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America's pastime

Discussion in 'Design Discussion' started by Jon Mitchell, Jul 20, 2018.

  1. Jon Mitchell

    Jon Mitchell New Member


    So like a lot of papers, we're seeing a lot of reduced page counts. Knowing that was going to be a l ok ng-term thing, we ditched our baseball page ... expanded boxes and everything ... only to get 50 or so phone calls within a week from people clamoring for it to come back, to which our ME caved.

    I'm curious if anyone else out there or any other papers out there have faced a similar circumstance where their paper tried to get rid of baseball agate but received severe backlash from readers as a result. I know our argument for pulling it at first was that you can go to any online sports web site and get a box score now, but much of our readership doesn't want to go to the internet and wants to get all the MLB stuff from us.

  2. JRoyal

    JRoyal Well-Known Member

    I've been trying to get us to roll back our baseball boxes for years. We simply don't have the space. During the summer, it's a nice filler, but in April and May and then again in September, it's a space-sucker. And there's a lot of stuff our readership wants to get from us that we simply can't give them any longer because of space and staffing. We have people complain when we pulled horse racing agate. It's a vocal minority in most cases.
    Jon Mitchell likes this.
  3. Waldo9939

    Waldo9939 Active Member

    Here’s the rub on that from our perspective. We fought the same issue. Hell, on Sunday’s, we run the weekly stats and even use headshots of the top guys with them. How many papers do you know still run weekly individual stats on Sundays.

    In fact, we have two dedicated MLB pages on Sundays. Every other Sunday for the first time this year, we have a third dedicated baseball page solely for the minor league team we have. We have reconfigured the way we cover the minor league team in order to do more features and give our beat guys (have two of them) more time and flexibility.

    With that said, it is great filler for June, July and most of August. It does become a hair puller in September. It’s ok in April and early May. But we’ve also considered ditching the boxes but we do have a dedicated hard core bunch for now we just don’t want to field the calls from. However, I think eventually we’re going to yank them. It’s not a question of if, it probably will be when. Almost like anything else in this business.
    Jon Mitchell likes this.
  4. MNgremlin

    MNgremlin Active Member

    We run pro standings for major sports pretty much every day (or once a week in football), unless space dictates otherwise. Tried to eliminate awhile back, but had a similar response.
    Jon Mitchell likes this.
  5. DanOregon

    DanOregon Well-Known Member

    Try shrinking a comics page. My first week in newspapers they "revamped" the comics page and there were boxes of letters from Mary Worth and Rex Morgan fans. They did it without the traditional "poll" ahead of time to justify it.
    I figure box scores are a lot like comics, and obits and letters to the editor - it is part of a daily ritual for people that still read the print product.
    Jon Mitchell likes this.
  6. flexmaster33

    flexmaster33 Well-Known Member

    I found that my scoreboard agate was 1) getting scattered about and 2) being left off completely on a consistent basis (over the course of the last year or so) by our design desk. A combination of playing up stories as they deserve and shrinking editorial space.
    Starting with the upcoming fall preps season, I'll be moving those standings updates to an online format and directing readers to our website. Always a high demand especially for high school standings/schedules that can be difficult to find other places, and moving them online will allow us to keep them more timely. I work hard to prioritize/sell the print product typically, but we'll see how this change works.
    Jon Mitchell likes this.
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