NFL Department

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Department Overview

Department Head: John Bava Senior Editor: Al Preziosi

Official Twitter: @LastWordOnNFL [1]

Official Facebook group: [2]

Content

LWOS asks for one article in-season and one every second week in the off-season. If you are going to be away for an extended time, please let your department head know. Otherwise, it is important to hit the standard quota.

Before you start on an article, it’s a good practice to pitch it first to the department on Facebook--doing so will limit duplicate topics. If two writers want to write on the same topic, they can either collaborate on a piece together or decide which writer will take the topic.


Mid-form Article

Mid-form pieces are meant to be very well-researched and topical articles. These articles are typically 1000-1500 words and must have a very clear thesis stated near the beginning of the article, most often in the first paragraph. If you find you are approaching the 2,000-word mark and still have more to say, discuss with the dept head the idea of breaking it up into a multi-part serial. This isn’t about content density but content quality.

There should be a minimum of three sources that are meant to give the article depth and a level of expertise that will tell readers you have thoroughly researched the topic (NFL.com, ESPN, CBS Sports, official Twitter accounts, etc). Your sources can include quotes and previous research, but be sure to give credit by adding the source in brackets at the end of the sentence with hyperlink to the original. These articles are usually highly promotable and often can reach a very wide audience.

Some examples include referee bias to teams, ownership scandals, league expansion, full evaluation of a team's progress, league policy, etc.


Short-form Article

A short-form article tends to be an article between 500-1,000 words which doesn’t have the same level of research and doesn't go into the same depth as a mid-form. It is usually based on current events and tries to be timely. A short-form article should source at least one link to add a level of professionalism and expertise (NFL.com, ESPN, CBS Sports, official Twitter accounts, etc).

In terms of balance, short form articles should be 75% facts/quotes and 25% opinion. Other articles may be acceptable with approval by an editor, the Department Head, or another administrator.

Examples of short-form analytical articles include: player profiles, career milestones, trades or free agent signings, front office and coaching hiring/firing news, GMs who may be on the hot seat, team/division off-season, current state of a team, division or the league in general, and analysis of a team's or player's performance over a period of time or during a specific part of the season. These articles may be written in list format.


Reviews/Previews

Game previews/reviews are unacceptable unless they focus on analysis of a particular and unique aspect of the game in question. However, playoff previews/reviews are acceptable--be sure to note in the department group.


Lists

Generally, we save these for days that are slow. Top 5 plays/performances of the week are a fine example of providing our readers with coverage that they may miss out on. This isn't an opportunity to meet your quota by just posting five videos and submitting--we want analysis as well. Examples might include "5 Best Defenses of 2015", "6 Coaches Who Should Start Looking for Another Job", "10 Game-changing Plays", etc.

Special

It is important to note the formatting for when you use a direct quote. "Today, we played the way we needed to play," Brady told members of the media. If you obtain the quotes from another source, it is important you give credit to the source. Always. Same goes for source material.


News

LWOS standard is 300-500 words max, and focused on telling the facts. Editorializing and analyzing should be avoided in a news report. It is important to use at least one main source, though more than one is acceptable, and should include quotes if possible. Be sure to source the quote at the end in brackets with a hyperlink to where you found the quote. Timeliness is an important factor in getting news published.

We have a separate branch for news stores. This includes contract signings/extensions, major stories involving incidents or injuries, a trade/firing, etc.


Historical Articles

Historical articles must be at least 600 words in length. These include, but are not limited to, analysis of a career milestone or record and the history of that milestone or record, articles about the history of a team, division, or the league, or an article about an anniversary relating to football.


Group Articles

Writers are encouraged, but are not required, to participate in group articles. These help bring us together as a group, encourage discussion, and help develop a department identity. Be on the lookout for announcements concerning these articles as they will be posted in the Facebook group.


Examplars