The course objectives include learning the basics of media coverage of sports on the high school, college and professional levels; developing critical thinking skills about issues and dynamics impacting and caused by sports; gathering and curating social media to tell and present stories about sports and athletes, and evaluating how these highly paid performers use the media to shape their public persona and legacies.
The 10 students will also discuss sports journalists' ethical obligations and the business implications that technology brings to the media's coverage of sports. They also will develop a blog with regular posts that analyze a topic or task assigned by me, and take stock of their respective news media website's sports coverage.
Each student will do two Storifys demonstrating their capacity for live tweeting. They will also each research and write a 1,500-word analysis on social media and sports journalism; and do likewise related to media coverage of a sports-related issue of their choice as well as offer a 15-minute presentation on the matter in class.
Here are the issues the students chose: cheerleading, concussions in hockey, track and field between Olympics, double standards related to male and female sports journalists, compensation for college athletes, the black quarterback, the Miami Heat's "Big Three," fantasy sports, sports scandals and paralyzing injuries in football.
The course textbook is "Field Guide to Covering Sports," by Joe Gisondi, who has a fantastic blog, "Sports Field Guide: Tips and Suggestions for Covering Sports." The course will also take advantage of helpful and relevant modules offered by the Poynter Institute's News University, including "Introduction to Sports Reporting." Here's hoping my misguided students rooting for the Jets, Packers, Raiders, Rams, Seahawks and Titans enjoy the course – even as they scheme for seats on the Eagles' bandwagon as my team moves toward Super Bowl XLVI.