Journalists Learn to Localize from Professional World Cup Coverage

Lauren Pike, Reporter

Though Brazil is 4,427 miles away from St. Charles, the advent of the 2014 World Cup provides the perfect opportunity for the student journalists of Media Now STL to learn innovative news coverage techniques from professional journalists. Through the variety of coverage seen so far, students can learn techniques to present the same event through different angles.

“I think we’re all viewing it, or at least I’m viewing it, through a small window with it centered around the U.S.’s involvement,” Kirkwood High School Adviser Mitch Eden said. “I’m sure other countries are really focusing on their players, their story lines, so from my perspective, I think the coverage has been awesome. It’s been a nice mix of analytical and game play breakdown, to individual profiles, to story lines that are unfolding in games, whether it’s the referee, whether it’s game play injuries, or it’s field conditions and heat, so yeah, I think they’ve done a good job.”

This year, it seems that the game has become a driving force on social media outlets, making this information more accessible to teens, creating an influx of buzz surrounding the World Cup.    This has launched the quest of journalists to seek out innovative angles to make their stories stand out in a sea of similarity.

“It’s interesting because with Twitter and all of these media outlets, we all are connected through social media,” LA Times Photographer Bethany Mollenkof said. “The coverage of the actual information and everything surrounding the event has changed. Now we don’t get pictures of the World Cup game, we’re seeing a deeper, bigger story.”

From watching the pros, students can learn that covering large events, such as the World Cup, doesn’t necessarily end at the actual game. Through photos, videos and alternative story presentations, such as ThingLink and Storify, student journalists can extend the World Cup coverage to encompass and localize the events affecting the everyday lives of people.

“I think student journalists should be following the lead of the pros,” Eden said. “Trying to look at how professional journalists are covering it and seeing how they can connect that to their own high school sports.”

Maggie Torbeck, a senior at Francis Howell North plans to take this advice to heart and use it to boost her own publication’s coverage of school events.

“Approaching the story at hand with many different angles, that really helps,” Torbeck said. “Not everyone likes to read 400 words things about sports and some people do. If they take their own photos, there’s no way that those will be replicated, they might be similar, but they will be different. Opinion pieces are also a good way because everyone has their own opinion, so I think there’s many ways to bring variety.”