Vander Blue flew high with 29 points Saturday, but Mike Hunt's story focused on the dog fight nature of the game.
On Saturday night, Marquette's men's basketball team advanced to its third consecutive Sweet 16. It defeated sixth-seeded Butler in perhaps the best game of the 2013 NCAAs. I wasn't able to travel to Lexington to cover the game, but Michael Hunt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel was, and he filed a recap titled "Marquette gets a sweet sensation."

Firstly, Hunt's lead surprised me, since I figured he would certainly write it anecdotally. Instead, Hunt made his story's point right off the bat. He connected Marquette's success in the tournament to its success in the Big East season, which led to their first Big East regular season title. Hunt credited Marquette's "undeniable toughness" for late wins in recent days over both Butler and Davidson.

I thought Hunt made a strong choice in going with the lead he did. An anecdotal lead may have beaten around the bush more than he wanted, and he clearly wanted to leave no doubt about the importance Marquette's toughness.

Hunt also put his nut graph in the third paragraph right after the lead. His nut graph not only told the reader why he wrote the story, but also why he wrote it now. Every good nut graph should do that, and Hunt pulled the feat off impressively.

I found it interesting that Hunt had good quotes, but chose not to incorporate any until the tenth paragraph of the story. Maybe he did this because his lead wasn't anecdotal but descriptive, and he wanted to avoid letting his interviewees tell the story. Regardless, I would've liked to see a quote higher up, since they help move articles along.

The most powerful part of Hunt's story was when he used a four-word paragraph to drill home the main point of his story. He prefaced it by saying Marquette did what they do best when the game was on the line, and followed that up by writing "they got mad-dog mean." His whole story is about Marquette's grittiness and toughness, and so having that one phrase set apart from anything else strengthened his argument considerably.

Hunt does a great job with his Marquette basketball analyses, and this was no exception. Another article on Marquette that I liked came from Pat Forde of Yahoo Sports, who wrote about Buzz Williams' hectic week in Lexington, Ky. 
The video bar on the Journal Sentinel's home page is buried below the entertainment section and the main buffet of articles.
I don't know if this is a universally held viewpoint, but when I come to a website to view news content, I want the clear opportunity to view multimedia. 

My favorite website on the Internet, ESPN.com, will almost always a have a play button right smack in the middle of their top story. That play button will usually begin a video that supplements the article linked in the description of the video running below the picture the button is on.

On the top of the home page of Journal Sentinel's website, no such play button exists. The front page only contains links to articles and photos. To find the magical play button, I have to scroll down past the entertainment section to a bar called "videos," that houses all of the relevant, watchable content produced by the JS and their media partners. I shouldn't have to scroll almost halfway down the page to find what a lot of people with short attention spans would consider the most interesting part of the website.

The top video featured in the bar tells the inspiring story of an adult swim team raising money for their coach who was recently diagnosed with lung cancer. The producer used nice b-roll of the swimmers swimming while they voiced over over the clip. I did think that some of the cuts between audio clips could have been smoother. However, the natural sound produced by the swimmers gliding through the water gave the video an authentic feel. 

When I continued investigating the video selection, I noticed the sports videos were found at a different URL than most JS content. The JS seems to have a partnership with Cinesport, a website that "produces and distributes premium sports video highlights and programming to local media web sites on a daily basis." I like that the JS cares enough about their sports video content to export it to an organization that only focuses on producing quality content. The video I watched was about the Badgers losing to Ohio State and getting a No. 5 seed in the NCAA tournament. It featured JS Badgers beat writer Jeff Potrykus.

The Journal Sentinel is good with video. But they need to let more people know that by putting it front and center on their home page. They could draw significantly more views to their videos by using that magically little play button.
Chris Otule had his best game at Marquette Saturday, and Mike Hunt highlights him in his game story
Since I wrote a recap of the Marquette-Notre Dame game for the Marquette Tribune's website on Saturday, I was curious to see how Michael Hunt, the Journal Sentinel beat writer for Marquette basketball, recapped the contest in comparison to my effort.

The main difference I noticed in our stories was that Hunt waited for Marquette coach Buzz Williams, Marquette point guard Junior Cadougan and Notre Dame coach Mike Brey to finish speaking before posting. As a result, he used quotes to color the body of his recap. 

In my story, I chose not to use quotes and to instead provide a straightforward recap. As part of our writing style at the Tribune, we like to leave the quotes for our analysis article that appear in the paper on Tuesdays and Thursdays. In the future, I may wait just long enough to work in good quotes from Buzz and other players that discuss relevant statistics and key points of the preceding game. 

Hunt also began his story with a strong anecdotal lead, something my story lacked somewhat. Although my story did mention the perfect home record Marquette boasts in 2012-13, I went right to the score in the opener. Hunt weaved in a solid lead, which discussed the game as potentially the "last time for a long time" the two teams would play and then designated the contest as an "experience to remember."

The strength of Hunt's two paragraph lead allowed him to write five consecutive paragraphs without quotes. That kind of lead really enhances a sports article, but also requires a lot of preparation to perfect. I will try to bring an anecdotal lead or two to my online recaps in the future, in order to grab readers and have them read through all of the trends the next few paragraphs highlight.