Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Lance on Conan

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Dwayne Roloson: Best saves of 2009

Wednesday, December 16, 2009


Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Tour de France 2010 route in 3-D

Monday, October 12, 2009

Friday, October 9, 2009

Friday, September 4, 2009

Knowing Ernie Harwell

I first met Hall of Fame sportscaster Ernie Harwell in 1966 when I was a senior in high school. My family had just moved to Milwaukee from Bridgeport, Conn., where I used to listen to Ernie broadcast Detroit Tigers games on the Zenith portable radio my dad had given me in the late '50s. I could just barely hear the games at night on 50,000 watt WJR-AM 760 in Detroit, "The Great Voice of the Great Lakes." I had a pillow speaker and would listen to the games late into the night against my parents' wishes.

When we moved to the Milwaukee suburb of Glendale, I wrote Ernie, asking if I could meet him at a Tigers-Chicago White Sox game we were going to attend in the spring of 1967. I was a senior in high school. Ernie didn't know me; didn't know that I had been listening to him all those miles and games away in Bridgeport. Yet he met with my dad and me, sitting outside the press box before the game on a cold day, talking with us for a good 15 minutes before excusing himself to broadcast the game. I still have my letter to Ernie and his response. My dad snapped a couple photographs. But the memory is what lingers.

Over the years, as I became a sports writer and editor, I would see Ernie every year, no matter where I lived: sometimes in Cleveland, sometimes in Detroit, sometimes New York or Baltimore. He always had time for me. We often had lunch. I often brought my sons, Adam and David. Ernie Harwell saw them grow up.

Ernie Harwell has been the symphony music in the background of my life. There are only a couple men in my life that I characterize to others as great men: Former Notre Dame football coach Ara Parseghian, who taught me how to be a good reporter and journalist, and Ernie Harwell, who taught me about grace.

I hope this is a good year for Ernie, that the cancer of the bile duct he has is not unkind and does not cause him too much pain and discomfort. I hope I will see him again, one more time. I have lost too many good friends too young, most to cancer. Ernie is 91. He must have been too valuable to take too early, and he is not so old now that there isn't much in life he could still do. Like all the dearest friends I have lost --Paul Regan, Jon Barkan, Jim Cash, Johnny Johns and Connie McAuliffe, not to mention my mom and dad 13 years ago -- there is never a right time or enough time. But the time there has been with all of them has been the best time of my life. I miss them every day.

I will miss Ernie Harwell. But I will never forget him.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Monday, August 17, 2009

Friday, August 14, 2009

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

NPR's Frank Deford on ESPN

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Behind the 'Mike'

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Tempest in a peephole

Pitch a perfect game, appear on Letterman

Sports Videos, News, Blogs

Monday, June 22, 2009

Sunday, June 21, 2009

How's this for inspiration?

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Spell-check for the Stanley Cup

Monday, May 25, 2009

How to deal with chirping

Friday, May 15, 2009

Uh ... no penalty?

The headline on this video was: Would someone please kill Chris Pronger already!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Who's your columnist #14

Your comment must be posted no later than 30 minutes before the Tuesday April 28 class.

You must include the URL of the column so that your classmates can read the column, too. Let me know if you have any questions.

This is the final columnist discussion of the semester.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Who's your columnist #13

Your comment must be posted no later than 30 minutes before the Tuesday April 21 class.

You must include the URL of the column so that your classmates can read the column, too. Let me know if you have any questions.

This is the penultimate columnist discussion of the semester.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Who's your columnist #12

Your comment must be posted no later than 30 minutes before the Tuesday April 14 class.

You must include the URL of the column so that your classmates can read the column, too. Let me know if you have any questions.

You might want to check out John Canzano of The Oregonian, who won the overall column writing award in the over-250,000 category of the 2009 Associated Press Sports Editors competition.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Len Shapiro: 3 things

Len Shapiro has been reporting for the Washington Post for more than 35 years, covering the NFL and Washington Redskins, professional golf and Tiger Woods, and the media.

What were the three most important things you learned on Thursday from Len's comments during class? You have until Tuesday April 7 a half hour before class to make your comments.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Jeff Zillgitt: 3 things

Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today is that interesting mix of cross platform journalist with brings solid journalism credentials and skills to his work.

