HSJ Institute Times
Sports style: Hawthorne inspires teachers to re-vamp sports sectionThursday, June 28, 2012 By Chelsea Gist
“Bobby’s stories truly moved me,” journalism advisor from Arcadia, Calif., Jennifer Lee, said. “I think I can now empower some girls in my class to write about sports—and I don’t know anything about sports,” journalism advisor from Arcadia, California, Jennifer Lee said. Never having taught journalism before, Lee believes her school could benefit greatly from the advice given by Bobby Hawthorne, author of The Radical Write . “We do not share breaking news as a high school publication since we print about every month, so the newspaper has to be more ‘profile-y,” Lee said. “I like when they focus on the kids. It will unify the school more. The school isn’t hostile; it’s just different.” While 55 percent of her student body is Asian and 45 percent are Latino, Lee notes that the two groups do not interact much. As a result, the newspaper does not accurately portray the diversity of her student body. “The sports section still shows mostly Asian students, even though there are probably more Hispanic student athletes,” Lee said. “I think it’s because most of the newspaper students are Asian. Curiosity and courage have not been emphasized. They do not want to ask others who they are not familiar with.” Like Lee, Ellen Sullivan, advisor for The Defensor in Virginia Beach, Va., wants to re-vamp the sports section of her school’s newspaper. “In my school’s sports section,” Sullivan said. “There are run downs of actions and scores with fabulously awful clichés. They use the sports lingo—half the time I have to get them to translate what they’re trying to say.” She continued to say that their sports section includes some longer stories that profile individual students, but she would like to include more of these stories soon. In Sullivan’s school, sports are central, and Hawthorne’s lecture on sports writing proved to be useful. “His suggestion to fill up your story with quotes, and then simply break those quotes up was interesting,” Sullivan said. Sullivan said that she thinks the concept of profiling a specific student will be useful rather than write about the As Hawthorne said, anyone—even girls—can write about sports because it is just a matter of being able to tell a story.