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Aug 12 / Joel Cordes

Internship Insider: Keys to the Writing Game – Part I

These are some of the “big picture” hints that have really been helpful to our interns and will be valuable to all B/R writers in general.  Feel free to tape this next to your computer. Read Part 2 here and Part 3 here.

1. Search Engine Optimization
- If people can’t find your article, it doesn’t exist.  Keywords are more important than clever lines.  Full names for your keywords are a must, along with timely choices.

2. Sports Editorial is different than Sports Reporting
-  Sports reporting will always have a foundational role in this media: It is facts and information.  It is the lines that form the boundaries of the sports picture.  It must be legible.

Editorial, on the other hand, is opinion.  It is a unique response to the facts.  It is the picture’s color.  It can be beautiful.  A complete sportswriter can both report and editorialize.  Reporting plants a thought.  Editorial gets you THINKING.

3. Forward Thinking
- Recapping the past is fine and all; there is a place for that.  On the other hand, people have largely made their reactions and formed their opinions of the past, and they do so quickly before moving on.  Few can be the first to report something, and far fewer can do it uniquely.

Your reaction may not be much different than many others’ out there (including writers).  Yet, looking ahead at what’s to come is ALWAYS unique.  No one can predict the future, but anyone can try, and it’s usually quite interesting to an even broader audience for a longer period of time.  Take the past and recap it, but apply it to what is yet to come.

4. Professional Polish
- You’re not a pro until your work looks like it.  Whether you have an editor or not, you won’t make it very far if your grammar gets in the way of your ideas.  If you have to rely on a copy editor as a crutch, chances are you’re not going to get hired into the kind of writing job where you’d even get one.  Mistakes are OK, but only if you get better from them.  Be your own best proofreader.

Read Part II

Joel Cordes is Bleacher Report’s Internship Program Feedback Editor. Each week, he includes some hints and tips and answers questions in an email to those participating in the B/R Sports Writing Internship, the highlights of which are posted on the B/R Blog.