At The Diamondback, we just finished up our second Thursday night setting up a featured multimedia presentation to present our coverage of the Terrapins women’s basketball team. The Terps are in the Final Four — they’ll play Notre Dame on Sunday night for with a trip to the national title game at stake.
And The Diamondback is all over the coverage. We’re paying to send a reporter and a photographer to Nashville, Tenn. We sent the same people to cover the games last week in Louisville, Ky. We’re center-piecing women’s basketball stories on the front page just about everyday and designing unique packages for the coverage to go online. And it all feels right.
There’s no doubt that we promote our men’s basketball coverage more than our women’s basketball coverage for most of the season. Our analytics suggested that more people read men’s basketball stories, and then men’s team draws more fans to most games, so it only makes sense that we promote the coverage. But when the women’s team is reached the Final Four we gave it the treatment it deserved. This is a big deal, and we’re going to treat it as such.
Would things be different if the men’s team was in the Final Four? To be honest, the answer is yes. Men’s basketball attracts more attention from fans and readers and we’d push our coverage even more than we are now. But women’s sports are growing in popularity and we’re paying attention to the women’s team too. Why else would we have made their victory over Louisville our center piece story on Tuesday and then another picture of women’s hoops players are centerpiece on Thursday?
We’re covering the team as if they are a huge deal. Because they are, without qualification.
Check out our coverage: http://www.diamondbackonline.com/sports/women_basketball/article_80857b6e-baa2-11e3-8983-001a4bcf6878.html
All the heads in the room faced down toward the floor and many of the eyes welled with tears.
As the rest of the media and I walked into the Maryland men’s basketball team’s locker room after the squad lost to Florida State, 67-65, in the second round ACC tournament last, we knew the Terps would be a somber group. They lost on a last second shot in the latest heartbreaking defeat of a demoralizing season and this result sealed a disappointing end to the year.
I had a job to do, though, and that was to write the story of the game for the student newspaper. To accomplish it, I needed to uncover the emotions the team felt. So I walked over to Jake Layman, a forward who had to wipe his eyes dry.
Layman told me it was the toughest loss he’s ever had to stomach. Then I walked over to forward Jon Graham and all he could say is, “It sucks, man.”
So while in the middle of a group of blatantly devastated basketball players that I had gotten to know over the past five months, I thought about my role as a journalist. I have to be unbiased. I have to tell the story without my own opinion. And that can be difficult to do.
There’s the obvious obstacle to objectivity in my position as a student journalist. The team is my school and I know there success benefits me, my friends and the university community that I call home. Still, that’s never been a problem for me. I know I’m a reporter and not a fan and I know how to block out such emotions.
But with guys I’ve gotten to know are close to tears, I struggled to stay objective. So I decided to display the pain the team felt in my story, but it was my goal to remain unbiased and to not let my own feelings get in the way. Here’s a link to the story, so check out and let me know how you think I did: http://www.diamondbackonline.com/sports/men_basketball/article_e978bfa2-aadd-11e3-a241-0017a43b2370.html
What’s up, readers? Thanks for joining me here on a blog in which I’ll dump out my notebook as a sports reporter and editor. I’ll have pictures from my adventures for sure. I’ll write blog posts exploring my thoughts and experiences. And I’ll try and detail what it’s like to be a sports reporter at a college newspaper in 2014. First up, I’m flying out to South Carolina on Saturday night to cover the Terps men’s basketball game at Clemson on Sunday. Stay tuned!