Jeff was our guest in class Tuesday. What are the three things you learned from Jeff's presentation? You have until 30 minutes before the Thursday April 2 class to post your comments.

Our guest Thursday will be the Washington Post's Len Shapiro, who will talk about beat reporting, covering the Redskins, and covering Tiger.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Who's your columnist #11

Your comment must be posted no later than 30 minutes before the Tuesday April 7 class.

You must include the URL of the column so that your classmates can read the column, too. Let me know if you have any questions.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Nate Ewell: 3 things

Nate Ewell heads the the Washington Capitals' media relations staff. For the past two years, Nate's group has received the Dick Dillman Award for the NHL’s Eastern Conference, given annually to the team judged to be the best in media relations by the members of the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association.

“It is a great honor for us to be recognized by the PHWA,” said Ewell, who I have known since he was assistant sports information director at Michigan State a decade ago. “It is a pleasure to work with their membership and the rest of the media every day. We are blessed with tremendous leadership from our owners, general manager George McPhee and head coach Bruce Boudreau. The players on the Washington Capitals are a special group and deserve a lot of the credit for this award as well.”
The Dillman Award honors the late Dick Dillman, a highly respected media relations director for the Minnesota North Stars. Members of the PHWA are eligible to vote on the award, and voters are asked to consider multiple factors, including fairness, cooperation, efficiency, accuracy and presentation of media notes, quality of media guide and willingness to help facilitate interviews.
Please share the three things you learned from the class Thursday with Nate. The deadline is Tuesday March 31, a half hour before the start of class.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Mike Wise: 3 thing

Well, they call him the Wise Guy, and if you don't know why now, you never well.

As Eric Vitoff put it, Mike Wise's presentation (performance?) with us in class Tuesday was "stellar." There were plenty of little lessons, and both Mike and I look forward to your comments here.

Since we have another speaker Thursday (Nate Ewell of the Washington Capitals), your deadline for this assignment is 30 minutes before class Thursday (March 26). Please remember your questions for Nate.

The picture is of Mike, his dog, and a young GWU law student who lent them an important helping hand a year ago. Just one of a number of stories Mike didn't have time to share with us.

Who's your columnist #10

Your comment must be posted no later than 30 minutes before the Tuesday March 31 class.

You must include the URL of the column so that your classmates can read the column, too. Let me know if you have any questions.

The photo at the right is of New York Times sports columnist Harvey Araton, who Mike Wise mentioned on Tuesday in class. If you're not familiar with Araton's work, you should check it out.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Who's your columnist #9

Your comment must be posted no later than 30 minutes before the Tuesday March 24 class.

You must include the URL of the column so that your classmates can read the column, too. Let me know if you have any questions.

Monday, March 2, 2009

The USA Today way: 5 things

Our guests this week are Don Collins, a former assignment editor, and Julie Ward, the former deputy managing editor, of USA Today.

Don and Julie have had much to do with shaping sports coverage at USA Today and will have much to share with you -- Don on Tuesday March 3 and Julie on Thursday March 5.

Don Collins graduated from Western Kentucky University in 1976. After graduation, he worked at newspapers in Bowling Green, Ky., Henderson, Ky., and Jackson, Miss. He worked at USA TODAY as an assignment editor from two months before the paper started, in July 1982, until taking retirement in January 2007, except for 14 months as executive sports editor of the Little Rock, Ark., paper.
While at USA TODAY, he served in a variety of roles – editing high school sports, the NBA, NFL, soccer, major league baseball and the Olympics. He was also assistant to the managing editor/sports. He attended two Olympics, six Final Fours, four Super Bowls and three World Series.

Julie Ward was deputy managing editor at USA Today for nearly two decades, from 1989 to 2007. She joined USAT as a general assignment reporter in 1984 and also was an assignment editor for the NBA, golf, tennis, motor sports, boxing, colleges and high schools. She led the USAT team that won the 2002 APSE award for best news story which revealed the 302 members of Augusta National Golf Club.
Before joining USAT, she was a reporter for the St. Louis Globe-Democrat and the Belleville (Ill.) News-Democrat, where she covered women's sports and was a columnist. One of her fondest memories is covering future Olympian Jackie Joyner-Kersee and watching her practice running the hurdles set among potholes on the street in front of Lincoln High School in East St. Louis, Ill.
Ward is one of 10 women to be honored by AWSM as a national Mary Garber Pioneer Award winner.

