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How to Write a Media Spot


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Now that you've read the New Member FAQ and know generally what the VHL is about and you've taken a look at the Media Spots section and the Rubric that goes with them and say to yourself "I can't write a 450 word essay, how the heck can I write a 450 word article for a hockey forum?" We have all been there before and to be honest it is fairly easy to meet grader requirements week in and week out to get that coveted 6/6 points to add toward your player. In this tutorial I help you learn how writing a media spot can be a simple, 20 minute procedure in some cases.

A good media spot always starts with a good topic and quite often to make it long enough you want something with some meat to it and some factual data (statistics) to back it up and give it some credibility. Obviously you can write about anything league related but sometimes it is hard to come up with new and inventive topics especially when you are new to the league and don't know a lot about the community. It may be best to stick with what works and what you know. Picking a topic is often the hardest thing for writers here in the VHL but when trying to find a topic I usually go for something that I can break into three basic ideas that then translate into three paragraphs in my article. If you make each of those three ideas around 200 words then tada! you have a media spot. Some of the most common and easier media spot topics are listed below:

-Power Ranking [Most common to do it by conference and if you do it by the four teams you only need to write ~150 words about each team which is simple. Go into the stats area (Game Discussion) and talk about each team's respective strengths and weaknesses based on Goals For and Goals Against and maybe mention their star players and how they are fairing etc.]

-Trade Recap [Talk about the winners and losers of the trade (if there has been one lately, or go back in time to find an oldie and resurface it by looking at it and reviewing it from a modern standpoint). Bring up the player histories of those involved and what they can do in the present and future for their new teams. As a personal rule I like to do these only when I have two or more trades to talk about or there are some big name players involved in the trades that you can delve into their history.]

-Player Profile [Pick a player with a couple seasons (generally I like to keep it at three or more) and talk about their progression, how they have done and how you expect them to do in the future etc. this one is the most open-ended of all topics for the most part]

-Position Breakdown [Who are the best players in their respective positions in the VHL? this essentially means you pick the top three in their respective position, compare their stats and what they do for their teams respectively. Another highly statistics-based topic that will enable you to reach the word minimum quickly]

-Draft Preview [Who is going where? Outline the top 10 draftees based on the draft order (~60 words/draftee) assess team needs and why they are taking the player they took, talk about their stats in the VHLM etc.]

-Player Interview [Very simple, ask and answer questions. Set this up like a sports radio or TV show with a host and a player being interviewed. the only problem with interviews is their over use and as a result graders will start to take off creativity marks should you use them excessively.]

Although those are just a few of the more common topics in the VHL there are others and coming up with new and creative ideas is important as well although keeping your articles highly statistic-based is never a bad idea when you are new. Another key trick to meeting the word minimum is adding in quotes. If you need another fifty or so words to finish up your media spot it never hurts to throw in a pertinent quote from someone who would be commenting on the topic (ex/a general manager would comment on a trade, a scout or coach would comment on a player etc.). Below I'm going to go through an example of writing a media spot for what will hopefully be your benefit.

When I was new to the VHL I did a series called "Under the Radar" where I focused on players who were good but were somewhat underrated for how good they were. The first one I wrote featured Franz Lindemann and is shown below:


UTR: Franz Lindemann

1. First Few Sentences (should introduce the article and the topic): Under the Radar is a new show where VHL Magazine will feature players who have 'flown under the radar' in their VHL careers to bring them into the mainstream and allow the fan base to get to know them. This week on Under the Radar we are featuring Franz Lindemann of the Avangard Havoc. (54 words)

