Tips From on covering high school football

header_pattonvilleIt’s time for prep football and who better to tell the story than the journalism students at your school. The students have access to the players and coaches that no other publication has so have them take advantage of the opportunity of getting to talk to these people.

The students in the journalism program at Pattonville High School used social media to create excitement as the football team opened the 2013 season. They used Twitter, Vine, Instagram and our website to provide updates and information.

One way we started this was having every student in Journalism I write a profile about someone in the school. This was the first assignment given to them and many chose to write about somebody involved in the football program. We held these stories and posted them throughout the week leading up to the game on Friday night. (One article was even picked up by

On Friday, we started posting game information on Twitter and had reminders of the tailgating party before the game. Our editor-in-chief, who is also our top sports writer, was in charge of live tweeting the football game. His assignment was to send score updates. He was taught not to over-post game details but keep it to the most important information. For our photographers, they were given sideline assignments and posted pictures and video of game action throughout the night.

We decided to hit social media hard this year. Our high school gives each student a laptop so it was also important to have all of these tools linked to our website. We realized not every student is on Twitter or Instagram, but every student (or parent or community member) can visit our website,, for updates. By doing this, we are including our audience that does not use social media but wants to keep up on information about Pattonville. This also keeps our website fresh with new information about the game even without immediately posting a full story.

When we signed up for social media, we didn’t just create a username and start posting things on Twitter. We thought out our process because we had administrators who were scared of what social media meant. When our school went 1:1, I wanted our students to understand that building a social media platform is more important than creating a username and the number of followers we had. I have my students help fill out a social media planning worksheet each year. The worksheet is attached and it might give your program a better sense of how social media can be used at your schools.

Download the Social Media Planning Worksheet here.

Here is a Storify of one of the games we covered.

One thought on “Tips From on covering high school football

  • September 25, 2013 at 10:34 am

    Thanks for some great tips.

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