COURTSIDE DIARY: 8 Things I Learned as a Courtside Reporter

Roxanne Montealegre on Jun 24, 2016 11:46 AM
Eight Things I Learned as a Courtside Reporter
Roxanne Montealegre enters her second year as NCAA courtside reporter for ABS-CBN.

It's not exactly rocket science, but being a courtside reporter still entails a lot of lessons to be learned, sometimes on the fly. Here are some things I learned being a courtside reporter for the NCAA.


1. You can’t just be on time, you have to be very early

Beating the traffic is already half the battle and saves you a lot of stress because basketball games are covered live—and no one will wait for you before they get the ball (and camera) rolling.

I go to every match three hours before tip-off to gather as much information as I can from coaches of the competing teams, key players, medics, family members and supporters.

It was a huge challenge for NCAA courtside reporters because there are ten teams you need in-depth research on and it’s not easy to remember and verify facts with the time constraint so joining pre-game dug out sessions and having time to process all the details are keys to telling the best account of a story.

2. Be a responsible reporter and ask sensible questions

You can’t ask “how are you feeling about the win?” Stay away from the obvious. Learn the language of sports. Start with the basic rules, study the history, and profile the key players.

During live interviews I have to focus on interesting facts the viewers would like to know or highlight the most important part of the game. For injury reports, I have to give accurate information and cannot be affected by the gravity of the situation. Most of all, I have to be fair and filter news that is crucial to the community.

3. Share a good story you would actually listen to yourself

Go back to being purely a sports enthusiast/ basketball fan and listen to your report, not only if it makes sense but also if it offers something fresh or something to think about. It may be about the intensity of the match—capturing the spirit of the teams, stories on brotherhood and rocky beginnings, to celebrating different various coaching styles. Show what the camera can’t film, be the eyes and ears at the dug-out and work on expressing your thoughts than impressing people.

4. Entertain. Educate. And Energize.

You only have about two minutes or less to report on the hardcourt so make it simple, short and strong. Pressure-packed with loud drums and cheers, combined with non-stop action, keep your focus and don’t memorize, narrate from the heart. Make sure even those without technical knowledge willl understand your words, stay positive all throughout whether you make a mistake or forget specifics. When all else fails-smile, people will always remember you for the strength of your presence and personality.

5. Do what you love and love what you do

They say that you’ve found the best job in the world if it makes you ready to jump out of bed in the morning, but pursuing what you love is always a dance between passion and pain.

Being a sports reporter is not just about uplifting the spirit of young Filipino athletes or giving fun facts during halftime, there are times of getting stuck in sticky situations especially that it’s live and there is no ‘take two’.

There were a couple of times I lost battery for my override microphone and failed to hear and communicate with the panel and analyst during important interviews. Problems are thrown at you all the time but what makes the difference is when you handle it with grace. Expect the worst and hope for the best.

6. Custom Your Own Elements of Success

Hard work pays off because more opportunities present themselves when you show people you step up your game and endlessly improve your craft. But there are three more things that I add to hard work: timing, chemistry and prayers.

Some people call it luck, but I prefer to see it as timing. It’s about being able to choose the best option at a specific moment.

Chemistry is finding ways to work well with the whole crew—from the anchors, analysts, to your writers, floor director, directors, cameramen, producer and make up artists. Know that their constructive criticisms will develop you to becoming the best version of yourself.

Last but not the least, prayers. It’s not just about going to church on Sundays or setting aside time for rosary—it’s offering everything you do to God and respecting people, your work and your word.

7. Blend not Balance

We were taught to strive for balance from day one in school—from homeworks to org work and family time. But with social media and the whole world at our fingertips—we need a change of lens and instead, try to achieve an ideal blend in our lives.

It’s not anymore about separating our identities at work or at home but making sure we represent the institution we work for properly wherever we are, whoever we’re with and in whatever we do.

8. Think of Your Every Report as if it’s Your Last

Being in front of the camera is an opportunity for you to be able to speak your mind to thousands and as a game insider, make sure you translate the messages, statistics, strategies and events into excitement. Make every word count and every second worth it.


About the author: Roxanne Montealegre is a courtside reporter by day, business woman/designer at night, traveler on weekends and pet-mom 24/7. Follow her on Twitter @RoxyMontealegre

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