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best Web treatment of high school sports

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by bigblueman, Nov 28, 2007.

  1. bigblueman

    bigblueman Member

    I am helping to redesign our newspaper's Web site and prep sports will play a major part in the redesign. So I'm throwing out the question to all those involved with high school sports coverage, Which newspaper has the best high school sports Web site? Our newspaper is a 24,000 circulation a.m.

    Here's three sites to get the party started. I like www.dallasnews.com and http://blogs.scripps.com/trn/1standtrn/ at the Wichita Falls (Texas) Times Record News. Also, www.mchenrycountysports.com from Crystal Lake, Ill. is one of my favorites.

    My objective is to try and put together the best Web site possible, but not make it as labor intensive as some Web sites can be. We've got a great sports staff, and I'm trying to keep their extra work to a minimum. It's like everything else in this business, give me more of everything — except qualified people.

    Thanks in advance for your help with my research.
  2. Ace

    Ace Well-Known Member

    I'd worry less about how it is designed and try to make it as interactive as possible so the high school kids will post on it and parents will put in photos and videos and such.
  3. wickedwritah

    wickedwritah Guest

    I turn to www.boston.com/sports/schools a bunch.
  4. Notepad

    Notepad Member

    The Post-Gazette in Pittsburgh is one of the best in the country
  5. Places like the Dallas Morning News and the San Antonio Express-News are using www.hsgametime.com. It's fantastic. I'm trying to get my shop to buy into it, because our "new" high school section on our Web site is Grade A crap.
  6. John

    John Well-Known Member

  7. Dangerous_K

    Dangerous_K Active Member

    Agreed that interactivity is a key here, but on that note going this route means HEAVY moderation. My experiences, at least.
  8. pressmurphy

    pressmurphy Member

    Middletown, N.Y., paper created a separate brand for its H.S. coverage: Varsity 845


    Pretty nicely done considering they're not a huge paper.
  9. BillyT

    BillyT Active Member

    The Albany Times-Union does a tremendous job, and Syracuse does an excellent job, including good message boards.

    Wicked, I will say the Globe's site has improved from before. I thought the Herald was actually better for a while.
  10. deskslave

    deskslave Active Member

    I'll tell you one I don't particularly care for: The Orlando Sentinel's. They have a ton of crap, but it takes the Web site 4,000 years to load, even with high-speed. Be careful with things like video, photos, audio, etc. The Sentinel's site throws all the media players, etc., up front, and it really bogs things down.
  11. buckweaver

    buckweaver Active Member

    Had a whole seminar on this at a recent SoCal APSE meeting. My top 2 submissions:

    http://www.ocvarsity.com (OC Register)
    http://www.tribpreps.com (SLC Trib)

    The old Riverside P-E site was better than the current one, but they still do a lot of good things: http://www.hsgametime.com/inlandsoutherncalifornia/
  12. pressmurphy

    pressmurphy Member

    Syracuse is horrible. The site cannot be navigated. Blog entries are blended in with more traditional content on index pages in such a way that you cannot easily tell what was written two days ago as opposed to two hours ago. Blogs on the same topic (i.e., a running account of a game in progress) are given unique entries rather than assembled as part of a single entry. If you held a copy of the print edition in your hands and were then asked to locate the day's three H.S. articles on the web site, you could not do it in less than 15 minutes.

    In addition, they tried converting to a database-driven results and stats area of the site. It was a nice idea, but it only works when you actually have results to post in a timely fashion. Too many blank stats pages and lists of "results" that don't actually have results.

    As for the forums area, it's a cesspool of hate because there is no moderator. You can submit a form to report objectionable material, and a script will automatically delete the entire thread 10 minutes later without any human intervention. Unfortunately, childish types on the losing end of a fair and interesting debate will use the submission form to get the thread deleted and hide the fact that they didn't know what they were talking about in the first place.

    Did I mention that they have RSS feeds for every topic under the sun except H.S. sports?

    On top of everything else, the P-S is forced to use most of the same cookie-cutter software that its sister papers in Advance-Newhouse also use. None of them, including Staten Island and New Orleans, looks very good or navigates smoothly. In total, Syracuse might be the worst of New York's high school sites. That's quite an accomplishment in any state in which Gannett still has six newspapers.

    If not for the blogging of Phil Blackwell, who isn't even a P-S employee, the site would be a complete waste.

    If I want H.S. news from Central N.Y., I go to the Utica Observer-Dispatch, which did a nice redesign after getting un-Gannetted this fall.
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