • Back Matter
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  • Copyright

    Preface

    Since this book was first published in 2005, sports journalism and the media platforms which carry it have changed enormously. The digital age was still in its infancy then. It has since grown and developed, and the demands of sports fans have changed and grown with it. They now want information immediately and wherever they are.

    Many major media organisations now encompass all journalistic disciplines - a newspaper, a website, television (online video) and radio station (podcasts) - and have a global reach. At the same time, the number of outlets for sports journalism has grown and fragmented. There are now many more websites devoted to sport, and the ceaseless flow of technological developments means fans can consume sport as it happens, wherever they are. More sporting events than ever are being covered live on television and radio. Newspapers cannot compete with that, and are no longer seen as the primary source of sports news, reports or interviews. To survive, they have had to find ways of adding value to the sports experience. They encourage their journalists to break stories on social media sites and use their own websites to provide added value. Journalists now also produce blogs, podcasts, webchats and analysis which can be delivered direct to mobile devices - a ‘second screen’ for those watching an event live or by broadcast relay. And they try to move the story on, and find the angles broadcasters will not touch because their relationship with the people they are covering can be too cosy.

    Consequently, sports journalists must be able to operate across all platforms and disciplines. Print journalists are being trained in writing for the web and social media platforms, and to record audio and video clips for websites; web writers are learning radio and video skills; broadcast journalists are being trained in web writing and online video journalism; print sports editors are taking on the role of web editors.

    At the same time, there has been a change in the relationship between journalists and their audiences. It is no longer a one-way process, in which journalists provide information and comment, and audiences consume it. Now, it has become a conversation. Online journalism (and increasingly all other forms of journalism) have become interactive, with audiences having the facility to comment on what journalists have done, and provide views of their own. Non-journalists have also become important sources of news and information, picking up stories which they either send direct to journalists they follow on social media sites, or post on those sites themselves. And sports professionals who take to social media sites to comment on the latest controversy become stories in their own right. Consequently, journalists must learn to navigate the very deep waters of such sites and pick out the small amounts of floating information which will be of use to them.

    The field of sports public relations has continued to expand, with most major sporting organisations employing their own communications teams. Their websites have become an important form of income generation for them, and consequently sports PR professionals require the skills of sports journalists to service them. This trend has made relationships between journalists and sports organisations uneasy in some respects. Journalists feel sports PR practitioners have come between them and the managers, coaches, players and performers they want to talk to. There has been resistance on the part of some sports organisations to journalists filming press conferences because they want the material for their own websites; but sponsors continue to demand the widest possible publicity, so these tensions are being resolved, though it is a work in progress.

    All of these developments are comprehensively covered in this new edition, which contains expanded sections on online journalism, broadcast sports journalism [especially commentary) and the role of news agencies and the work of freelance journalists.

    But the principles of good sports journalism, which the first edition of this book has brought to the attention of students around the world, remain the same, as does the satisfaction of putting them into practice.

  • Getting a Job

    While journalism is regarded by many as an exciting, even glamorous, occupation, the competition to get into it is intense. The expansion of the internet and the ever-growing number of websites has taken its toll on the print industry. Some newspapers have closed; others are shedding staff. But this has been offset by the growth of opportunities for sports journalists on websites, particularly at entry-level. Many websites are willing to give beginners a chance, writing blogs about their favourite clubs or minute-by-minute reports of events, often from television coverage rather than from the arena. Some of these opportunities are paid (though rarely substantially); others are not. Either way, they can offer invaluable experience which may help when applying for work elsewhere. But beware that you are not simply filling space for free for too long.

    Full-time jobs are scarce, and employers are looking for people with qualifications and experience. Most media organisations receive far more applications for jobs than they can fill, and many would-be journalists are inevitably disappointed. But the media sector in most developed countries - and sports journalism in particular - has been expanding, and opportunities do arise for people with talent, enthusiasm and perseverance.

