I was inspired to write this after participating on Tuesday's NAIA-SIDA Call "Writing - Is There a Rght Way? Or Are There Many Ways To Write a Recap/Feature Story?"
By ROB KNOX (@knoxrob1)
There’s no wrong or right way to write a game recap, feature story, general announcement, staff hiring, or game postponement story.
Every style is right as long as the grammar agrees, the information is factual and the ultimate message you’re trying to convey is clear and concise.
There has been an on-going tug-of-war with what’s the right and/or best way to write a recap. The simple answer is whatever works for your audience, school, skill level, and media market. I am here to say that all forms of writing still have a place in our business.
Bullet point recaps are great and get to the point quickly. They don’t take much time to write.
Narratives are awesome too. The value of writing a nice story whether it’s a game recap about a regular win, a milestone moment, great play, etc. shouldn't be dismissed. Those writings become historical treasures. You’ll be surprised at how many former student-athletes return back to the website to relive a moment, win, or just to reflect on their collegiate career.
Since I have a background in journalism and worked five years as a sports reporter for the Delaware County Daily Times, I prefer developing narratives and writing feature story-themed recaps. That doesn’t make what I do wrong or right. It’s a preference. I was reading newspapers consistently since I was 10 years old. In high school, I brought three newspapers every morning. It was the best $1 I spent each day.
The transition from sports reporting to athletic communications was easy for me. I treated every game or interview like I did when I worked at the newspaper.
However, when I returned back to athletic communications industry in 2013 after two years at ESPN, I saw how the industry changed in regards to the way information is consumed. It became more digital. More instantaneous. In my opinion, developing narratives, producing quality writing, thinking, and creativity weren’t as important or valued.
It was a struggle adjusting at first, but eventually I found a balance between the narratives and short recaps. I have come to appreciate bullet point recaps especially during road games in which I travel with the teams. They are quick, short, and write themselves if you jot down key things during the game that contributes to the outcome.
I like having fun with my writing. My goal in almost everything I write is to inform, entertain, paint pictures with words, and make people think. I like placing people at the event with me and providing a perspective of an event or a person in which nobody can find anywhere else unless they read my copy.
I think that’s an awesome quality to have as a writer because while we tell people things and recite facts, it’s nice on occasion to show as much as we possibly can.
During my time at Towson, I’ve been able to merge the narratives with bullet point recaps, which has been cool. I write four to five paragraphs of the story, set the scene, share important details that I observed before settling into bullet points. I only highlight the major moments and try to avoid as much play by play as possible.
Yes, I am old school. I love reading a newspaper, book, and magazine. I love long form journalism, metaphors, and clever phrases. Those traits will always be valued. Reading articles on my phone and Ipad are cool especially when I am riding on long bus trips or flying somewhere.
Quality writing will never go out of style. It just depends on your perspective of how long or short you want to write. One piece of advice I would share if you’re stranded between bullet points and a narrative is to let your moment dictate how you capture everything through your written words. It will become valued years from now.
At the end of the day, just have fun and let your words flow.