The Art of Storytelling: A Look at Slam Dunk Coverage of March Madness, in 4 Stories

March Madness Storytelling

Numbers don’t lie.

That’s why statistics have and always will be a good resource for sports reporters and commentators.

But sports journalism should be more than just statistics. While they support arguments about the G.O.A.T. and which team may be the most dominant, time and again we see they don’t always matter – especially during March Madness.

Boyd’s Bets reports that roughly 70 million March Madness bracket contests are entered each year.

I know I’m not alone in waiting to tune into college hoops. Fans enjoy the thrill and competitiveness of correctly picking wins in the college basketball playoffs.

March Madness and other big matchups, like the current NBA Playoffs, are a great time to appeal to and engage a larger sports news audience with stories that stretch beyond the game.

Here are four slam dunk examples of March Madness coverage that went beyond statistics reporting.

1. SB NATION: Kennedy Meeks Went From 300-Pound Recruit to Final Four Hero for North Carolina

Everyone loves to talk about the champions, but what about the road to getting there? SB Nation’s Ricky O’Donnell tells the story of 300-pound recruit turned champion Kennedy Meeks. He narrates the challenges of a coach and player working together to get Meeks to the culminating moment in his college career – a moment that everyone in America was able to see the triumph that comes after persevering and staying the course.

2. ESPN: How Bad Camping Trip Turned Gonzaga Into Final Four Team

What does it take to make to the Final Four? Some may speculate hard work and practice, but what about a camping trip? Dana O’Neil’s story recounts a hilarious camping episode of the Gonzaga team, and how that trip prepared the team for basketball success. The trip ultimately strengthened the team’s bond, and it was able to refer to these lessons as the season progressed.

3. THE UNDEFEATED: Carolyn Peck Elated for Dawn Staley as Second Black Coach to Win Women’s Basketball Title

I’m sure that winning a college basketball championship is an amazing feeling to describe, and probably even more special when you know that so few like you have accomplished it in your lifetime. Rhiannon Walker’s piece about head coach Dawn Staley being the second black coach to win the women’s basketball title is one of pride and progression. It’s a story – not only about a win in a game – but a win for an entire culture.

4. SPORTS DAY: Is End of UConn’s Reign Good for Women’s College Basketball? Opinions Vary

The Mississippi State Lady Bulldogs now are the women’s basketball Cinderella story. Sports Day’s Billy Horn dives into what that means for the state of women’s basketball. Does it still mention dominant teams and statistics? You bet, but it also talks about how huge upsets and winning streaks can boost ratings for the sport, build momentum, and change the dynamic of how women’s basketball is spectated.

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Tabresha B. Langham is a Customer Content Specialist with PR Newswire. She also is a social media junkie, foodie, music fiend and Auburn University Alumn (War Eagle!). Tune into her insights as a social curator at @PRNmedia, or follow @TabreshaL.

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