    What Employers are Looking for

    New entrants - whether they are journalists or photographers - normally have to start by learning the whole range of journalistic skills. That means they will be working as general news reporters or as part of a team of photographers. Employers will therefore expect applicants to demonstrate a wide range of interests, not merely in sport.

    They will be looking for a good knowledge of current affairs, both national and local; an interest in people, places and events; the ability to write simple prose, with a sound understanding of grammar, spelling and punctuation; a willingness to work unsocial hours; calmness under pressure and an ability to meet deadlines; and the determination and persistence to track down a story. You will need to provide some evidence that you have the necessary talent, so use the internet as your publishing platform and your online CV.

    Career Paths

    Most journalists start by getting jobs as trainees in newspapers, radio or television, or by enrolling on pre-entry training courses at colleges or universities. They are normally expected to work as general news reporters, and opportunities for sports journalism may be limited at first. It may be a couple of years before there is an opportunity to specialise in sport. Those who do make it to the sports department will often be asked to specialise in one or two sports, and to cover the affairs of one or more clubs. Many sports journalists stay with the same organisation all their working lives, but others progress from weekly to daily newspapers, and some cross over into broadcasting. Only the very best secure staff jobs on national or regional newspapers, or on national radio or television.

    Broadcasting organisations may take new entrants direct into their sports departments. Many have their own training courses, or will demand recognised qualifications (see below).

    Training

    In Britain, many journalists start by training on a local newspaper, under the terms of a training contract. There they receive on-the-job training with senior journalists, supplemented by BLOCK RELEASE to courses on which they can study for a professional qualification. Some of the bigger newspaper and broadcasting companies operate their own training schemes. Places on these schemes are sometimes advertised in newspapers and the trade press. Competition for these places is always very strong.

    Many universities and colleges now run degree courses in journalism, some of which incorporate a professional qualification. Journalism schools have been in operation in the USA since the early twentieth century. It was the 1960s or later before they were established in Britain, where the National Council for the Training of Journalists (NCTJ) is the union and industry body which co-ordinates training. Many colleges train students for the NCTJ certificate, which is the standard journalism qualification in Britain. Entry to such courses may involve passing an aptitude test designed to establish whether potential students have the qualities necessary to become a successful journalist.

    Minimum educational qualifications are usually required to gain employment as a journalist or entry to a training course. In Britain, the minimum job entry requirements are five GCSEs (General Certificate of Secondary Education) at A, B or C grades, or the equivalent. One of these should be English language. It is unusual, however, for entrants to be taken on without at least two Advanced-level GCSEs, and journalism is rapidly becoming a graduate profession. More than 60 per cent of recruits are now university graduates.

    Some students on pre-entry training courses are sponsored by prospective employers, but the majority pay their own way. Many universities also offer post-graduate diplomas for students with a first degree who wish to acquire journalism skills. Courses normally cover the entire range of journalistic skills, including law, public affairs, and newspaper and broadcast journalism, though some offer options in sports journalism. They usually offer the opportunity to gain NCTJ qualifications or those of the BJTC (Broadcast Journalism Training Council) or magazine industry bodies. There are now a number of sports journalism courses on offer at British institutions such as Sheffield Hallam University.

    Press photography courses are also available. These teach news values alongside photographic skills. Courses are also available in photo-journalism, which combines photography with reporting. As well as an interest in photography, the qualities required for acceptance on these courses are energy, commitment, personality, an enquiring mind and an eye for a ‘different’ picture. Some universities run courses in broadcast journalism, and there are college courses in magazine journalism which include news and feature writing, production and design.

    For British college courses the minimum requirement is usually two A-level passes, though universities may ask for three passes at high grades. Most colleges only give places to people who have some work experience in the field and who are therefore sure that the job is the right one for them.

    Work Experience

    Getting a job, a traineeship or even a place on a journalism course is difficult, but your prospects will be enhanced if you can show a strong commitment to journalism. The best way to do that is by gaining as much work experience as possible on newspapers, in radio or television, or on a website.

