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Sep 22 / Joel Cordes

Internship Insider: Introduction slides, quotes & generalizations

Here are some highlights in this week’s mailbag from the Bleacher Report Sports Writing Internship program.
What’s the best way to start a slide that’s part of a list?
 - Just get into it.  You don’t need to tell us that “the first team to slide into the top 15 is…” when your slide headline already just told us who they were.
Why a Slideshow’s introduction so important?
- We’ve obviously covered the importance of ledes & keywords a lot so far.  I think everyone is understanding that by now.  Let’s concentrate on two other main features:
1. First impressions - You absolutely CAN’T make routine errors in the Introduction slide. If you misspell/misuse a word/phrase on the first slide, it will scuttle your article in the eyes of a Placement Editor or reader before it even gets out of port.   An editor/reader will simply assume, “this writer didn’t even care enough to proofread her/his first few paragraphs, so he/she didn’t care for the rest of it either.  Why should I even care to place this article at all?”

2. Your only chance to set the scope - Don’t make your introduction slide a series of unrelated observations.  Don’t expect your readers should be connecting your thought dots for you.  You have a story to tell, but a Slideshow is probably a list (pretty popular at B/R, right?).  Your introduction slide needs to give the pertinent back story, set the ground rules for your selections/observations, draw the story lines that your subsequent slides will color in and have strong enough transitions to tie it all together…  That’s a lot to do in just a few paragraphs and is absolutely why the most thought/work must go into making this slide fantastic.
Don’t Forget:

- Avoid beginning sentences with “but” when possible (“but” should mostly be used as conjunction for binding clauses together into a sentence).  It’s far better to use “However” and a comma instead.
- Always try to include a hyperlink for a quote you’re citing.  When the quote is more than a sentence, be sure to also use the quote tool in the writers’ interface.
- What’s probably the No. 1 word usage error throughout the semester?  “Re-sign” vs. “Resign.”  The first is when someone signs the dotted line to return, the second is when somebody quits…
- If you’re going to declare a team to be this or that, pick a game one way or another, etc. then you need to include specific logic/evidence as to why you believe what you do.  For example, it’s a hanging statement and a cop-out to just say “Seattle is a bad team.”  Your job is to tell the readers WHY.  They can come up with generalizations on their own.

 Joel Cordes is Bleacher Report’s Internship Program Feedback Editor. Each week (along with contributor Greg Pearl) he includes some hints, tips and answers in an email to those participating in the B/R Sports Writing Internship, the highlights of which are shared with the B/R Blog.