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Arena Football Beat Writers

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by sportsnut, Jan 24, 2008.

  1. sportsnut

    sportsnut Member

    I was just surfing the net and saw a promo for the start of the AFL season at the end of next month and wanted to know if SportsJournalists.com had any beat reporters that cover a AFL team every week and if so do you go and do it as if its the NFL, NBA or D1 College beat?

    I just wanted to know how it is compare to the NFL, NHL beat. Could covering an AFL team be a stepping stone to a bigger beat or do papers send a stringer or do they actually have a beat reporter attached to the team.

    I have seen some games on TV and it looks like a spectacle in regards to the lights, smoke and laser shows.

    Also how is the league or the teams about talking to the players and coaches etc?

    Thanks in advanced.
  2. chazp

    chazp Active Member

    I was the SE at a small town paper in the city where the Tennessee Valley Vipers played in AF2 league seven years back. Things may have changed since then, but what I did was write a preview of each upcoming game, write the gamer with a notebook section for each home game. I also wrote one feature a week (usually a player profile). Our budget didn't permit me to travel on the road with the team, but still did previews for the road games and took the gamer from the team's PR guy. Wrote year round about the club, including signings of new players, community events/charities the players were involved in, etc.
  3. Marvin

    Marvin Member

    I used to live in a town with an Arena League team, and I absolutely hated covering the games. With all the fireworks and everything I had a splitting headache by halftime every time.
  4. Italian_Stallion

    Italian_Stallion Active Member

    The local AFL team gets decent coverage because they're generally a strong team. Usually, there are previews to home games, game stories and an occasional feature. I've seen as many as four different staffers write the gamers, but they try to stick with one or two people. I don't think they staff the road games.

    In terms of experience, I might equate it to Division II college football. It provides some of the training you'd need to write an NFL gamer, but you'd fall short of what you'd need to work an NFL beat. It might be a pro sport, but the media side of it falls far short of the NFL world of daily press conferences and post-game press conferences. Plus, nobody knows who most of these guys are, and far fewer people care. It's a sport that really is about the fan experience more than about the team's performance.
  5. There is/was an Arena League Writers Association. Last I knew, Mark Anderson of the Las Vegas Review-Journal was the president. Email him and I'm sure he'll help you out.
  6. forever_town

    forever_town Active Member

    I covered games for a local indoor football team this past year. The league that team was in was notoriously bad about keeping stats, so I learned really quickly to compile my own.

    It was good preparation for when I covered high school football the first time back in November.
  7. sportsnut

    sportsnut Member

    I have attended a few Los Angeles Avengers games and regarding media I saw a guy from the Daily News and that was about it. The team sells out its games but the major papers including the Daily News does not print anything in the paper except maybe a few sentences in the back of the paper if they win.

    Reading your responses it looks like you have to live in a smaller market for the team to get any real coverage. Like chazp said small market and he/she did allot of writing about the team as if it was the Titans beat.

    I was thinking that the AFL would be a great training ground for sports reporters who are interested in football and want to be a college or pro beat writer. I know the press conferences etc are missing but what else is making the AFL such a small blimp on the radar of editors?
  8. a small blimp?
  9. zebracoy

    zebracoy Guest

    The idea that it's a minor league novelty in every sense of the word.

    Don't get me wrong - I might be the only person in the world who follows the AFL. But because I'm the only one, and there's no die-hard fans, there's no need to appeal to that audience. I bet nobody complains when they don't see more than the score in the morning, and that's because they bought tickets to one game "just to check it out."
  10. dragonfly

    dragonfly Member

    I've covered a couple AFL games in my day, and it always feels weird to write a straight gamer with all the fireworks and silly announcing, much as it felt weird to write a straight gamer on the XGames when I did that one time.

    But, I will say, if you can get past the circus part of it, there are some great, great stories in the AFL. Most of the players work for very modest salaries, have to get a second job in the offseason, have families, have been in NFL training camps, etc.

    They're generally happy to see you, easy to talk to, and grateful for the press. In terms of a springboard to something bigger, I'd say that if you did the beat and found 3-4 standout features each season, those clips would get you noticed.

    The team in our town has a good PR staff. Pros all around. And because we're usually the only paper that covers them, they're very accomodating. After games, I'd go right down on the field and do interviews with the players. At practice, I'd get 1-on-1s for as long as I needed.

    It aint big time stuff, but you can make it into something.
  11. Cousin Jeffrey

    Cousin Jeffrey Active Member

    i think the denver post used to send an old codger out on the road with the team, maybe in case elway decides to come out of retirement on the road.
  12. mdpoppy

    mdpoppy Member

    I believe this is the Arena League Writers Association someone was talking about.

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