Sports Journalism Blog

Posted on April 3rd, 2017 in 2017 NCAA Women's Basketball Final Four by reaharri

I’ve spent the last two semesters balancing work-school-internship-life responsibilities. I developed a system of creating a series of lists and goals for each day and overarching expectations for the week. So far, it had worked out fairly well – I was meeting my deadlines, enjoying occasional evenings out with friends, and only sacrificing sleep for a long night of work every few weeks. Nothing could have prepared me better for the challenge of covering the Women’s Final Four in Dallas.

The Thursday before both semifinals, each team had a press conference with the head coach and select student athletes, locker room availability and 15 minutes of open practice. The true test, other than being in two places at once, was getting the information that I needed since the press conference and locker room access occurred simultaneously, and there was overlap between one team’s practice and another team’s media availability.

Over the course of the four days, I was able to get the content I needed by prioritizing a schedule of who I needed to talk to, and at what time I would need to get to that individual. Fortunately, my partner Becky Harris and I split up the four teams and were able to coordinate coverage if one of us needed to ask questions in the press conference and weren’t sure we’d have time to reach the locker room.

This system would not have worked without efficient preparation. I had to know what the focus of each article was so I could ask pointed questions that would explore themes in some depth. Any research and writing that I could do on the front end helped, as once I got the sound that I wanted, I could focus on weaving in quotes and progressing the overall story. Transcription is time-consuming, so at interviews or press conferences, I took note of possible quotes and other information that I wanted to use.  Then, I would go back and transcribe only what I absolutely needed. The press conference notes were always transcribed and that was one less thing for me to worry about.

In a deadline-driven line of work, preparation and time management techniques are vital to covering any sporting event. I think the most important thing I did this weekend was the practical application of those skills. –Jessica Hunt, @JessiRHunt