Randy’s six-pack: advice for good sports reporting

Randy Ziemnik

6. Take the road less traveled:

Any good sports reporter needs to get out on the open road and travel with the team you’re assigned to cover. This without a doubt makes you a better reporter and is in general great for the soul. You’ll never know where your travels will take you and you’ll never know who you will meet along the way. I cherish the days of driving seven hours to Iowa in a 96 Monte Carlo listening to the best of Waylon Jennings to cover a Kent State football game.

5. Eat the free food:

One of the great perks of being a sports reporter is the free food. And point blank if you don’t eat it because you believe it’s journalistically unethical you are a complete idiot. Do you think the hotdogs, that at times I suspect are made of humans, that are served in the Dix Stadium press box are going to sway my reporting? No chance in hell! Joel Nielsen, if you’re reading this, the press spread at Kent State sporting events could be improved drastically.

4. Don’t be a homer:

There is nothing worse for a sports reporter than to be labeled a homer, and trust me I’ve met several of them. Always remember your main loyalty is to your viewer — not a coach or team. If a team really sucked, say it or write it, and if they did really well, say that too. Never be afraid to piss off a coach or player with a story.

3. Read and watch other sports reporters:

Watching and reading your peers only makes you a more well-rounded reporter and it’s never a bad thing to get someone else’s point of view. And as you develop as a reporter you’ll also pick up on little things from fellow reporters, but always remember never try to imitate anyone — be your own person and develop your own voice.

2. Make friends with the little people:

Now, I don’t want to diminish the importance of secretaries, trainers and security guards, but their simply not the people you normally think of for story sources. But I found that I got the best information from these people. Four years ago, a trainer told me that Laing Kennedy would retire in 2010. Since I knew the security guards, I went places I normally shouldn’t have been and if you’re nice to secretaries they’ll find a way to sneak in an interview with their boss.

1. Have Fun:

This is without a doubt the number one key for any sports reporter. If you ever bitch about the long trips, crappy food, crabby ass coaches and lack of sleep, you had better find a new line of work. I’ve always said you have to be a little messed up in the head to get into this business: the pay sucks, the hours suck and your personal life suffers. But for me, I’ve always had an addiction to sports and have had the time of my life covering Kent State sports.

Contact assistant sports editor Randy Ziemnik at [email protected].