Brainstorming: ideas for sports departments
By Scott Morrison
The Monday final session of “Sports Journalism: Staying on top in the digital age” was a brainstorming period in which everyone in attendance was invited to share things that their papers did to make their sports sections or websites more viable. Here are a few of the main story ideas followed by a few key takeaways from the event as a whole:
- Title IX 40th anniversary – Find your coverage area’s pioneer female college athletes if you cover a college and do a story on them and their experiences.
- Election year theme – Use a campaign speech format or have players/coaches give campaign speeches for fall high school sports previews.
- Cover high school all-star teams – Select and feature area all-star teams as well as player and coaches of the year. Introduce all-academic team for high school students in the area profiling the brightest students.
- Make a special wrapped or double-truck section featuring one player or a team. Include lineups, Q and A’s, graphics, etc.
- 5 Things to Watch graphic-heavy story capsules.
- Top 10 stories of the year/season broken down in new ways.
- Introduce team specific mobile apps.
- Imitate what you like as a fan in your own paper.
- Create a “By the Numbers” section which can bring interesting stats or facts to light in a context other than a story.
Here are a few of the big takeaway points for everyone to take back in their own careers.
- Utilize more alternate story forms such as Q and A stories, graphic stories, etc.
- Show your face in order to build trust and relationships with sources.
- Use Twitter to move people toward your site.
- Give something that readers cannot get from another source.