Internship Insider: Telling the same old story for the first time
Very rarely in your sportswriting careers will you actually break news or be the first to react to any given topic. In fact, your editors are likely to assign pieces dealing with stories that have already been through the ringer more than once.
Chances are pretty good that you’ll be assigned to write on things that YOU have already tackled before!
So, how do you make the same old argument, story or premise feel fresh and exciting?
Just as you’ve been taught to increase objectivity by proofreading and arguing through another set of eyes, you can change a story angle by altering your perspective, focal audience or both. Sure, you always want to be yourself, but it’s a lot of fun to try to get inside the head of:
1. A fan who strongly disagrees on the issue. (Picking the opposite of what you feel and then stating this contrary opinion, only to prove it wrong and come back to your actual conviction, is fairly effective and entertaining.)
2. How the opposing players/teams view a player/team/event.
3. The coach/GM/owner’s perspective.
4. A complete outsider to the topic.
5. How teammates view a player/team/issue.
6. How the actual player/coach might view himself/herself.
7. How the event/person will be viewed in historical perspective. (one, 10 or a hundred years from now)
The possibilities are actually endless: You can probably think of at least half a dozen additional perspectives to write from or to. Regardless of the voice or audience you select, each one can vastly alter the angle, tone and ultimate conclusion.
Even as you still bring your thoughts to the table, it’s surprising how often this approach may change your own perspective on a particular story. This valuable experience can help you grow into a more balanced and knowledgeable writer.
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.