Sportscasters: take writing seriously

There are fundamental differences in writing for the ear as opposed to writing for the eye.  Adhering to these precepts is critical to writing good broadcast copy.  But style is nothing without substance and nothing is more substantive than the need to be accurate in your research.  This has to be your first rule in writing as well.  So, it tops our list of the many things to keep in mind when writing your sportscast, be it for television or radio:

  • Accuracy is paramount
  • The journalistic precepts of the Five W’s and the H (Who? What? Where? When? Why? and How?)
  • Attribution/direct quotes
  • Correct pronunciations
  • Correct grammar
  • Short sentences
  • Active tense
  • Take an angle
  • When applicable, lead with the latest
  • Giving each story its own individual treatment through writing
  • Give the background
  • Write conversationally
  • Use contractions
  • Mostly simple word usage
  • Write personably
  • Have fun and be entertaining
  • Write with the visuals in mind
  • Compliment the video
  • Don’t write redundantly into a voice-cut
  • Avoid clichés
  • Judicial use of numbers
  • Titles come first
  • Use transitions between stories
  • When writing for someone else make it “reader-proof”
  • Keep it professional, not personal
  • K.I.S.S.– Keep It Simple Stupid
  • When in doubt, leave it out (crossing the line)
  • It’s sports: make it entertaining and fun!
  • E-Mail
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  • Twitter
  • Reddit

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