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.
- How Warriors built NBA’s top defense, Ethan Sherwood Strauss, ESPN.com, Feb. 4, 2015
- The Year Ron Hunt Got Hit By 50 Pitches, Jonah Keri, FiveThirtyEightSports, Feb. 3, 2015
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.
- The Ultimate Tennis Mom, The New York Times, Aug. 27, 2015
- Mets’ Psychologist Helps Players Catch Their Breath, Tim Rohan, The New York Times, Sept. 30, 2015
- To the relief of NCAA coaches, the wait is almost over, Nicole Auerbach, USA TODAY, March 17, 2015
- A Seamstress Who Handed Off to the N.F.L. for 48 Years, Ken Belson, The New York Times, Jan. 21, 2015
- Blood, Sweat and Teeth: Wild Nights with an NHL Dentist, Matt Crossman, Bleacher Report, Jan. 20, 2015
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.
- Football’s future? QBs training with virtual reality, David Brandt, Associated Press, Aug. 17, 2015
- How a Transfer Works, Iain Macintosh, ESPNFC.com, Jan. 2, 2015
- What Made College Football More Like the Pros? $7.3 Billion, for a Start, Marc Tracy and Tim Rohan, The New York Times, Dec. 30, 2014
Life off the playing field: These stories show readers an interesting slice of what sports figures do when they’re not competing or practicing.
- The Roomies, Katie Baker, Grantland, March 25, 2015
- The Man in the Van, Eli Saslow, ESPN The Magazine, March 5, 2015
- At Yale, Trading a Playbook for a Songbook, Zach Schonbrun, The New York Times, Feb. 11, 2015
- Green Bay’s Board-Game Obsession, Kevin Clark, The Wall Street Journal, Jan. 15, 2015
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.
- Days of Selling Popular College Players’ Jerseys Seem Numbered, Marc Tracy, The New York Times, Aug. 5, 2015
- Seamless transition: Georgia baseball adjusting to new, flat-seamed balls used in college play, Cody Pace, The Red & Black, Feb. 19, 2015
- As Urban Meyer prepares for playoff, he considers possibility of new rival, Pete Thamel, SI.com, Dec. 29, 2014
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.
- ‘I’m Back!’: Untold Tales of Michael Jordan’s 1st Return to the NBA 20 Years Ago, Jared Zwerling, Bleacher Report, March 18, 2015
- 30 for 30 Shorts: The Sweat Solution, Grantland staff, Grantland, Jan. 21, 2015
- How soccer saved the Seattle Seahawks, Les Carpenter, The Guardian, Jan. 14, 2015
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.
- Gene Keady spent how much on that combover?!, Gregg Doyel, Indianapolis Star, Nov. 12, 2014
- How unpopular baseball players became Tumblr-famous works of art, Eitan Levine, mashable.com, Jan. 14, 2015
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.
- All-Stars in the family: A Pau Gasol-Marc Gasol showdown makes this NBA All-Star game special, Tom Friend, ESPN.com, Feb. 14, 2015
- Basking in the Seahawks’ Success, Not the Spotlight: Owners of Patriots and Seahawks are a Study in Contrasts, Ken Belson, The New York Times, Feb. 1, 2015
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.
- Kirk Cousins, a perennial backup plan, driven by game manager role, Ben Baskin, SI.com, Sept. 24, 2015
- The Man Behind the Mascots Is a Character, Too, Scott Cacciola, The New York Times, Sept. 23, 2015
- Brownsburg teen cyclist rides onto the world stage, David Woods, USA TODAY, Sept. 20, 2015
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.
- Isolation Play, Pablo S. Torre, ESPN the Magazine, March 27, 2015
- Remembering Hank, 25 years later, Dick Jerardi, Philadelphia Daily News, Feb. 27, 2015
- The forgotten history of Bruce Jenner: How the 1970s all-American hero ended up here, Emily Yahr, The Washington Post, Feb. 4, 2015
- Photos: Hardly a City Frozen in Time, James Hill, The New York Times, Feb. 6, 2015
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.
- More Coaches Aren’t Lasting Out the Season, Marc Tracy, The New York Times, Oct. 30, 2015
- As Worries Rise and Players Flee, a Missouri School Board Cuts Football, Ken Belson, The New York Times, Sept. 28, 2015
- For College Basketball Players, Skin Is No Longer In, John Branch, The New York Times, March 21, 2015
- In a League of Flying Elbows, the Use of Mouth Guards Soars, Andrew Keh, The New York Times, Feb. 10, 2015
- N.F.L. Coaches Now Reach for Next Level: College, Marc Tracy, The New York Times, Jan. 3, 2015
- Ex-NFL players are putting their dreams into rugby, and a dream that doesn’t yet exist, Nina Mandell, USA TODAY, Jan. 20, 2015
Where are they now: These stories revisit significant and/or memorable sports figures and updates the audience on their lives.
- A Fateful Collison 30 Years Ago Transformed Two Lives, Associated Press via The New York Times, Oct. 31, 2015
- What happened to Marshall Henderson? He’s playing basketball in Iraq, Marc J. Spears, Yahoo Sports, March 4, 2015
- Former Mavericks executive Norm Sonju keeps 1986 All-Star Game floor at remote upstate NY camp, Wayne Coffey, New York Daily News, Jan. 25, 2015
- How one Olympian’s failure helped her land a job at Google, Polina Marinova, Fortune, Jan. 12, 2015