Upholding Fundamentals, ‘Delivery Methods Be Damned’

Michael Bradley.

As college kids around the country begin a new term, Michael Bradley will have a simple focus for the 20 students in his sports journalism class at Villanova University. The fundamentals. Reporting. Interviewing. Organizing. Writing.

Without those basics, not much else matters Bradley said in his recent piece for the National Sports Journalism Center.

Bradley opened with an anecdote about a game story that had a grammatical error in the first paragraph. The article had surely made the social media rounds “before the printed page reached [his] driveway,” but the mistake stopped Bradley from reading the rest of the story.

“If the writer, and more importantly the editor, couldn’t get it right out of the chute, just imagine what horrors awaited readers later on,” Bradley wrote.

The Philadelphia writer, broadcaster and teacher deeply cares about getting it right.

What can’t be ignored amidst the wave of the new is the enduring need for journalists to do their jobs properly, delivery methods be damned. If you can’t report, interview, cultivate sources, organize facts, and yes write, it doesn’t matter how many Twitter followers you have. You won’t be relevant or reliable.

Fundamentals Don’t Change

Bradley continued with worthwhile advice for anyone who writes.

The heart of journalism remains the ability to write clearly and directly. It doesn’t matter whether you are on TV, radio or the web, if you can’t express yourself with the written word, you won’t be successful. The industry may change, but its fundamentals don’t. And that’s what my students are going to hear at the outset and what they are going to learn throughout the semester.

Bradley’s class sounds like it might be less fun, but it should be more fulfilling. His students will be asked to master the nuts and bolts of sports journalism.

It may not be fun to spend the better part of two weeks learning how to organize basic facts into an inverted pyramid-style straight news story, but it’s vital for any kind of media member to know that. It isn’t as much fun to learn various components of sports reporting and digging for stories as it is to send out Instagram photos and videos, but if you can’t find the information, you can’t get it out there.

I wish I could sit in for a class or two or three.


2 thoughts on “Upholding Fundamentals, ‘Delivery Methods Be Damned’”

  1. I agree. I am always amazed at the garbage that editors allow to go into print, both in newspapers and television.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: