Summer sports broadcasting workshops
THE GAME OF MY LIFE - Bill Velasco (The Philippine Star) - March 18, 2019 - 12:00am

For the first time, this writer is conducting a nationwide sports broadcasting and media marketing workshop series. It has been a long time in coming, and is a dream come true. The first question I asked myself was, what would the value be? Though no schools teach sports broadcasting (sports journalism is a rare elective in very few universities), we’ve designed the two-day course to be very substantial. As always, I’ve connected the dots to fill in information participants would want to learn.

We launch at Southwestern University in Cebu from May 3 to 5, starting with a discounted, one-day Basic Broadcasting workshop for for students, followed by the main two-day Sports Broadcasting Workshop open to everyone. From May 11 to 12, we move to a hotel in the Ortigas area. Then, from May 24 to 26, to replicate the two workshops in Davao. There will be activities and simulations, so that those attending will know how to prepare for - and look during - an actual broadcast. We’ve made the workshops more affordable than other comparable workshops.

But first, let’s look at the big picture.

We will trace the earliest beginning of communication in human history, the start of sports coverage, and how it has evolved over the last few hundred years. Up until after World War II, we only got written news from the newspapers, and reports from the radio. If you wanted to see the news, you’d have to pay to watch newsreels at your local cinema, and it would be at least a week old. As always, I’ll have loads of stories and anecdotes to tell.

One Day One, we also ask students what they stand for. Your personal background and experience determines how you respond to issues. This is important when we tackle the difference between being a broadcaster and a journalist. Some people assume that they are the same. But they are vastly different. One is as neutral as possible, the other is not. There are several other differences, as well.

Next, we ask the participants to write a news report of a recent game. Writing is the most underrated tool of sports coverage. Though everyone has their own style, the fundamentals are often neglected. How does one construct a news story, or write a game story? What words should one never use on a broadcast? How do you go about finding research material? These are questions taken for granted.

Another important module is “The Art of the Interview”. This is a crucial but ignored skill. In more than 30 years as a working broadcaster, I’ve only experienced a pre-interview once. Press conferences and stock stories make some interviewers lazy. The fact is, an interview should start at a deeper level. Basic information is assumed to be known by the interviewer. There is a lot more work beforehand to make an interview concise, precise, informative, and seamless.

At the end of the first day, we teach participants how to dress for a broadcast. Female sports broadcasters sometimes dress like they’re going to a cocktail party. There are no-no’s which we will teach. Ironically, male broadcasters tend to go in the opposite direction, underdressing in coats, skinny jeans and sneakers, i shudder at the image. As a rule, it’s better to slightly overdress than be underdressed. We also give advice on posture, voice and other techniques.

On Day Two, we tackle some heavy topics, like how stories are shaped (and manipulated) by bias, different agendas, and malice. We analyze recent cases that negatively impacted local and international sports personalities. This is a major tool in identifying fake news and propaganda, which people are susceptible to. We also look at the role social media plays vis-a-vis mainstream media, and demonstrate how stories get misinterpreted and warped along the way. 

Then, we plunge headlong into simulations, so the participants may build up their confidence and overcome their fears before actually auditioning for work. As always, I’ll have dozens of stories 33 years of covering sports.

Those interested to participate in the first Bill Velasco Sports Broadcasting Workshops may contact Pinkie Mariano through 0915-1281407 or 0939-8030379. A substantial discount will be given to the first five enrollees of each workshop.

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