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Another fine team effort

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by flexmaster33, Nov 10, 2009.

  1. flexmaster33

    flexmaster33 Active Member

    I usually try to find space for youth sports (small wrap-ups and such), and it usually goes just fine. But this week I've got the 7th grade pee-wee football crew all over me for coverage on this upcoming championship game.

    E-mail after e-mail pretty much demanding I run a team photo (we don't do that unless the league wants to purchase a paid ad) and do this huge write up. Anyway, I end up getting a coaches number to get some highlights from last week's semifinal game, and he right away says "It was a great team effort, but we can't put kids names in"...ughh...so what's the point.

    The parents are frothing at the mouth for a full-page centerpiece on pee-week pigskin, I'm offering a 2-3 paragraph wrap-up in sports briefs, and I end up with "It was a great team effort"

    Sometimes I wonder why I bother with youth leagues at all...then I remember how well received our Little League coverage is (for the most part). I should mention, this football league has always been a pain in the $@!$# for everyone in our chain of papers...so I should have know better.
  2. Ace

    Ace Well-Known Member


    That's the way it is. In the future in a case like this if you have a team of pee wees and you want to do some kind of story, why not get the basics on how the team go there and run a nice roster and maybe a photo from a practice or game.
  3. golfnut8924

    golfnut8924 Guest

    They want you to run a team photo but don't want you to run any names? Makes sense.
  4. flexmaster33

    flexmaster33 Active Member

    1) I don't have the time for that during the prep season.

    2) I tried to get the basics and was told everything in such generalities that it was useless. "The fullback scored on a 20-yard run...oh wait, it was a quarterback sneak, then the defense made a stand." And, yes, this is after lobbing numerous questions at the coaches (called two of them) to get some details. Pointless.

    And yes, golfnut...I've never understood the draw of team photos...throw them in the yearbook or the scrapbook, but keep them out of the paper. They yuck up your pages in a hurry.
  5. Ace

    Ace Well-Known Member

    I am saying that you run a short saying that the pee wees will play in the Podunk City championship Saturday. They beat the Hapless Hornets 20-18 in overtime to make the final.

    Coach Les Clue guided the youngins to a 10-3 record during the regular season.

    "You know, we worked as hard as the other kids did during the season," coach Clue said, "but then we kicked their butts when it counted so that was nice."

    Maybe another graf or two and run a roster.
  6. flexmaster33

    flexmaster33 Active Member

    Yes, that's all we did sans the quote and roster...we only run rosters for teams if they win a title...sometimes not even that for football since the teams are so large.
  7. Mark2010

    Mark2010 Active Member

    I am sick and tired of this "great team effort" crap. No one wants to leave anyone out.

    Had a high school volleyball coach call me two weeks ago, asking if we could do more coverage. I asked her "who do you think would make an interesting story that the average reader would enjoy reading about?" She hemmed and hawed about the whole team and finally I stopped her and said "I can't do a story on 15 kids. Can you give me one person who you think has an interesting life story to tell?" She did and I did the story.

    Next day, a colleague does a football feature on a small school in the playoffs. Tries to do the whole darn senior class. Photo had 12 kids in it. I'm on the desk that day and nearly break into tears. When you cast a net that wide, you wind up with nothing. Try to get in a quote from every kid and the story gets to be 50 inches long.

    Then you get so-and-so's mother calling and whining that little Johnny Bedwetter didn't get included. UGH!! Give me a break. Either find an interesting person or angle to do or don't do it.

    But please no more of this "it was a great team effort" crap. That's one of the most over-used cliches in sports.

  8. ScribePharisee

    ScribePharisee New Member

    Focus on the damn story and what makes a great story and quit trying to be the newspaper's advertising section. All this catering bullshit to anyone who "thinks" they have news is bullshit.
  9. mustangj17

    mustangj17 Active Member

    Man up and tell them to buy an ad.
  10. slappy4428

    slappy4428 Active Member

    Simple rule: No names, no story. If a kid scores three touchdowns and runs for 100 yards and you can't put his name in because someone's mommy and daddy think you're playing favorites, then nothing gets in.
    Problem is, you're letting them dictate to you what goes in, Flexmaster. You lay out the rules before hand and if they want items in the paper, they need to do it your way. They want socialism, try health care. If you want names and yards and scoring, then they need to give it to you. If it's league or team "policy" not to have one kid stand out, then they can take out an ad.
  11. flexmaster33

    flexmaster33 Active Member

    They are looking at that option for the team photo, because I won't run that. Easy way to make some money out of whining parents.
  12. HanSenSE

    HanSenSE Well-Known Member

    A few thoughts, all in one post:

    @ A lot of times its not that they don't want to give names, but they can't for various reasons (court orders, parents' messy divorce, witness protection program, ect.). When I was on newsside, at one shop the education reporter would always hand in permission slips to have photos taken along with the photo request. I guess the rule's different when shooting games.

    @ I've never run team photos until I got here, where they'd been running them for years. I decided I didn't want stopping the tradition to be the second paragraph of my obit. As long as the photo is clear and everyone is id'ed, works for me. Parents and kids love it, and I figure the PR hit would be worse than any added revenue. I usually run them along with the rec announcements on Tuesdays. One thing I hate though: When they add "Not pictured: Jimmy Jerkoff and Debbie Dipshit." Technically, one could also say "Not pictured: President Obama and Nancy Pelosi," no?

    @ Yesterday, I got an e-mail from A Coach Who Gets It. The freshman football coach at one of our local schools sends over a box the day after every game that we can turn into a brief. They're playing their rivals for first place this week and the opposing coach said he was told we were doing something about the game, but he hadn't been contacted about it, and wondered if he had. I sent him a note back saying I didn't know who his fellow coach talked to but it wasn't me, then added that with volleyball and water polo playoffs going on, I had no plans for any special coverage. He wrote back and said thanks for letting him know. I'd rather get that kind of letter than the "why the eff weren't your there like we were told" letters!
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