3 things the B/R Sportswriting Internship has taught me
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When I applied to the Bleacher Report Sportswriting Internship, I wrote that I wanted the program to challenge me in ways that no other sportswriting position had done before.
I can safely say my desire has been fulfilled.
So, what have I learned thus far?
Well, there is the obvious. The program emulates the type of systematic structure, both in the managing of writers and in the content itself, which can be found in any serious journalism job. At first, abiding by the specifics of the writing was difficult. But as is the case with most new things one can encounter in life, eventually these become second nature.
The weekly content email is an absolutely perfect way to develop content. There is a clearly stated deadline, but even with firm titles and topics, a good deal of freedom is left open. Assignments are given without stifling creativity.
But there are far more meaningful learning experiences than adhering to minor details.
First and foremost, this internship has further cemented the three necessary steps to the writing process: research, construction and revision.
Before I write a single word, I first construct an extensive outline on all my major points. This means conceptualizing my major claims, finding statistics to back them and scanning the web for what others are saying. It is also important to make sure I get the facts right, because whether or not I am an expert on an exact topic, the people who read the articles are. Or at least they seem to think so!
If the research is done well, the writing process is quick. In fact, I have learned through the program to not even begin writing until I feel like the structure is in place to make everything come easily.
Once the article is finished, I like to put it down for a little while. After reading something 10 straight times, it can become nearly impossible to find typos, misspellings or clunky paragraphs/sentences. Coming back after an hour or two illuminates these errors.
When I tell people that I want to be a sportswriter, I get a common question: “Who do you want to write like?” It’s a fair question, but largely through this internship, it is one I have grown to loathe.
Who do I want to write like? I want to write like nobody else. I want to write like myself.
Bill Simmons, Rick Reilly, Peter King and Michael Wilbon are all fine writers, but trying to emulate their style would do nothing but make my work come off as a cheap version of something that is already readily available.
It takes time to build a unique voice, and thankfully, the B/R internship has provided me with ample opportunities and the staff, peers and audience to let me know how I am progressing.
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