Internship Insider: How to cook delicious sports editorial
It’s a dash of many flavors that make the tastiest dish.
Whether you love cooking or just the eating part, the aforementioned is true in more than just the kitchen.
Emerging writers often struggle with the selection and use of their ingredients: “How many stats should I use? Which links should I include? How many videos? What do you mean I’m overusing a word or turn of phrase?”
Pick any basic dish you like. Whether it’s a cut of meat, a vegetable, etc., you chose it for the base part. You don’t eat a steak to get to the pepper.
In the same way, your base part as a sportswriter is the STORY. You are an editorialist at Bleacher Report, and the narrative must rise above all other parts. You don’t read a sports article for the stats or video. You can find those elsewhere if that’s what you’re really after.
However, that steak is awfully plain without some seasoning and fixin’s.
There are certainly a lot of spices available in your B/R kitchen. Photos, slideshows, stats, video and links are all ways to flavor up your narrative.
Still, just as a dish ranges anywhere from slightly ruined to completely inedible when overseasoned, your article can quickly go off track if the story begins serving the resources, rather than the other way around.
Less isn’t always more, but well done is.
Your readers want a VARIETY of ingredients. Don’t fall into a rut by structuring every slide the exact same way or using the same resource type in lock-step fashion. For example, you don’t always have to use the exact same stat type for each player, unless it serves as an apples to apples comparison.
Excluding only the most common articles and conjunctions, avoid using a word twice per sentence. Better yet, try not to even use them in the same paragraph. Use a unique turn of phrase only once in an article.
Now that you’re good and hungry, here’s a different analogy:
You are an artist of words. The words, their order and unique turns of phrase are what make your voice unique. Use the biggest possible pallet. Paint with as many hues as possible, rather than just one color on a broad brush.
Joel C. Cordes is Bleacher Report’s Sportswriting Internship Program Feedback Editor. Along with fellow editor Greg Pearl, he develops B/R interns by providing feedback and mentoring, the highlights of which are shared with the B/R Blog.