Please write a combined five things you learned from Don and Julie no later than 30 minutes before the start of class Tuesday March 17 (I suggest you do this sooner than later).

Who's your columnist #7

Your comment must be posted no later than 30 minutes before the Tuesday March 17 class. Although you have two weeks to post, I hope you will follow through sooner than later.

You must include the URL of the column so that your classmates can read the column, too. Let me know if you have any questions.

Pictured above: George Vecsey, venerable New York Times columnist, who no one chose to follow this semester. So, I often post Vecsey columns on our class blog feed. Why do I like Vescey so much? He often writes about the meaning of sports, much like Robert Lipsyte used to do for the Times and occasionally for USA Today on the Op-Ed page.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Who's your columnist #6

Your comment must be posted no later than 30 minutes before the Tuesday March 3 class.

You must include the URL of the column so that your classmates can read the column, too.

Let me know if you have any questions.

Pictured above: Woody Paige of the Denver Post. Kevin Healy is following the long-time Denver sports columnist and ESPN guest. Paige was one of the first sports columnists to understand the importance of working across multiple media platforms.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

BJ Koubaroulis: 3 things

Washington Post prep sports writer and cross-platform journalist BJ Koubaroulis was our guest in class Feb. 19.

GRADED EXERCISE: In the comments section below, add the three things you learned from BJ's presentation. Deadline is 30 minutes before class on Tuesday Feb. 24. No exceptions!

Who's your columnist #5

Hey -- home come no one pinged me for not getting this up earlier?!
Your comment must be posted no later than 30 minutes before the Tuesday Feb. 24 class.

You must include the URL of the column so that your classmates can read the column, too.

Let me know if you have any questions.

Pictured at right: Bob Ryan of the Boston Globe. Ben Libby is following the long-time Boston and New England sports columnist this semester.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Jon DeNunzio: 3 things

Jon DeNunzio is sports editor of

In the comments section below, add the three things you learned from Jon's presentation. Deadline is 30 minutes before class on Tuesday Feb. 17. No exceptions!

Monday, February 9, 2009

Who's your columnist #4

Your comment must be posted no later than 30 minutes before the Tuesday Feb. 17 class.

You must include the URL of the column so that your classmates can read the column, too.

Let me know if you have any questions.

Pictured at right: Michael Wilbon of the Washington Post. Brendan Murphy is following the cross-platform PTI star this semester.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Alan Goldenbach answers back

Here are the Washington Post's Alan Goldenbach's answers to many of your questions. I think we all owe Alan a big thank you for this:

Grant Paulson

1. I noticed that your article from today's paper was co-written with Jeff Nelson. How does that work? Can you explain the roles of both writers in an article with two writers in the byline?

Shared byline stories can happen two different ways. The story to which you referred was a notebook - three or four separate notes, each set off by a sub-head, but put together into one article because they share a common thread: they were all about basketball in a particular geographic area. I wrote a couple of those notes; Jeff wrote a couple. You see this a lot in notebooks. The other way bylines are shared is when two or more reporters work together on a story, each doing some of the reporting to get all the information. Usually only one of the reporters actually writes the whole story, though he'll take what are called "feeds" from other reporters assisting him. For example, say I was working with another reporter, and I was the lead reporter on the story. He would do some reporting and then send me a few paragraphs summarizing the reporting he did that could either go directly into the story, or would be reworded by me to fit into the way I was organizing the story. As you can see, shared bylines can get very messy if the reporters are not communicating their ideas well to one another.

2. In what ways do you have to write differently when you're covering high school sports?

I think I covered this question a bit in class today. You cannot hold high school athletes to the same standards as college or pro athletes. It's why I will never mention a kid by name who makes an error, misses a shot or drops a pass. Rather, I'll just write, "DeMatha dropped a pass that would have been a touchdown in the third quarter"

3. Maureen Nasser told us that Washington Post writers conduct themselves more professionally than other writers at sporting events. Why do you think that is?