2. First Paragraph (should contain the 'meat' of your article and general information including stats):

Avangard Havoc - C - #9 FRANZ LINDEMANN

Lindemann is a small, young, scrappy German who plays like a man of much larger stature. So far in his VHL career Lindemann has flown under the radar despite putting on a decent show for the fans. Originally drafted by the Toronto Legion in the Season One Dispersal Draft in the sixth round (42nd Overall) he only remained with the Legion for the preseason and was traded to Avangard before the season has even started. The trade saw Yaroslav Mikaiholavich go the other way, a player that never turned out to be what Toronto was in search of. Lindemann found a more permanent home with the Havoc, seeing the ice in 72 games in season one and tallying 50 points (12G, 38A). The trade that saw Robert Sharpe depart from the Havoc in return for more highly touted centerman, Alex Gegeny put a damper not only on Lindemann's playing time but also on his developmental potential. Throughout the course of his young professional career Lindemann has managed to develop one of if not the best passing skill in the entire VHL, it isn't often that a pass from him is off the mark. So far this season Franz has managed 16 points in 19 games (3G, 13A) while holding a very respectable even rating on a team with alot of negatives. If he continues his current pace and training regimen that has allowed him to accumulate over 82 practice hours with his team, Lindemann may see himself break the 60 point mark by seasons end. With Gegeny now gone as well it truly is Lindemann's time to step up and be a key player for this ailing Avangard offense. (279 words)

3. Second Paragraph (should build on the general information of your first paragraph and add in your perspective and the perspective of others on the player): Overall Lindemann has potential to be a top three center in the VHL someday and could be the key to leading the Havoc to a playoff run at some point in his career provided he has a decent supporting cast. While his upside may be limited due to his lack of actual scoring ability he is second to none as a playmaker in the league. Don't expect too many 120 point seasons from this all-around type player but he will be an important player in a support role for the Havoc in the future. (94 words)

4. Third Paragraph (add in some further, distantly related information for your third idea and talk about that)

Contract Information

Franz Lindemann currently is under contract to the Avangard Havoc for three seasons worth a total of $7,000,000


Year 1: $2 million

Year 2: $2.5 million

Year 3: $2.5 million (player option)

For being a 50-60 points per season player Lindemann is making fair coin at this point. He produces enough to be worth his $7,000,000 contract but not enough right now to be worth franchise player salary which can be much higher. The Havoc will want to hope Lindemann is satisfied with his role on the team through Season Three considering he has a player option. Losing Lindemann would leave a big hole in their first offensive unit as they would lose their top centerman. With the cap now being $34,000,000 and the collective bargaining agreement in full swing this is a good salary for the Havoc to keep under wraps. They manage to hold a top playmaker under $3,000,000 which is the work of good player management. (127 words and only a few left to go --> good time for a quote)

"Although I really enjoyed playing with Alex Gegeny I'm glad I finally get my shot to play on the top offensive unit. I think I can really bring a lot to our more gifted scorers around the net. As far as being under the radar I'd have to say that, that is true although it's never a bad thing to be considered underrated because then there are no big expectations from you," jokes Lindemann during a recent interview with him. (82 words = 636 words, we're done by a long shot)


Now obviously this isn't the most awe inspiring article I've ever written but it gets the point across on how simple it really is to write a media spot. All the information I needed for this could be found on his player page, the Havoc roster page and the team scoring page. Based on the content portion of the Rubric the graders would take into consideration that you have done research and taken the time to analyze the information you found. The next thing you need to do at this point is spell check your work. If the word processor you use doesn't have one there are a million of them on the web, just google "spell checker." Also you can use an online word counter to make sure your article is long enough. Spelling and Grammar is a big part of what the graders look for while going through your article and for the most part a lot of the little things that can cost you a point can be found by simply proof reading your article quickly and then using a spell checker like the one I linked to above. Once your article is good enough to be posted it is time to add enough decor to it to get that very easy presentation mark. Go onto google and find a picture (rule of thumb keep it under 500x500 pixels to avoid screen stretch) and paste is somewhere appropriate in the article. Bold and colorize your title(s), italicize and color your quotes and you are good to go (which is exactly what I did in the example).

A word of caution: keeping your writing within realistic parameters proves positive as most graders take far-fetched stories or unfounded claims as unprofessional or unrealistic and your grade may suffer as a direct result. Obviously there is some play room here for funny medias or whatnot.

Here is an example of a media spot where easily corrected mistakes cost the member a couple points despite the fact that it was plenty long enough:

Example #1

Here is an example of a perfect media spot and is exactly what the graders are looking for from our members (although leniency will be given to new members):

Example #2

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