STORY TYPES

Behind the numbers: These stories focus on a statistic or group of statistics and explore where the numbers come from and/or what they mean. They also might explore an angle to which the statistics point.

Behind the scenes: These stories take readers to places sports coverage doesn’t normally go, to see the inner workings and/or to meet people who play largely invisible but important roles.

Insider explanatory/analysis: These stories explain a relevant yet esoteric angle, through insiders’ perspectives and/or analysis, in a way that’s easy for the uninitiated to understand.

Life off the playing field: These stories show readers an interesting slice of what sports figures do when they’re not competing or practicing.

Localized enterprise: These stories explore a “localized” angle – something specific to your beat and/or audience — on current news topics. The topics often are of the breaking-news variety but also can be something prominent in the ongoing news conversation.

Looking back at a significant event: These stories recall a recent or not-so-recent event that has current relevance, often because of an anniversary of the event. Sometimes the relevance comes from breaking developments or updates to the storyline.

Off the beaten path: These stories explore angles that fall outside typical sports beat coverage. They offer the audience something fresh and surprising yet still relevant. They come directly from the “zig when others zag” approach.

Preview of a big event: These stories offer either a more sweeping perspective or a more developed angle than a simple game advance. But they still build what-to-watch elements around a clear and focused storyline.

Profile: These stories either shed light on who a sports figure is or, if they are well-known, shine a light on something little known about them that is integral to their life story or sports story. Like all other stories, profiles must clearly establish timeliness (why now?) and significance (why should we care?). Look for storylines that present a conflict or journey in the person’s life. The primary angle of a profile should not be the person’s rise and/or performance in their sport.

That was then, this is now: These stories examine a narrative arc, perhaps in a sports figure’s life or playing career, or in the aftermath of a significant event.

Trend story: These stories examine trending changes, events or issues that can be traced to a common cause. The best trend stories describe the trend and its scope, quantifying it if possible. They also explore the causes and/or consequences. The stories include specific examples of the trend. The examples should demonstrate that it is indeed a trend and not simply an isolated change, event or issue. The best entry into a trend story (read: the best lede) often focuses on a person, scene or situation involved in or affected by the trend. The story then broadens to other people or situations to show that this is indeed a trend. Trend stories should quote at least one expert who is neutral yet knowledgeable about the trend. This helps give the story context and credibility.

Where are they now: These stories revisit significant and/or memorable sports figures and updates the audience on their lives.

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