That's awfully nice of Maureen to say that, but really, it wouldn't matter if I was working at the Washington Post or the Podunk Post; I conduct myself the exact same way when I'm covering an event. My standard is pretty simple; I am aware that the best readers are naturally skeptical. They are looking for reasons to say, "Hey, that Goldenbach guy doesn't know what he's talking about," or "Hey, Alan is so biased toward the Orioles." I realize that EVERYTHING I say, do, or even wear can be scrutinized. Every reaction I make is also subject to criticism. That's why I make every effort to show zero emotion or present myself in any way that could be construed as having a vested interest in the outcome. In fact, if I'm covering a game, I'll make sure I'm not wearing the colors of one of the teams playing. Some colleagues have told me that that's going a bit (or lot) overboard, but I don't care. It removes any chance someone could have to question my ethics. I could go on and on about ethics, and would be happy to discuss that with you in greater depth if you'd like.

Chris Brooks

1. Of all the high school you cover, which team has made for the best stories this season and why?

People always love to ask me, "What's your favorite sport to cover?" I always give them the same response: "Whichever one has the best stories." I know that sounds like a cop-out, but I'd rather write a great story than watch a great game. Get this: Until about five years ago, I'd never watched a wrestling match in my life, and I thought the sport was a total freak show. Since then, I met Trevon Jenifer, who was the subject of a life-changing feature story for me, and I also wrote a feature last year about a blind high school wrestler, which allowed me to explore the world of blind athletes, a fascinating experience for me. What did I learn? I guarantee you I've never met a football or basketball player with anything close to the story of either of those two wrestlers.

Mike Foss

1. The last time you can to class, a piece of advice you extended was that a good writer should be attached to his or her story, but not to their subject. Could you elaborate on this?

One of most important distinctions I make in my reporting is between the story and the subject. I love my stories, but I am ambivalent about the stories’ subjects. I think a reporter’s best work comes when he immerses himself in the story and wants to unearth so much information that he could tell it as if it happened to him. In the course of your reporting, though, you don’t want to become attached to the people involved in that story. You might have an incredible story about someone who has such an incredible talent or ability or has exhibited such incredible kindness or generosity. It doesn’t mean the person is without flaws, or could subsequently have an incident that goes counter to what you reported. You want to keep yourself from throwing yourself entirely behind someone, only to find out there was some skeleton that compromises that person’s character or profile. It doesn’t diminish the story, though, so long as you isolate that episode from your story. This is what America – or, at least, I – learned from O.J. Simpson. He might have created a squeaky clean public image, but he apparently didn’t hold to that in his private life.

2. There are many elements in Trevon Jenifer's story that are inspiring, but what is the one thing that struck you about Jenifer that you think people may overlook?

In both my story about him in the Post, and the book I wrote about him, I tried to highlight the things most people overlooked about Trevon Jenifer because people made most of their judgments about him simply at face value. They looked at a boy with no legs or a black kid in a predominantly white neighborhood and became fascinated at how he assimilated himself. What I found even more compelling was following him through a day at school – seeing how he hurried to open a door, rather than let someone do it for him, or how he refused to let anyone carry his bookbag for him. This showed me how he wanted to be just like everyone else, even though he’s unlike anyone I’ve ever met. Ultimately, he’s someone with extraordinary abilities who wants to be seen as ordinary.

Fox Parker

1. When the economy bounces back, do you think sports hirings will, or has this economic downturn changed the understanding of what is needed for covering sports?

I think public demand will ultimately determine the type and quantity of sports coverage. Given how much value our society places on entertainment, I don’t ever see America’s thirst for sports diminishing. What’s different, though, is the manner in which sports are covered. We are in the midst of changing the way we communicate and receive information, and the providers of this information are trying to feel their way out, as well as trying to determine which method their customers want this information.

2. What's the most important thing to consider when developing a relationship with an athlete, coach or front office personnel?

