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Another coverage question: Roller derby

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Precious Roy, Apr 29, 2012.

  1. Precious Roy

    Precious Roy Active Member

    Don't know if we have discussed this before, and I am allergic to the search function.
    What do you guys do with roller derby?
    We have two teams here that go out there and beat the hell out of each other, draw big crowds and are pretty fun to watch.
    My question is where do they belong in the sports section? I'm not talking about fixed bouts and the like how roller derby was, this is moms and sisters who want to get out there and just vent some steam. It's not pretty, but it's as newsworthy as say a toughman competition.
    What do you guys think?
  2. Batman

    Batman Well-Known Member

    How often do they do it? Is there a season of some sort, or any sort of organized structure? Do the teams have the same roster from week to week, or do they come and go with regularity?
    Most importantly, is whoever is in charge of such things cooperative?

    At the very least, it sounds like there's an outstanding feature there.
    If there's some structure to the thing, with a league and whatnot, then you can run some standalone pictures of the event and maybe add a notice about upcoming games to your schedules section or in a briefs package.
    If that goes well and there's genuine interest from the community, then you step up the coverage and figure out how in the hell to write roller derby gamers.
  3. imjustagirl

    imjustagirl Active Member

    I have several friends who have gotten into roller derby, and they LOVE it. As Roy said, this isn't the TV Derby of the 80s with fake villains and all that. This is legitimate sore bodies, bruises, kickass competition.

    As Batman said, it's at the very least a feature. Derby is EXPLODING right now in terms of growth. I don't think I'd cover it on a week-to-week basis, but the interest is definitely there.
  4. dooley_womack1

    dooley_womack1 Well-Known Member

    I prefer old school myself.

    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 15, 2014
  5. Precious Roy

    Precious Roy Active Member

    It is organized with leagues and the like, the two teams are trying to get entrance into the bigger flat-track league but right now are having monthly bouts with other teams from around the state, both home and away. I want to cover it like any other sporting event with features, gamers and the like just because it is getting such a nice following and during the summer we don't have jack else for me to write about unless you count adult softball (I don't get the Legion team, that belongs to another staffer) and I want to make sure I keep up my work.
    However, my boss is not wanting to run it at all, and thinks that it belongs in the Styles section if it goes anywhere. We have had big disagreements over it, but he doesn't want to make the big decision and make anyone mad. I think we can find a nice middle ground that will be not too much coverage and not pushing it aside, I just need to find what that is.
  6. dooley_womack1

    dooley_womack1 Well-Known Member

    I wouldn't do gamers, assuming it hasn't become your town's obsession. I would always be leery of something like that as a legit competition.
  7. imjustagirl

    imjustagirl Active Member

    Oh, it's not "styles" section at all.

    I didn't realize it was a summer league. I guess my first friend who got into it lives out West, and she started months ago so I figured it was a winter thing when you'd have other stuff. My bad.
  8. Precious Roy

    Precious Roy Active Member

    It's all year long, they just do bouts in the summer that I can actually go to my SE and say "Hey, I got nothing to do, let me go."
    For the rest of the season, they have been good about getting me the info with scores, top scorer, and the like I can get 5-10 inches out of to run with a nice photo so that's what I think it deserves if we have other things going on.
    If we have nothing going on and it's between me going out to watch derby or sitting on my hands I want to watch derby.
    And dools, these girls all have day jobs are aren't coordinated enough to cheat, the one bout I went to immediately proved it to me. They are just out there grinding and having fun and trying to knock the crap out of each other. A nice blood sport just for the ladies.
  9. Matt Stephens

    Matt Stephens Well-Known Member

    I agree on it being a good feature, but could you also just put a roundup together on game nights, assuming you can't staff them all? That way the local teams are sure to have some form of coverage, even if it's not a lot. I don't know what size your paper is, but if it's on the smaller side, I think it could really be an advantage for both you and the team.

    With community sports coverage, I've always felt that's where "smaller" dailies can thrive with readers. I'm at a 55K and have noticed when we do features on a sporting event that's not as well known, we'll sometimes get emails from the event's PR folks saying "thanks" and that they had a much bigger turnout than normal. One of the people on staff even did a story on this small town diner in the middle of nowhere, and a few weeks later we went in to have lunch there. The owner said she appreciated the feature, but it caused so much business the next day, that the diner literally couldn't handle the traffic and had to turn some folks away.

    Community coverage can have a big impact.
  10. Turtle Wexler

    Turtle Wexler Member

    The Styles section? Fuck that shit.

    Here are some examples of how ESPN has covered roller derby:

    Cover these teams as you would any other community sport (such as the local bowling league or AAU basketball): briefs or calendar items according to your section's policy; the occasional feature with a fresh angle; and keep an eye on any teams or individual players who are participating at the state/national/international level.

    Be aware that while this is a 100 percent real contact sport, players do skate under "derby names." You may want to consider your paper's style in how to write them out, something like "Jane Doe, who skates under the name Suzy Hotrod." But some names may not be appropriate for a family newspaper, so take that into account when deciding your style.
  11. SixToe

    SixToe Active Member

    Probably something best suited for the weekly entertainment section, which would have a snappy title like "Go!" or "Spark" to make readers jump when they see it.
  12. spikechiquet

    spikechiquet Well-Known Member

    I would run a feature every once in a while (2-3 times a year tops...or if they are hosting a big tourney, maybe a preview to the teams)...have them send in results for agate page if they run matches weekly. If they are good, maybe cover what ever "regional" title they are going for.
    You might want to get some background on how serious the league they are in is. It could be like AAU "national" tournaments are (pay to try to be a "national champ") or it could be legit as a top-tier event.
    I have many friends in roller derby at all levels and yeah, it looks pretty badass.
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