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Brainstorming: ideas for sports departments

June 28, 2012

By Scott Morrison
Wabash College

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.

  1. Utilize more alternate story forms such as Q and A stories, graphic stories, etc.
  2. Show your face in order to build trust and relationships with sources.
  3. Use Twitter to move people toward your site.
  4. Give something that readers cannot get from another source.

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