Sources are looking for one thing from you – what you can do for them. Otherwise, there is no benefit for them to talk to you. I know this isn’t a glowing commentary on the human race, but you have to assume that people have no interest in helping you for the good of your story. That said, you have to show that you will handle whatever information they give you with the utmost confidence. That doesn’t mean you treat every conversation like you’re Bob Woodward in a parking garage with Deep Throat. Rather, you just have to show your sources that you will not be accurate, fair and honest. You don’t want to hide anything. I remember one particular story that had a pretty sharp edge to it, where some people could have come out looking pretty bad. When they didn’t, one of the sources called to tell me she loved the story, and thought it was wonderful. I asked her, “Was it fair?” She said it was. I told her, “I don’t care if you loved or hated every word, but rather that you thought every word was fair.”

3. What is different in the approach of a high school story compared to a college or pro story?

No matter how much we hear that high school athletes all think they’re going to be the next Michael Jordan or Joe Montana, you have to assume that they are simply playing for these four years, and after they get a cap and gown, will never play organized sports again. I know that’s awfully idealistic, but the fact is, high school athletes, by and large, are not getting athletic scholarships, and they certainly aren’t getting paychecks for playing. I would also make a clear distinction between major college athletes (i.e., Division I football and basketball players) and the rest of college athletes. The former are part of a billion-dollar moneymaking machine. They understand that, by accepting the school’s scholarship offer, they are there to help the school make money. It is a business arrangement for which they must be held accountable. The volleyball player at a Division II school is not held to the same standard.

Colby Prout

1. Do you find more enjoyment in writing a game story and interviewing the players, or a more human interest type story?

I stopped getting exciting about being at a high-profile sporting event a few years ago. I looked around the press box, saw dozens of other reporters there, thought about the thousands, if not millions, of others watching the game on television, and thought to myself – what am I going to be able to tell people that they don’t already know? That’s the drawback of a game story – the games are what attract readers/spectators, but that means that’s also what they see. I want to tell readers what they didn’t or couldn’t see at the game.

2. How much interviewing and research do you generally do for a story before the angle is really revealed to you? Do you go in with one idea to help direct your questions and come out with another altogether?

A reporter should never enter a story with a pre-conceived idea of what the story will say; that’s why you report. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t come in with some ideas of what you’ve heard before, but make sure you ask some questions to either prove or disprove what you’ve heard. You should also pay attention and let what you see, hear or read about a subject dictate the path of your reporting. A lot of it is instinct; when you see or hear something interesting, follow it. Ask.

Colin Fitzgerald

1. How do you decide what teams or stories deserve coverage?

Editors make most of the decisions about which teams, games or stories are covered, but often do so in concert with reporters, who are “out in the field” and can tell them what’s happening that might not be appearing in stories, but are newsworthy nonetheless. Ultimately, we try to figure which stories have the most wide-ranging appeal. We are, after all, in the mass media business. We need to find stories that will have the largest consumption. If you can figure out a formula for this, I’d love to be your agent. Editors and writers debate daily about which stories merit coverage, and no matter what they decide, at least one reader isn’t going to be happy.

2. How many editors read your articles before they are published?

With newspapers slashing staff in recent years, the number of editors has dipped dramatically. I think that’s an awful consequence because I can’t tell you how many times I’ve made a glaring factual mistake on deadline simply because I didn’t have enough time to re-read my story closely enough to catch that mistake. Copy editors, though, are trained to go over every story with a fine-tooth comb, and question every fact, word, and comma to make sure it’s correct. They’re the ones who’ve saved my butt countless time and I can never be appreciative enough. With stories on deadline, like game stories, usually two or three editors will read the story. For larger feature or enterprise stories that are written well in advance, probably a half-dozen editors will give it a look. For a story like, say, the Pulitzer Prize-winning series on Walter Reed from a couple years ago, I’d guess at least a dozen editors read those stories. The bigger the story, the more you don’t want to make a mistake.

Eric Vitoff

1. What kind of experiences have you had with the GMU athletic department?

I have had exactly zero interaction with the George Mason athletic department. I’ve never covered a game, nor have I written any stories about Mason athletics, so I’m sorry I can’t give you some first-hand experience. I can tell you some of my colleagues have had wonderful things to say about Jim Larranaga, adding that he is accessible, which, aside from honesty, is the single-most important characteristic you want in a source.

