Where the Action Is: Sports Writing At Its Best

by Kong Min Yee, Victoria Junior College

The annual All-in! Young Writers' Festival 2018 celebrated its 10th anniversary on 18th March, the last day of the March holiday at *SCAPE.  I had the honor of attending one of the talks held by seasoned veteran writers and journalists, some with decades of experience, "WHERE THE ACTION IS: Sports Writing and Production". 

They were given by 4 gentlemen- Mr. Rene K. Anthony, Jason Dasey. Gary Yang and Gerald Wong- all of whom have rich experience and burning passions for both Sports and Writing, making the sharing extremely engaging for all attendees.

Each speaker came to a unique background linked to Sports journalism and made it a point to provide us with relevant tidbits and advice for the years to come. 

For instance, Mr. Dasey kicked off the talk by sharing with us the long journey of his career, spanning a whopping 4 decades. Thus, by relating to us his past experiences, he emphasised the need for hard work and resilience when pursuing a demanding and fast-changing field such as journalism. 

Then, he offered us some quintessential pieces of advice:  Plan out your goals, be open to possibilities and convert negative criticism into positive nepotism. These words, coming from an illustrious journalist the likes of Mr. Dasey is certainly eye-opening to all budding journalists like me, giving us the opportunities to learn and not fall prey to the mistakes that he may have encountered in the past. 

 However, my biggest takeaways would come from the sharing done by Gary Yang, an ambassador of Sports Singapore, the main statutory board in charge of Sports for the country. The crux of his sharing was regarding the difference in his own experience of covering the Southeast Asia (SEA) Games in 2015 and 2017. 

The fact that the two events were only 2 measly years apart, the duration of Junior College life, only served to exacerbate the stark contrast in the type of content which was required of him was shockingly distinct.

Whereas, when the 2015 SEA Games was held domestically in Singapore, Mr. Yang shared that he was very much "stuck" to his laptop and churning out article after article to keep up with the demand from readers. On average, he-together with around a dedicated team of volunteers a hundred strong- published about 8 articles per day, ranging from a Sports roundup, feature articles on specific athletes or simply just a compilation of the standings for the casual viewer. 

Whereas, for the coverage for the SEA Games in 2017, instead of long-form articles that delved in depth about the subject at hand, the focus had shifted towards bite-sized updates and simple summaries of events. In particular, Mr. Yang shared that instead of having tunnel vision and simply focusing on long-form articles and the occasional feature article, the focus shifted to updating digital platforms such as Facebook- reminding viewers to "catch the live stream" while providing a little "back-story" to the entire affair. 

This trend can be attributed to digital media(off the back of burgeoning technology), becoming increasingly prevalent in society, thus causing the invariable shift of media away from print and towards digital platforms, especially those easily accessible from smartphones. This marks only the tip of the iceberg of changes inevitable with our increasingly tech-savvy community.

Lastly, Mr. Yang also shared in an interview afterwards that he chose Sports Journalism as "Sports is something that is close to my heart and it allows me the opportunity to put emotions into the article unlike in other areas where we have to be more neutral."

Something that truly makes the specialised sector of journalism so intriguing and attractive to most-the underlying passion underneath the words and pictures- that is what truly makes the article enjoyable.

All in all, the event was a huge eye-opener for me, as all participants would like-wise agree and will be something I look forward to attending in the future instalments for years to come.