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Back in the business

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by airbag2929, Oct 16, 2014.

  1. airbag2929

    airbag2929 New Member

    After losing my job as a sports copy editor at a major daily in Louisiana in March, 2013, I am taking over as sports editor for a family-owned weekly in my area. I am the entire sports dept. covering 7 high schools with stringers. Glad I am back in the business, but I know it will be some hard work, especially up front. Any advice would be appreciated. Thanks!
  2. steveu

    steveu Well-Known Member

    First: Are you nuts? Get out of this business! lol

    Second: And on a more serious note, congratulations. What I would do as soon as possible is either head to each of your seven schools and introduce yourself to the AD or talk with the AD (or e-mail) and let them know your coverage plans and what they can do to help.

    Find out what schools' programs attract the most attention. You obviously want to do something on each school's programs at any given point. If you know the team is going to stink that year, find feature stories. Maybe a team will go 2-18 on the basketball court but the top player is recovering from a torn ACL or something similar. And since this is a weekly, features will go farther with the readers because of their timeliness (you can always put gamers online).

    Hope this helps as a start.
  3. Songbird

    Songbird Well-Known Member

    It's a weekly. Learn to plan your schedule re: game coverage and finding time to write around production day. I was a daily sportswriter for the first 13 years. Did the weekly for 4 years. It took 3-4 months to get into the weekly routine.

    Have fun.
  4. reformedhack

    reformedhack Active Member

    To amplify what the others are saying, don't try to do daily coverage in a weekly format. Here's a golden opportunity to treat your pages like a local magazine.

    Entertain the reader. A nice big centerpiece feature, especially one that includes multiple schools (like a trend piece about left-handed quarterbacks, soccer goalies who don't use gloves, or something broad), can go a very long way toward creating the image (illusion?) of blanket coverage of your area.

    Prepare the reader. Take advantage of opportunities to let your readers look "forward" rather than "backward" — more advances, fewer recaps ... especially if you have a local daily in your market handling yesterday's news. If you do have to provide coverage of what's happened in the past (last week's football games, for example) consider small news-of-record capsules — or, if you can get away with it, agate — rather than full game stories. Calendars and schedules are great because they're useful. Community announcements (youth soccer tryouts, bowling tournament scheduled, etc.) are engaging, albeit not journalism.

    Inform the reader. Uncover something — not necessarily investigative, although that would be nice. Look for things off the beaten path ... like, breaking down how the local parks & rec department spends its allocated tax dollars, or how the local youth football program handles concussions. A nice blend of the unexpected can add some vitality to your pages.

    Interact with the reader. A weekly poll with reader comments can be fun and help fill some space. Also — and I know some here will hate this because deep in my heart I do, too, but I know how popular it can be — find a corner somewhere to run submitted photos ... kids holding their first fish, junior tennis player holding a trophy, etc.

    As an aside, the occasional photo essay page can work, especially if you have a good shooter on staff. Make it meaningful or interesting where you can — 24 hours in the life of the local basketball court, etc. — rather than predictable — 10 photos from a routine Little League game.

    I'm just spitballing some ideas off the top of my head, because this sounds like a fun undertaking. Ultimately, it's your paper and your readership. You'll know what to do. Good luck with it. Do great things.
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