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Nov 8 / Charles Kingsbury

Creative story angles will separate you from the sportswriting crowd

Every great story starts with a great idea. That means that hashing out new story angles is half the battle when it comes to sportswriting.

Over the last two months with Bleacher Report’s Advanced Program in Sports Media, I’ve come to realize the importance of creating original, creative material.

In a world where trends rule and a dozen or so media outlets report the same news, it’s important to produce story angles that allow you to separate yourself from the rest of the pack.

And over these last two months, I’ve made a conscious effort to think creatively to better serve my audience.

The beauty of writing for Bleacher Report is not having restrictions on the content we can write about, beyond the restriction that it has to be about sports. Unlike a local beat reporter, we aren’t confined to reporting on recent injuries or depth-chart changes. 

As a sportswriter for Bleacher Report, you’re given an incredible platform to write on. Gone are “notebooks,” sidebars and standard game-recap stories.

Take advantage of what is given to you.

I was lucky enough to meet ESPN’s John Clayton in February during Super Bowl media week. He told me that he made his mark by studying and understanding the NFL’s salary cap during the 1970s, when other sportswriters were turning a blind eye to it.

He made himself valuable by finding an angle that nobody else was writing about. Consider yourself in competition with other media members looking for cutting-edge news angles and story lines, and look for what other people may be ignoring.

Don’t write about mainstream topics. Dare to be different. Never hesitate to make suggestions or go to the opposite field with your story ideas. It could pay dividends and drive your readership.

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Charles Kingsbury is in the Fall class. Follow him on Twitter @chuckkingsbury.

One Thing You Need to Know is a series in which we ask members of the Bleacher Report Advanced Program in Sports Media to write about just that: One thing they’ve learned that they would pass along to other aspiring writers.