    To get a work experience placement you should write to or e-mail a number of local newspapers or broadcasting organisations explaining why you want to become a journalist or press photographer, what qualities you think you would bring to the job, and asking if you can work in the newsroom for a few days. Applications for work experience reach their height in the summer months, and you may increase your chances of being offered a placement if you avoid June, July or August. You will not be paid, but getting a foot inside the newsroom door is the best way to make contacts and hear about any job opportunities that come along. Many jobs in journalism are not advertised, but go to people whose work an editor knows and can trust. Some editors will take on - or at least publish the work of - people who are keen and good at the job, even if they have no formal qualifications.

    The best way to get your name in front of employers who may be seeking to take on staff is to compile a portfolio of your work, or set up your own website or blog where you can showcase your work In the end, employers are interested in what you can do. You may have to start small, by getting stories and features published in weekly newspapers, or in Saturday afternoon sports papers, which are often willing to take freelance pieces on minor sports to help fill their pages in advance of the day's big-game action. You may not be paid for them, but the cuttings in your portfolio will be invaluable.

    Websites have provided thousands of new outlets for sports journalists, created many new jobs and offer new ways of satisfying the growing thirst for sporting information. Because websites are easy to set up and relatively cheap to service and maintain, they now hugely outnumber traditional media outlets. Almost every sports club and governing body has its own site, many of them employing professional journalists. The web supports sites operated by everyone from commercial and public service media organisations, through sporting organisations and individual athletes, to fans. Not surprisingly, the quality of sporting websites is equally variable. Some websites actively seek contributions from students, and may even pay a little, but beware of those which are simply trying to fill space for free. They can, however, provide a useful shop window for your work.

    Freelancing

    As we have seen in Chapter 11, the busier days in the sporting week, coupled with reducing numbers of permanent journalistic staff at many media organisations and the needs of the growing number of websites which cover sport, means that there is a considerable demand for freelance sports journalists.

    Despite this, freelance journalism is a crowded field, the work is irregular and rates of pay not especially good. Many freelance sports journalists supplement their incomes with other work. Many are also retired or redundant staff journalists, who are at an advantage because they are experienced and have very good contacts in the media industry. But there are opportunities for newcomers, particularly in the expanding field of online sports journalism.

    Much freelance sports journalism involves reporting on or processing material from sporting events on busy days. But there are wider opportunities, and the most successful freelance journalists will provide a range of material, especially those covering minority sports.

    Some freelances start by offering sports editors reports on minority sports or minor league matches in mainstream sports, and expand into news and profiles of players once their work is known and their judgement about what makes a good story or feature is accepted. It may be necessary to persuade the sports editor that there is a lot of interest in your sport at that level. If you can become an expert in your own small field, the sports editor may start calling you, and once you have established the quality of your work, you may be offered bigger assignments, and eventually a job on the paper, broadcasting station or website.

    It is a good idea to compile a portfolio of your work, even if it is unpaid work you have done for a local paper or website. When you have built up a small portfolio, you should compile a CV listing your qualifications and experience, and send it to as many sports editors as possible. Ask to go in and meet them. Get them to show you around and explain what they do. Enthusiasm counts for a lot with people who are looking to hire staff. Get your face known in as many newsrooms as you can. Most outlets do not need to advertise for freelance staff, but keep the details of likely candidates handy, so it is important to get your CV into as many places as possible.

    Freelance experience can lead to a staff job for those who show enthusiasm and aptitude. But even if it does not, freelance experience with local newspapers or websites can lead to bigger things. National and regional newspapers employ few staff sports writers, but rely heavily on freelances to cover events at weekends and in the evenings. They are always looking for new writers, and will often be willing to give an opportunity to someone who can show a track record of producing competent work at local level. Local and specialist sport radio stations and television sports results services also provide opportunities for freelance sports journalists. In Britain, the BBC invites freelances to join its talent pool. News agencies such as the Press Association (see Chapter 11) and specialist sports news agencies employ freelances on a casual basis on busy sports days. Commercial agencies may ask a reporter to cover an event for several clients, which can be very hard work.

