By Luis Torres
ORLANDO — With the recent rise of tragedies, both by man and nature, sports reporters find themselves in new territory.
Being hard news reporters.
The topic was discussed Tuesday during the APSE Southeast Region Meeting at Full Sail University.
Tuscaloosa News sports editor and APSE president Tommy Deas, Miami Herald sports editor Jorge Rojas and Orlando Sentinel assistant sports editor Iliana Limon Romero led the panel.
They gave advice on how sports reporters can help cover a certain event.
In 2011, Deas was caught in the middle when, the now infamous, Tuscaloosa EF4 tornado ripped through the state.
He described it as “a mile to mile and a half lawnmower” mowing down different parts of Tuscaloosa.
Rojas helped the Herald’s coverage of the Fort Lauderdale airport shooter when he sent two reporters to Broward Health Medical Center. The reporters interviewed a patient who described the chaos inside the hospital when victims arrived.
And Romero was in the heart of the Pulse Nightclub shooting back in July.
All three had a common theme: sports reporters must make a concerted effort to make sure the event is covered justly.
It doesn’t matter if it’s a beat writer or columnist, things will intercept on your beat.
Reporters are reporters and having a how can we help mentality goes a long way.
And it doesn’t have to be huge sweeping events that have a global impact. Small stories have to be told the same way.
Among the tips they gave were: don’t be afraid, act with urgency from the start, don’t try to do it all by yourself, ask for help and be a part of your community.
There were other items on the agenda.
Opelika-Auburn News sports editor Dana Sulonen and Orlando Sentinel recruiting writer Chris Hays gave their advice on covering recruiting.
Build relationships with players and their families as well as their coaches. Don’t make it a story each time you talk to a kid, especially the first time, and face time with is important.
And Full Sail University had a presentation on how to effectively use Snapchat.
Snapchat works by connecting with the new generation and bringing them the news in an alternative way.
Snapchat has the potential to mold the media habits of the next generation.
So, all reporters would be wise to jump on the trend. Use Snapchat to connect with your audience.