Wednesday, July 9, 2008

What is wrong with match reporting?

As some of you may know, I've been doing a bit of match reporting on the side. It's good experience in a sports-mad Australian market and I'm getting a cool grand for doing it too.

I thought it would be cool if I took y'all through the process behind writing a good match report (because I'm just that conceited).

Let's start with the match itself, and how to take notes on it.

There's no set rules on how you take notes during the game, but there's one thing that's a must. Legibility. If I had a dollar for every time I've gotten home from a game, looked at my notes and just thought 'wah....gah....zah?' I'd be cruising in the Carribean with a model on each arm...good looking ones.

Anyhow, you can't write a report from memory, so make sure your notes are legible. Secondly, work out a system early.

If you start with a page and try to write down everything you see, you will end up with 20 pages of notes and a headache. You need to clearly label things like shots, goals, injuries, and the time they occurred.

If you do what I've described above, you'll have the bones of your report. To make it sparkle however, you've got to give the reader theoppurtunity to 'be there'.

By this I mean, including things like 'They controlled the ball well, creating space to work into' or 'they upped the tempo after half time'. These seem like small things, but they'll lend you report a great deal of credibility, and set you apart from the next guy.

Once you have your report done, you've got to keep in mind that you need to be flexible.

For example, at the moment I write for an actual sporting body. I write a main report for their site which usually comes in at around 300-400 words and gives a throrough overview of the game. Then, I have to send off a report to various community newspapers.

This brings up two things.

Number one, they're only after about 150 words, so you have to take the scapel to your article, to give the papers the bare bones. It's a challenge to say the least. The second complication is thinking about your audience. For example, if you send off your article to a paper whoch covers the area team B is based on, they probably don't want to see the headline "Team A post stirring win", it's probably best to go with "Team B narrolwly lose".

Anyhow, I hope I gave any aspiring student journos a little insight into match reporting. It's definitely something that'll help increase your skill set and you get to take in a game too.

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