    Freelancing has its advantages. You can work from home and you can turn down jobs if you feel like a day off - although if you do that too often, people will stop calling. It has its disadvantages, too. Some freelances work long hours because they cannot afford to turn work down. You also have to sell your work to sports editors, to chase up your fees and expenses from some employers, and you have no job security and no access to office politics.

    But freelancing gives you the opportunity of working for more than one employer, and sometimes in more than one medium. Some freelances will cover an event for both radio (or television) and newspapers. Most large media organisations have their own freelance rates of pay. In Britain, the National Union of Journalists (NUJ) has a list of minimum freelance rates.

    Whether they are freelances or staff writers, most sports writers specialise in one particular area. Only the top writers can cherry-pick across the world of sport. One fruitful area for freelances is to offer TIMELESS PIECES which can be used to fill space on the sports pages when there is little action to report. Another is the CROSSOVER PIECE, in which expertise in other areas is used to throw light on current issues in the world of sport. Examples include fashion (what the top sports people are wearing), business (the share prices of clubs, their merchandising activities, their problems with the tax authorities, clubs going into receivership), medicine (injuries to high-profile performers, the use of drugs), and celebrity reporting (the social lives of sports people).

    Useful Websites

    www.journalism.co.uk - for jobs in journalism and tips for journalists

    www.pressgazette.co.uk - more jobs

    www.shu.ac.uk- details of sport journalism degree course

    www.nctj.com - details of journalism and photographers’ training courses in Britain, and qualifications available (including sports journalism qualification)

    Copyright

    Journalists own the copyright in their own work unless they are directly employed by someone else to produce it. The copyright in an employee's creations is automatically assigned to the employer, but if work is commissioned from you as a freelance, you retain the copyright unless there is a contract to the contrary. Because you are self-employed it is your own, so make sure you don't sign it away.

    All written work, sound recording, film and broadcast is protected by copyright. There is no copyright on ideas, but copyright protection in the UK and many other countries applies automatically if the work exists physically. This applies even if it is still in the form of a manuscript or computer program.

    For work originating in the European Union, copyright lasts for 70 years after the death of the author of written, dramatic, musical or artistic work. Sound recordings, broadcasts and cable programmes are protected for 50 years. In other countries, the period is that granted by the country of origin of the work.

    Copyright can be bought, sold or otherwise transferred, and copyright owners can license others to use their work while retaining ownership of the copyright. You should approach the copyright owner for permission to use material.

    In certain circumstances, however, permission is not needed. Limited use of work is permitted for research, private study, criticism, review and reporting current events. Publication of excerpts, such as quotes, requires an acknowledgement.

    Copyright applies on the internet as it does to paper. Material may not be posted on a website without consent. Many websites give details about how the material they contain may be used. Permission should always be obtained before establishing a link to another website.

    Useful Websites

    www.intellectual-property.gov.uk - UK Patent Office www.wipo.org - World Intellectual Property Organization

    Legal and Ethical Issues

    Journalists and the Law

    Like all other journalists, those who specialise in sport must abide by the laws of the country in which they operate and in which their work is published or broadcast. Sports journalists will not find themselves constrained by legal considerations as often as crime correspondents or court reporters, but they cannot afford to be complacent about legal issues.

    There will be occasions - when writing about sports people who have been accused of criminal offences or of drug misuse or some other misdemeanour, for instance -when a sports writer will need to be aware of the laws of defamation and contempt.

    Defamation involves writing or broadcasting something you cannot prove which could expose the subject to hatred, ridicule or contempt, or the loss of business or professional standing. Sports people have been known to sue newspapers that have accused them of match-fixing, for instance. And don't forget that any quotes or interview clips you use from other people could be libellous. If you have any doubts at all, don't use them.