2. What kind of involvement do you think the Obama administration will have with American sports going forward?

I really don’t know what kind of involvement the Obama administration will have with athletics. I know the President has shown himself to be a big sports fan, and has keenly recognized that sports can be a very powerful tool for accomplishing things with the American public. I’m sure, however, he also knows there are many issues of more immediate concern than sports. That said, President Bush had a prominent background in sports (he was president of a Major League Baseball team), and he chose not to take an active role in the operations of sports.

3. As someone who covers high school sports, what was your opinion of the "Friday Night Lights" series?

I’ve never watched the television show “Friday Night Lights,” but I can say that the book was a transcendental piece of writing in American popular culture. It highlighted America’s fixation on sports, fame and youth and how they were all intertwined.

Evan Benton

1. How would you describe your collaboration with Trevon Jenifer in the book, "From the Ground Up"?

Trevon and I began writing the book with a very simple understanding – he couldn’t write the book without me, and I couldn’t sell the book without him. I began writing the book about a year after I met him, but continued to report the book while I writing. I would write sections or chapters and then let him read over them to see if I accurately portrayed his thoughts, or I would make sure certain facts or feelings were true before writing them. It was a very easy and free relationship because we both understood our roles.

Andrew Schaffer

1. Do you feel the journalism profession declining or simply moving from the print world to the online world?

Consider what constitutes journalism – the reporting and commenting of news. As long as news is happening, there’s going to be a journalism profession. What form it takes, well, that’s the billion-dollar question. Twenty years ago, who thought this thing called the Internet would dominate our lives the way it has? What might be the vehicle for information 20 years from now? That’s why I emphasize to everyone – journalists and non-journalists alike – that no matter what form journalism next takes, we all still need to be able to discern good, reliable information from the contrary.

Joe Grimberg

1. What made you decide on your career path?

I grew up reading newspapers. It was just something my parents did, and I followed their lead everyday. During my teenage years, I became interested in how news was reported because I was always curious about how people got their information before everyone else. From there, I decided to examine different ways to report news – I joined by college newspaper, and tried freelancing in order to satisfy my curiosity about print media. I also interned at a television station to see if broadcast interested me more. I think you can tell which field won.

Diana Friedman

1. In your article from Friday, Jan. 30, you had to cover a tragic story. Was that your first of that nature?

I think I mentioned this in class, but it bears repeating. This sounds callous and harsh, but death provides some terrific material for a journalist. It allows you to see people’s most primitive emotions, and they are often startling. This follows the old sportswriting adage that the best story isn’t in the winning team’s lockerroom, but the losing team’s. I think you can find insincerities in happiness, but not in sadness, and perhaps that’s what attracts me to stories of this ilk.

2. Have you worked in any medium other than newspapers? If yes, what has been your favorite any why? If no, what attracted you to newspapers and has kept you there?

I spent a summer in college interning for a television station in New York to see if there were other media in which I wanted to work. I find print to be the most genuine and possessing the greatest depth (Of course, there are exceptions, like 60 Minutes or Real Sports, the two television shows that I simply cannot miss, and there are plenty of print publications that are irresponsible or inaccurate). Consider how news in digested in print (or written, for the digital age) versus broadcast. In print, you can take your time, digest each sentence, or even re-read something if you missed it, or go back earlier in a story if you need a reminder. In broadcast (forget Tivo, for a moment), you don’t have that luxury. I think that forces print journalists to be supremely confident in their work. I look over every sentence of a story and, if I don’t believe it to be 100 percent true, then I don’t write it. I delete it.

Brendan Murphy

1. The Washington Post is very competitive, but what kind of field experience is required of an entry sports journalist position? What would you recommend to us students interested in working for the Post in the future?

High competition isn’t limited to The Post; it’s everywhere in journalism, not just because there are many more people chasing a select few jobs at established media outlets, but also because it’s the nature of the business. You are competing with others for information, so you’re naturally going to compete with them for better jobs. For anyone with an ambition to work for The Post, or anywhere with a strong reputation, make sure you can do the basics very, very well – be able to get information, no matter how difficult the circumstances are; be able to convey the importance of a story in a creative way, be able to conduct yourself in a professional manner; and, most importantly, be able to do this pretty quickly. After all, deadline is approaching.

