Faculty Advisor

Trimbur, John


This report culminates a Major Qualifying Project for the Technical Communications degree requirements. The project consisted of two parts. The first part was an internship at the local newspaper, The Worcester Telegram & Gazette. The internship was designed to help foster an understanding of the newspaper industry and the workings of the sports department, more specifically. The first two or three visits were devoted to the basics. I was shown the layout room, the computerized photography system, and the daily schedule of the newspaper. The time I spent in the sports department was used to learn the hierarchy of the department, the people who work there, and the techniques utilized to access the computer database. From then on, I began to report and write for the T&G, sometimes twice a week, on either local sporting events, or local people tied to sporting events. It was during this period that the sports editors and the other writers of the staff taught me two ideals of sports journalism that I had never known before. The first was that a story was never written in chronological order, but in order from the most important events (such as the ending) to the least important events, thereby leaving the editor the ability to cut off the tail end of the story if he needed that space. My first encounter with this method was my first experience grappling with the economy of the newspaper system. The second thing was that a sporting event is not written about from simply the angle of the event itself. A good reporter seeks to find another story that the event's results can be perceived from. In other words, if the coach of a local high school team decided to work on defense this month, and he won three three consecutive games by holding his opponent to low scores, then the story is about the coaching decision to work on defense, and the report shows the game as a by-product of that occurrence. The coach's decision becomes the "story within the story" as several of the writers voiced it. The internship gave rise to the following research and report. While working at the T&G, the question came up in my mind several times about the existence of good writing and how it was classified. If sports journalists are honored for their works, which they are, how are they sorted and judged? There are famous prizes for news reporters and journalists, but the sports journalism world is rarely given credit for investigative and in-depth reporting because their subjects aren't as substantial on a world level. There must, therefore, be an observable measure of success within the world of sports journalism itself which could reveal the "measuring stick" by which sports pieces are judged. This report shows what I have uncovered.


Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Date Accepted

January 1999


Technical, Scientific and Professional Communication

Project Type

Major Qualifying Project


Restricted-WPI community only

Advisor Department

Humanities and Arts