    Contempt of court involves writing or broadcasting something which may unfairly influence court proceedings. For instance, the trials of the Leeds United footballers Lee Bowyer and Jonathan Woodgate were halted after a newspaper published an interview with a relative of the man they were alleged to have assaulted.

    Sports journalists must also be aware of the laws of copyright and those covering data protection.

    Of course, the law on these and other issues that affect journalists differs from country to country. For instance, laws on what you can publish before and during legal proceedings are less inhibiting in the USA than in Britain and many other countries. Even in the United Kingdom, the law in England and Wales is different from that in Scotland. It is not, therefore, possible to give detailed guidance here. Instead, you should make sure you are familiar with the law in the country in which you are working. In many countries, there are useful reference works written especially for journalists. In Britain, the main reference work is McNae's Essential Law for Journalists, edited by Mark Hanna and Mike Dodd (Oxford University Press, 21st edition, 2012).

    The best way to avoid legal difficulties is to check all your facts scrupulously, and never make assumptions or jump to conclusions. If in doubt, consult the legal department of the organisation for which you are working.

    Ethics

    In addition to legal constraints, sports journalists should also ensure that their behaviour and work conform to the ethical standards expected of all journalists. Most major print and broadcasting organisations, as well as media regulating bodies in many countries, have their own Codes of Conduct. Staff and contributors are expected to follow them, and they are often written into their terms of employment.

    They deal with issues such as fairness, the correction of mistakes, dealing with people who are experiencing grief and trauma, offensive language, plagiarism, privacy, race and gender issues, the protection of sources and the use of subterfuge to gather information. They also deal with the personal conduct of journalists, such as conflicts of interest (when writing about a team you support or an athlete with whom you have a relationship, for instance) and the acceptance of payment or gifts from the people about whom you are writing.

    You should study carefully the Code of Conduct of the organisation for whom you are working, or of one of the media regulating bodies in the country in which you are working. The Code of Practice of the British Press Complaints Commission (www.pcc.org.uk) is a useful statement of ethical behaviour for journalists.

    You will find the following checklist useful in dealing with some of the ethical issues you may encounter as a sports journalist.

    Checklist
    • Were the methods I used to gather my information honest, legal and transparent?
    • Have I respected the privacy of the subject and others?
    • If not, is my intrusion in the public interest? Why?
    • Is my piece balanced, fair, honest, accurate and objective?
    • Does it display prejudice because of race, gender, age or disability?
    • Does it reinforce race or gender stereotypes or ageism or disabled issues?
    • Could it cause distress to the subject or his or her family or friends?
    • Have I been honest about my sources, even if I can't name them?
    • Is the language I have used likely to offend a reasonable person?
    • Have I infringed anyone's copyright?
    • Have I reproduced anyone else's work without attribution?
    • Has my objectivity been compromised by financial inducements or gifts?
    • Are any photographs which have been digitally altered or enhanced clearly labelled as such?

    Glossary

    Actuality sound

    natural sound effects, such as the roar of a crowd or galloping hooves, used in radio to help listeners picture the scene

    Agent

    a sports person's representative, who conducts wage negotiations and sponsorship and transfer deals. The agent may also speak on behalf of the athlete and deal with interview requests

    Ambush interview

    an interview conducted when subjects are approached in a public place or on their doorstep

    Anchor

    a presenter on a television or radio programme who reads reports and introduces items

    Angle

    the point of view from which a feature is written

    Archive

    previously used material which can be accessed via a website

    As-live

    a piece which appears to be live, even though it was shot some time earlier

    Autocue

    device which allows television bulletin presenters to read the text of scripts while looking into the camera lens

    Block release

    a period of time during which a trainee is released from his or her job to attend a training course

    Blog (web log)

    an online journal that is frequently updated

    Breaking story

    a story appearing for the first time

    Byline

    name of the journalist by whom a story has been written

    Camera read

    television news item without pictures, but with presenter in vision

    Casual

    a freelance sports journalist who is hired at busy times to supplement the permanent staff, such as a Saturday afternoon sub-editor on a sports desk

    Catchline

    name given to a piece of copy to distinguish it from others

    Closed questions

    questions which anticipate the answer or which are capable of being answered by a single word, for example: ‘You must have been happy with your performance?’

