1. Welcome to SportsJournalists.com, a friendly forum for discussing all things sports and journalism.

    Your voice is missing! You will need to register for a free account to get access to the following site features:
    • Reply to discussions and create your own threads.
    • Access to private conversations with other members.
    • Fewer ads.

    We hope to see you as a part of our community soon!

Athlete of the Week

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by ColdCat, Jun 26, 2011.

  1. ColdCat

    ColdCat Well-Known Member

    My shop wants to bring back an Athlete of the week feature that we used to run many years back.
    I figure we can do this one of three ways.

    1. Straight up best athletic performance of the previous seven days. Impressive stats, clutch performances, etc.

    2. Academic Athlete of the week. Recognizes the "student" part of student athlete. Can recognize the third or fourth best player on a team who happens to have good grades, so it's less likely one dominant athlete will win multiple times in a school year.

    3. Unsung hero. The special teams player in football or defensive specialist in volleyball or basketball.

    I am leaning more toward 2 or 3, seeing as how the kids with impressive stats will likely get mentioned in gamers over and over anyway. I think even if I do option 1 or 2 for all sports, I can do an unsung hero for football and boys hoops as part of the weekly notebook I do anyway.

    How do other shops do this?
  2. deviljets7

    deviljets7 Member

    At my old shop when we had a Player of the Week feature it was a combination of 1 and 3.

    On-field performance was obviously a very big factor, but we often tried to use it as a way to show recognition to players/teams that might not have gotten a ton of coverage. As an example, I was in an area with a basketball team that is a perennial top 10 in the nation with multiple D1 recruits each year, those guys were never used for it, at least not until late in the season when they were the only team left playing. It can also be a way to put more attention for a game you weren't able to cover. IE: if we covered Podunk North/Podunk South and Springfield/Shelbyville on that football Friday, we'd more likely give the POTW to the guy who scored 3 TDs for Podunk West instead of the one who had 3 TDs for Springfield.

    I don't know how many schools are in your coverage area, but between all the sports/schools we had (and trying to alternate boy/girl), dealing with repeats wasn't an issue. Of course we had about 25 schools in our coverage area so this might not be as easy for you.
  3. JRoyal

    JRoyal Well-Known Member

    We do the best performance in the area. If you can do it, I'd suggest you go the route we did a few years ago -- one day of the week run a list of top performers, and have them as part of an online poll. Then, later in the week name a readers' athlete of the week and your athlete of the week. We get a TON of web traffic from this from people wanting to vote from the kid from their school or their town.
  4. HanSenSE

    HanSenSE Well-Known Member

    Our paper already has a relationship with some local school districts and an advertiser to recognize academic achievers, but even if we didn't, I wouldn't make that part of an AOY mix. JRoyal is on to something and I may even pitch that to the folks in the front office, who tried to sell an AOY package last winter and didn't.

    Biggest problem I had with initiating this feature a couple of years ago was the age-old one: cooperation. Couple of times calls and emails went unreturned, or were returned past the deadline. After a while, it became not worth the stress.
  5. JRoyal

    JRoyal Well-Known Member

    Our online poll got enough hits they sold an ad for the page pretty quick. This past season, they packaged the online ad with a small ad in print when we announced the candidates and another when we announced the winner. Got the same place to buy the ad for the year before the season, so it brought in a nice bit for us, I believe.
  6. sgreenwell

    sgreenwell Well-Known Member

    It might help if you think of a more general name for it - something like Athlete Spotlight - if you're not just going to pick the kid who had the best game of the week. We did something similar at one of my old shops, and we actually had one guy complain that we just didn't pick a certain lacrosse player every single week, since he averaged something like five goals a game. Sure, he was part of the lunatic fringe, but I could kind of see his point since we called it AotW and not something more generic.
  7. e_bowker

    e_bowker Member

    Our paper runs a daily feature called "Who's hot." Just a mugshot and a sentence or two highlighting something someone did. We run it on the front page along the left rail with some local schedules, a TV blurb, lottery numbers and a brief.
    It's incredibly popular with our readers, and also incredibly useful from the standpoint of getting information in the paper. We use it to refer to stories inside, as a standalone item for things that aren't worth a full story (like youth sports and juco signings), or to spotlight someone who may have been overlooked a day or two before (especially nice during football season).
  8. playthrough

    playthrough Moderator Staff Member

    One old shop of mine packaged monthly academic student-athlete honorees in an ad. Worked well. Feature-wise, unless a kid is blowing up things in science class or speaks Swahili to throw off opponents, the academic stuff can get boring in a hurry to readers as a regular thing.
  9. HanSenSE

    HanSenSE Well-Known Member

    Bump for an update: Ad manager and ME like the idea. Will huddle up with the ME after my vacation to figure out how to do it.
  10. baddecision

    baddecision Active Member

    How many schools do you handle? If the base is diverse enough (probably need a dozen or more schools at least), how about spotlighting a different prep sport every DAY, with a kid featured as Top Performer w/mug... and then having DIFFERENT people named as m/f Athletes of the Week on, say, Sunday. The daily spotlight on a sport is a great way to highlight kids that might not make it to the level of a feature; kids who have been overlooked during a busy week; or even as a roundabout way to preview a big upcoming event. This was a highly popular feature at one of my shops. Work a couple days ahead; you'll get nominations, or you can just scan the results or look at the schedule and standings to make an intelligent choice. One thing we learned: No repeats!
Draft saved Draft deleted

Share This Page