Following on from my post about how to be published writing about sport or news in general, I submitted an article last week and was published online.
This is how I did it.
1. Coming up with the idea
I met Melbourne Rebels forward Luke Jones last year at the Beyond Coconut event that I was involved in through Milk PR. I introduced myself and had a discussion with him about the team and the 2011 season. I mentioned that I would like to interview him so Luke gave me his contact details. I kept in touch with Luke and asked two weeks ago about doing an interview before the Super Rugby season started.
2. Media organization approval
Before I could interview Luke, I had to get approval from the Melbourne Rebels Media Manager, David. I had met David at the first pre season trial match in Geelong because I helped out with some tweeting for the Rebels. I had also been in contact with David since mid last year discussing work experience. David gave me his approval after I explained who I was interviewing, what the article would be about and where it would be published. David told me to more or less ‘go for it.’
3. Researching and conducting the Interview
Once Luke had agreed to being interviewed, I looked at his player profile and googled news articles about the young forward. I wrote down my questions about his own playing history and of course my questions about the Rebels up coming season.
4. Pitching the article
I sent off a quick email to the summer editors at upstart magazine;
Hi upstart, I am planning on writing a story about the upcoming Super 15 Rugby (union) season. I’ve arranged to do an interview with a player from the Melbourne Rebels, Luke Jones.
The Rebels have a lot to live up to this season with new star recruits and Wallabies James O’Connor and Kurtley Beale. Jones was the first Aussie school boy to be given a Rookie contract playing for Western Force in Perth.
I will aim to ask him about the Rebels and the upcoming Super Ruby season and discuss his own goals for the 2012 season.
Please let me know if this interests you – rugby is rarely featured on upstart.
5. Conducting the Interview
I spoke with Luke on the phone for about 20 minutes. My journalist boyfriend told me 3-4 minutes would have been long enough. He said the length of my interview with Luke simply created more work for myself in transcribing and finding the correct quotes to use. Lesson learnt!
6. Writing the article
After I spent an hour or so transcribing (yes, okay journalist boyfriend you told me so) my interview with Luke, I highlighed sections of what he said that I would use in my article. It took me about half an hour to draft my article, and another half hour to read over and edit it to make sure I was happy with it.
7. The waiting game
On Monday morning, I sent my article off to the upstart team. I attached a photo of my own and some links to photos of Luke to accompany the article. I gave a brief summary of what I had written about and also suggested a publish date (by Thursday as the Rebels played on Friday night).
By 4pm that afternoon, I had my response.
Thanks very much for that Aubrey, good article. It will probably get a run this Thursday.
Success! My article was published with no editorial changes made. Perrrrfect.
8. What did I learn?
From this experience of writing my article, I learnt two key things. Firstly, never interview someone for 20 minutes if it is for a short article. For features, that length is…ok. Secondly I learnt keeping your article short, simple and to the style of your aimed publisher will help you in the long run. My article was published with no changes made to it by the upstart team.
Thanks for reading, I hope this information is useful to students wanting to get published and some of the steps you have to take to get there.You can read the article I wrote and follow the Melbourne Rebels on Twitter.
Post Script: In the article I wrote, I mentioned Luke was most looking forward to playing against the team he grew up wanting to play for, the NSW Waratahs. Luke got his wish on Friday night as he lined up as no.6 left blindside flanker. It was a very physical match. The Waratahs were constantly being physical towards Rebels players, especially in the scrum. Late in the second term, Luke probably had enough and ended up punching a Tahs player and gave away a penalty. Good on him I say, he’s a Rebel through and through. Nothing like a bit of retaliation and heart to show he wants to win against the people he grew up idolising. C’mon Rebels.