    Colour piece

    a lively, descriptive piece, sometimes opinionated, funny or impressionistic, rather than a straight news report

    Contact

    someone willing to provide information to a journalist

    Contacts book

    list of contacts, with home and mobile telephone numbers and e-mail addresses

    Copy

    text of a story or feature produced by a journalist (from which a compositor once copied the printed version)

    Copytaker

    person who keys in copy telephoned in by journalists working away from the office

    Copy item

    radio news item read from script by the bulletin presenter

    Copy tasting

    assessing the relative value of a story and deciding its position on a page or bulletin

    Crawler

    moving text, usually along the top or bottom of the screen

    Crosshead

    a sub-heading, often a single word, in a newspaper column or other text, used to break up the text and make it easier to read

    Crossover piece

    feature on a general topic which uses a sports story as its ‘peg’

    Cue

    short introduction to a radio bulletin item, read by the bulletin presenter

    Cutaways

    shots which allow an editor to move seamlessly from one sequence of action to another sequence which may have taken place much later in real time, for example, shots of the crowd or of coaches watching the action

    Deadline

    latest time by which copy should be received, or edition must go to press

    Diary

    contains information about events the sports desk may wish to cover

    Direct quotations

    the actual words used by the interviewee, enclosed in quotation marks, for example: ‘I think I played very well this afternoon.’ They are always in the present tense

    Doughnut package

    ‘topped and tailed’ by the reporter from a relevant location

    Edit points

    points at which a tape editor needs to move from one part of the action to another, usually by using a cutaway

    Embargo

    a fixed time before which information supplied to journalists should not be published

    Establishing shot

    a shot of the interviewee, preferably involved in the sport he or she represents, shown immediately before a clip of the interview, to establish the person's identity in the viewers’ minds

    Estimate

    same as Prospects (see below)

    Exclusive

    a story to which no other news organisation yet has access

    Factfile

    a column of facts accompanying a story

    Fanzine

    unofficial magazine giving a platform for the views of fans, who may also operate unofficial websites

    Feature

    a longer and more detailed piece of writing providing background information about people or events

    Filing

    sending copy from an event to the sports desk, usually by means of laptop computer, e-mail or telephone

    Flash quotes

    quotes obtained immediately after a sporting event, often by volunteers, for circulation to the media. Used at major events such as the Olympic Games, where media will not have enough of their own staff to cover every event

    Follow-up

    a story which expands on an earlier story

    Freelance

    self-employed, as opposed to staff, journalist. May have contracts with one or more media organisations

    Hard copy

    a story on paper rather than in a computer

    Highlights

    condensed version of a sporting event, focusing on the key moments

    Intro

    the first paragraph, or introduction, to a report or story, often providing a brief summary of what follows

    Laptop

    portable computer used by sports writers in the field, from which copy can be filed to the sports desk

    Link

    short introduction to a television bulletin item, read by the bulletin presenter

    Live

    a piece of television or radio filmed or broadcast as it happens

    Log

    a list of key moments, with the times at which they can be found on the tape

    Mixed zone

    area, often trackside, where media can speak to athletes after their events

    NATSOF

    natural sound on film (the television equivalent of actuality sound)

    News access

    agreement allowing television broadcasters who do not own the rights to use action clips on news programmes

    OB (outside broadcast)

    coverage (usually live) of a sporting event from the location at which it is taking place

    Off the record

    information which may help a journalist understand a story, but which is not for publication

    On the record

    information which can be published without restriction and attributed to the informant

    Online

    available via the internet

    Open questions

    questions which demand a considered answer and which cannot be answered with the words ‘yes’ or ‘no’, for example: ‘How do you feel about your performance?’

