“Fox’s Sports Journalism Rules” began slowly and then the Top 10 grew to the Top 20 (and, actually the list translates outside of sports journalism.) Many thanks to my friends and colleagues at ESPN.com for helping me to flesh out the list:
No. 1 — No Cheering in the Press Box.
No. 2 — It’s better to be second and right than first and wrong.
No. 3 – Always prepare and do background before a game or interview.
No. 4 — Always take notebooks/pens to an assignment. (Don’t be the student who didn’t bring either and got the score wrong in his lede.)
No. 5 – Technology demands redundancy. Take notes even if you’re taping. Always have extra batteries, tapes, SD cards.
No. 6 – Act professionally in how you dress and how you act.
No. 7 — No one cares what you think; write what others think.
No. 8 — Ask the obvious.
No. 9 — Don’t interrupt. Be quiet and let people answer your questions.
No. 10 – The length of a story is however long it takes.
No. 11 – Never ask: “How do you feel?”
No. 12 — Avoid the pack. Search for the unusual.
No. 13 — Weekends. Nights. Holidays. Get used to it.
No. 14 — Always get ‘there’ early. Explore the venue and find the key personnel that can help make your life easier.
No. 15 — Never ask another reporter for their quotes.
No. 16 — Social media matters. If you use it as a professional networking or reporting tool, act appropriately. The common sense rule always applies.
No. 17 — Never wear a ball cap to an assignment.
No. 18 — Don’t be a wallflower. Ask questions.
No. 19 — Don’t trust rosters.
No. 20 — And, from one of the best editors I know out there: Always take time to watch the sun rise over the mountains.