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|| SportsShooter.com: News Item: Posted 2013-01-11

Remembering 2012 - Gary Miller
It’s where the ball isn’t

By Gary Miller

As I sit here thinking of the terrible events in Newtown, CT, my heart goes out to those families who lost their loved ones. For those young children who will never toss another ball or have the opportunity to see their favorite team play...it's yet another reminder to hold our family tight and keep what we do in perspective.

The following are my observations, and not those necessarily of my employer; neither current, nor former colleagues. Even Emmy my cat has little stake in this other than a current paycheck keeps her in litter.

It is my firm belief that Sports is NEWS and should be covered visually as if one was writing the game story.

For the visual reporter, your work starts the moment that you receive an assignment for game coverage and not the few hours before setting up in the well or press area.
You now have a laptop, electronic tablet and most important, a smartphone. Show that you’re smarter than your phone and use that technology to do your homework on those involved in the NEWS event you are about to cover.

Example: Ozzie Guillen returns to coach the Marlins after a five-game suspension Tuesday night. What was the story of the night?

Question: How many images of protestors outside the stadium moved on the wires prior to the game?
Answer: 1.

Question: How many images of Ozzie AFTER the game began moved from the dugout, etc. by the 5th inning?

Answer: 1 --- a vertical that had little-to-no use on the web; mobile or even print. Understand your market, everything you do has a “Return on Investment” to both you and your employer. Every minute is a deadline on the web.

Photographers did a very nice job of covering Ozzie being interviewed in the dugout prior to the game … then it was back to the game.

A game that no one will remember for the score.

More images will be used the day after and over the following weeks of Ozzie’s return over game action. What is your market?

If you have a Kobe injured and on the bench…record it for news value.

If you transmit three photos of the cheerleaders before sending horizontal action on deadline (yes this happened a few days ago). We need to discuss news value? Basketball is not a vertical sport…at least not to most web editors and those who still have print options.

It's a horizontal world that includes video buttons and "live sports" bars on many of the images in some form or another on the leading sports and news sites across the country.

Know who the lead scorer is during game coverage and make sure you transmitting images that have news value.

Elements of Sports coverage to act as a guide, if you think the last element should be the first then we might see a brighter future:
- Peak action / Telling reaction
- Don’t settle for the obvious
- Marriage between action and story
- Pay attention / Watch the edges!
- Vary your position
- Know the sport!

Most important, be safe, be respectful and courteous and give your loved ones an extra tight hug.


Gary Miller is a contract picture editor for espn.com.


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