    Opinion piece

    column expressing the writer's views on a controversial issue

    Outro

    opposite of ‘Intro’; final paragraph which rounds off a piece

    Outwords

    the words with which a news item ends. Usually shown on written script to alert presenter that the piece is about to end

    Package

    television news item compiled by a reporter and consisting of several elements, such as voiceovers and clips of interviews

    Payoff

    see Outro

    Peg

    the basic event (often a news story) around which a feature is written

    Piece to camera

    a segment of television package delivered with the reporter in vision

    Platform

    medium by which journalism is disseminated, such as radio, television, website, newspaper or social media site

    Podcast

    recorded talk or discussion which can be downloaded from website

    Press conference

    a meeting called by an individual or organisation to provide journalists with information and allow them to ask questions

    Press release

    information provided by an individual or organisation to the media for publication

    Profile

    a biographical piece about an individual

    Prospects

    a list of stories and features that are expected to be available on a specific day

    Recombining

    taking the content of a printed story and combining it with new content from other sources, such as pictures and captions, audio or video, graphics, and links to archive stories or other sites

    Reported speech

    the interviewee's words are summarised by the reporter, with no quotation marks, for example: He said he thought he played very well. Reported speech is also known as an indirect quotation and is always in the past tense

    Repurposing

    making the content of a newspaper or other printed material, including headlines and pictures, available online. Same as Shovelling

    Rewriting

    taking print content and rewriting it and/or abbreviating it for the web

    Running copy

    story or report filed in a series of ‘takes’

    Running story

    a story which develops over time and generates regular follow-up stories

    Rushes

    unedited tape of action, or of shots filmed for a documentary or a news item

    SEO (search engine optimisation)

    using key words to try to get a story to the top of the list on a search engine, as these are read first

    Shovelling

    making the content of a newspaper or other printed material, including headlines and pictures, available online. Same as Repurposing

    Sidebar

    a box alongside an online story containing additional information

    Snaps

    short news items sent out by agencies to alert subscribers to breaking stories

    Soundbite

    brief clip (usually between 10 and 30 seconds) from an interview for inclusion in a package

    Standfirst

    introductory paragraph which explains what the feature is about and usually includes the writer's byline

    Steadicam

    camera attached to the operator by a frame, which allows him or her to move easily and get close to the action

    Stringer

    freelance journalist hired by the day to cover specific events

    Style book

    guide to the organisation's preferred spelling, grammar and punctuation

    Sub-editor

    an office-based journalist who corrects factual, grammatical and spelling errors in reporters’ copy, cuts or extends it to fill the space allocated and writes the headline

    Summariser

    ‘second voice’ on broadcast commentary, often a current or former player or coach, who can add expert opinion on the coverage

    Take

    a segment of copy filed as part of a ‘running story’

    Timeless pieces

    stories or features which can be used at any time to fill space when there is little live action to report

    Two-way interview

    dialogue between bulletin presenter and reporter

    Unattributable

    information which may be published, but not attributed publicly to the person who supplied it

    Underlay

    television news item read by bulletin presenter while appropriate pictures are screened

    Upsound

    as underlay (see above), followed by clip(s) of interview(s)

    Video clip

    a short extract from television coverage or an interview

    Voiceover (v/o)

    reporter's words over television pictures

    Voicepiece

    radio script read by reporter, but introduced by bulletin presenter

    Vox pops

    from the Latin vox populi (voice of the people), these are short interview clips with ordinary people, such as sports fans, which are used to add interest and variety to radio and television packages

    Webchat

    opportunity for a journalist to discuss issues and exchange views with an audience on a website via e-mail

    Web log

    see Blog

    Website

    online source of information about an individual or organisation; can be found by typing the name of club, athlete or governing body into a search engine such as Google, Yahoo or Lycos

    Wires

    copy provided to the media by news agencies, so called because it was originally sent by wire, although it has been available online since the 1980s. Most countries have their national wire services. In the United Kingdom most sports news is provided by the Press Association, though there are other specialist sports wire services

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