Wick Communications

The seven-paragraph sports story

In sports on April 13, 2017 at 12:44 pm

Here’s another revelation from our regular editor conference calls: A template for sports stories.

Several of us were discussing how to report sports in the modern era. Most people who care about the games know the result from friends on social media or phone alerts before we get the story online or in print. The day of the regular sports gamer has pretty much come and gone.

Jonathan Clark at the Nogales International shared an ingenious invention that is essentially a sports game story format. It’s a recognition that these things can be pretty rote (in fact, there are now computer programs using machine learning to write high school gamers in the blink of an eye) and that some of us are using inexperienced sports reporters who didn’t grow up at the ballpark.

The format is really a seven-paragraph template designed to get a reporter in and out of the story in a matter of minutes. It could be really helpful when all you know about a game is what a coach tells you on the phone. Simply ask him questions that would fill in the format.

So here it is. It’s not gospel. There is no rule that a quote come in the third paragraph. You can change it. Move up the stuff about upcoming games or format that into a box. Just recognize that it’s a good idea, one that you might manipulate for city council meetings or anything that requires a novice to cover something for the first time. Read on to see the format:

 

Sports game story format

Graf 1 (lede): Result with detail

  • The Rio Rico Lady Hawks came from behind Friday night to beat Desert View 44-38 for their first girls basketball victory of the season.

Graf 2: Follow-up detail and context

  • Sophomore Carmen Ibarra had nine points and six rebounds as Rio Rico snapped a three-game losing streak.

Graf 3: Comment on result or context

  • “I was very proud of the girls, especially the way they maintained their composure at the end,” coach Ricardo Villarreal said. “They really fought for that win.”

Graf 4-5: More game detail and stats

  • The game was knotted 29-29 at halftime after Rio Rico junior Priscilla Bolaños hit two three-pointers to tie the score. In the third quarter, the Lady Hawks’ full-court pressure turned the tide in their favor.
  • Maria Castillo, a freshman, added seven points and Bolaños had six points and five assists for RRHS.

Graf 6: Additional comment

  • “It was a great team win,” Rio Rico senior Norma Gonzalez said. “Hopefully this will give us some confidence as the season progresses.”

Graf 7: Upcoming action and season record

  • The Lady Hawks (1-3) return to action Friday when they travel to Tucson to take on Sunnyside. Their next home game is Dec. 18 against Santa Rita, starting at 7 p.m.

 

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