Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Tips: How to write a football story


(Starting today, I'm going to start a series of tips for aspiring football writers out there who want to start their own blogs, or even, aspire to become a sportswriter.  Don't be afraid, this is how I started.  I don't have a mass com or even journalism degree.  My only journalistic training were the ones I had in elementary and high school)


There are a lot of football blogs out there, but unfortunately, there are not that many original content as most blogs just re-publish what gets posted in traditional media, and I think, doing that basically defeats the purpose of having a blog.


So, I’m coming up with a brief tutorial on how fans can start their own blog, and this, I think, would be a bit helpful too for FAs in areas that do not have a community paper which could print local football-related content.



Starting a blog is easy, and coming up with original footie stories is also easy after a bit of practice. There are a lot of football development that is being ignored and your blog can focus on that.


Let us take for example, Leyte and South Cotabato, two areas where there is a strong football community but is ignored by traditional media because the absence of one.  Both FAs, could start their own blogs and focus on stories involving their players, FAs and clubs.


Now, how do you write a football story and who gets to write one?  Well, anyone with a sound grasp of the English language (if you want to use this medium) and a basic understanding of the rules of the game can come up with a match report.


There are basically two types of stories—match reports and advancers.  And before you start with both you have to identify the basics—the 5Ws and 1H (that’s the bread and butter of journalism)


For our sample story, we will use the following:


WHAT: Suzuki Cup Visayas eliminations
WHO: Cebu, Leyte
WHERE: Aboitiz Sports Field
WHEN: April 20 
HOW: CEBU won, 5-0
WHY: Cebu was clearly superior in all aspects 


Now, before you start writing your story, you have to consider your audience, as that should guide your “perspective” or “angle.”  If you are writing for Leyte FA, then you should have the Leyte team in mind, and not Cebu.


Now that you have the 5Ws, how do you construct that in a sentence? The most effective way is the simplest way through this:


Leyte lost to Cebu, 5-0, in the Suzuki Cup Under 23 Visayas Eliminations at the Aboitiz Sports Field last April 20.


What you have now is the lead (or lede as some spell it) and I always advise that you start with the basic terms, don’t go “bashing” or all that sports mumbo-jumbo that has long since gone out of style anyway.


Now that you have the lead, what do you do next?  For your next paragraph, expand the “How” and you can get this by, taking notes (more on this in the next tutorial) when you watch the game or by interviewing the coach if you didn’t and asking the right questions. How do you expand the how?


For the purpose of this exercise, I’ll make up a few facts: Let’s say, I interviewed a Leyte FA coach and from him, I learned that Cebu got their goals from Jay Rome (25th, 69th, 81st) and Michael Roma (12th and 47th).


How then do you construct that to a paragraph? It’s simple. Since you writing for Leyte, you use chronology.  You may use the personality angle if you are winning, since this angle helps promote your player.


For chronology: 


Leyte FA conceded the first goal in the 12th from Michael Roma and was down 2-0 in the 25th after Jay Rome scored the first of his three goals.


It was 3-0 in the 47th and Rome made it 4-0 in the 69th before getting the final goal in the 81st


What’s next after that?


Since this is just a simple sports story, you can end your article by expound on the “why or what,” which basically focuses on the significance of the event, which in this sample story is Cebu’s 5-0 win over Leyte.


You may do that through this (and these are all made-up facts): 


Leyte now has a 1-4 win loss record in the elimination, while Cebu improved to 2-4 for third place. Leyte will next face Negros on April 27, while Cebu takes on Iloilo.


So, basically, what you have is this:


Leyte lost to Cebu, 5-0, in the Suzuki Cup Under 23 Visayas Eliminations at the Aboitiz Sports Field last April 20.


Leyte FA conceded the first goal in the 12th from Michael Roma and was down 2-0 in the 25th after Jay Rome scored the first of his three goals.


It was 3-0 in the 47th and Rome made it 4-0 in the 69th before getting the final goal in the 81st. 


Leyte now has a 1-4 win loss record in the elimination, while Cebu improved to 2-4 for third place. Leyte will next face Negros on April 27, while Cebu takes on Iloilo.


It’s just a simple four-paragraph story, but it’s a start. And a four-paragraph story about your team or FA is better than a one-line mention in the broadsheet. If you continue writing, you’d eventually develop your own style and I’d probably run a few more tips in the next few days.


P.S. Is it Leyte lost to Cebu, 5-0, or Leyte lost to Cebu, 0-5?  Some outfits use the 0-5 but I use the winner’s score-always-first approach, as it is better that way once you get to the play-by-play or running score.  What is important though, once you decide to choose which style, stick to it.


If you have questions, feel free to e-mail (mikelimpag@gmail.com) .


Why did I start this? Well, so many match-reports involve only the UFL or Azkals. I’m sure some of the fans want updates about their own teams or FAs. Starting a blog helps since, every body’s got internet access these days—the players, fans and even the refs.


That’s it for now.

1 comment:

Wiking said...

Ok Mike, now you come out with this! You're late, or was I too early?

Anyway, valuable info, thanks!