2. Did you get assigned the Trevon Jenifer story or did you choose to write it? What did that story do for you as a journalist?

The Trevon Jenifer story I found when a source called me and said that I “had to meet this kid.” The story had a greater impact on me professionally more than any other because it essentially led me down the path I’ve taken; I now appreciate stories that tell more about us, than just tell us about what just happened. I also appreciate stories that allow me access to people in all facets of their lives, not just the facets that a public relations staff would like me to see.

3. Professor Klein's class focuses heavily on the rules of AP style. How did you master the rules and what advice would you give to us trying to do the same?

When you started driving, did you know every rule in the VDOT Handbook? Probably not. How about now? After a few years of driving, you get to know a lot of the rules simply by repetition. It’s the same thing with the AP Stylebook. If you write enough stories – and make enough mistakes – you’ll absorb a lot of the rules subconsciously.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Alan Goldenbach: 3 things

Alan Goldenbach is a feature writer and high school sports reporter for the Washington Post.

GRADED EXERCISE: In the comments section below, add the three things you learned from Alan Goldenbach's presentation on Feb. 5. Deadline is 30 minutes before class on Tuesday Feb. 10. No exceptions!

Photo credit: Mark Gail/Washington Post

Monday, February 2, 2009

Who's your columnist #3

Your comment must be posted no later than 30 minutes before the Tuesday Feb. 10 class.

You must include the URL of the column so that your classmates can read the column, too.

Let me know if you have any questions.

Pictured at right: Rick Reilly, formerly of Sports Illustrated, now with ESPN (the magazine). Mike Foss is following the life of Reilly this semester.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Who's your columnist #2

Your comment must be posted no later than 30 minutes before the Tuesday Feb. 3 class.

You must include the URL of the column so that your classmates can read the column, too.

Let me know if you have any questions.

Pictured at right: John Harper of the New York Daily News (Sara Ronken will be following Harper this semester).

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Maureen Nasser: 3 things

Maureen Nasser is in her fifth year as Assistant Athletic Director for Media Relations.
Here's an
interview with Maureen.
Also see this
site for information about covering sports at George Mason.

If you plan to cover a George Mason sports event, you must notify the instructor by e-mail a minimum of 24 hours before the game or event so that I can forward your e-mail to the sports information office.
Your SUBJECT line MUST include Comm371-001/Sports Writing & Reporting, the game or event you want to cover, and the date.

GRADED EXERCISE: In the comments section below, add the three things you learned from Maureen Nasser's presentation. Deadline is 30 minutes before class on Tuesday Feb. 3. No exceptions!

Who's your columnist #1

Your comment must be posted by 30 minutes before the Tuesday Jan. 27 class.
You must include the URL of the column so that others can read the column, too.
Let me know if you have any questions.

Pictured at right: ESPN's Bill Simmons, the Sports Guy (Eric Vitoff will be following Simmons this semester).

Sports columnists, books, movies and stuff

Gunston may be on the back burner at George Mason University, but the Tickle Me Gunston blog for Comm371-001/Sports Writing & Reporting is back!
So, welcome to the class. You become a part of a network of nine years of students have taken this class before you. That is not insignificant, as you will learn throughout the semester.

But first things first: Have you taken Comm303/Writing Across Media? I ask because that course provides you with a foundation in Associated Press Style, which we use in journalism and this course. Without that foundation, you will struggle to succeed in this class. So if you lack that foundation, you need to talk with me.

Now to some resources:
-- Everyone is responsible for following a
sports columnist throughout the semester (Eric Vitoff has already requested Bill Simmons of ESPN). I will assign the columnists on a first-come basis and list them with links online in your syllabus.
-- Everyone is responsible for choosing a
sports-related book and sports-related movie, writing a 2-page, double-spaced review, and giving an short presentation in class (again, see your syllabus).

We will review all this in class.
See you in 319 Innovation Hall!