Last Saturday, I wrote my first sports piece for the publication where I intern. I had covered sporting events before for other publications, but this was the first time I had done so at a collegiate level. I wasn’t very nervous about the actual coverage of the game — I’ve been a football fan my whole life, and I understand the statistics behind it — as I was about the little things that went into the overall reporting process.
For example, I had never been in a press box before. How would I be able to read the numbers of the players? Where do I go after the game to interview the players? Do I need to find the school’s PR rep. to request interviews? The coach does a radio broadcast after the game, and I’m on a short deadline — should I wait for him to do an interview? How many sandwiches am I allowed to take off the press buffet table? SO MANY QUESTIONS.
Just like every other new reporting experience I have had, though, it went much more smoothly than I originally thought: the players numbers and statistics were shown on a screen in the box, the school’s PR rep. found me and quickly took me down to the field where I interviewed the coach and players and I was able to snag THREE sandwiches off the buffet table before an AP journalist started giving me dirty looks.
These are the types of questions experienced sports journalists don’t even think about, as they’ve probably covered hundreds of football games. But, as a young journalist, I’m learning that different types of events require different types of routines, authorizations and interview styles. With each new event I cover, I continue to grow and learn.