The front page of News U's Introduction to Sports Reporting course, which cited many of the great writers in the field.
As a veteran of Poynter's News University from JOUR 1100 last spring, I was familiar with the organization's way of providing information on pertinent journalistic topics as I began to read their Introduction to Sports Reporting course. News U typically delivers fairly standard information in stimulating, interactive ways, such as graphics and quizzes. 

I was surprised to find that the sports reporting course provided a range of useful information that I had never thought about and focused less on eye-catching designs than providing solid advice to up-and-coming journalists.

Personally, I consider myself a connoisseur of knowledge in all sports, not just the big three professional ones. So when it came to the "So you think you know sports" quizzes, I expected to do very well. I landed a 14 out of 15 on the baseball, basketball, and football quizzes. The only one I missed was a flawed question about the backcourt violation rule (it's eight seconds in the pros and 10 in college and below). 

However, I was shocked that I missed all five questions about track and field. While I won't claim track as one of my best sports in terms of knowledge (it might not even make the top 10), I assumed that I could get at least two based on pure sports instinct. Oops. Sounds like I have some work to do in that department.

What made this course as a whole effective was how much it drew from actual sports articles. It used games as big as the deciding game five in the 2010 World Series and games as small as a middle school volleyball championship.

The course also had advice from veteran sports writers to compound its key points. The one that stood out to me most was Bob Ryan, a renowned sports columnist from the Boston Globe and a contributor on Pardon the Interruption and Around the Horn on ESPN. Many consider Ryan one of the best of all time, and his input gave weight to what the course was trying to get across.

The course offered sound advice about every phase of the process, from the pre-game research to the post-game interviews and successive article. Introduction to Sports Reporting is a great reference for any journalist exploring the profession of covering sports, and I will probably refer back to it during my work at the Marquette Tribune this year.

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