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Community journalism (bowling, racing, etc.)

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Inky_Wretch, Feb 21, 2007.

  1. scrap the survey.

    Try to cover racing with or with out the gearhead.

    At my last stop, racing was big. Anywhere from 3 to 8K every weekend depending on the weather.
    Just like you, it was Fri and Sat night for eight months. It also ran WAAAAAAAAAAy past deadline (easily 1a.m.).
    We tried stringing with a local who came in to bitch about the coverage, but he wrote stories that were the same drivel every week - often sprinkled with a hint of sexual innuendo. He was also erratic and ultimately unreliable.
    Finally, we began alternating reporters to go out on Friday or Sat and do a feature on one of locals for the next day (usually Sat.). We sent a photog. out on Saturday to get photos.
    During football season, the guy who had to stay in the office and man the desk. He went out on Friday, before the calls started coming in, and got stuff for a feature.
    We ran the weekend results in a Monday package with lots of photos.
    Last I heard there local racing has evolved into a small weekly tab with a shitpile of advertising.
  2. Taylee

    Taylee Member

    This option might be the best, but if that isn't for you, then do what we did with sprint car racing. Couple thousand people at the track every weekend so we developed this plan. Took the track's PR guy to lunch and told him everything I planned was only on the condition that he sent us timely results. Hell, the guy met deadline better than a few writers. We sent a photog as often as possible. We did a weekday feature whenever possible and we did cover the big season-ending racing. The bitching ceased. Can you do that for bowling? Partially. Have them e-mail results and maybe do a feature on the season-ending event. These aren't prime-time events anywhere, but it may be a good coverage decision in your area like it was in ours.
  3. Clever username

    Clever username Active Member

    You might want to dig into the gearhead's background a bit, if you haven't already, and see where his interests really lie before letting him write a column. Is he just a concerned, interested fan in the know or does his uncle run the track? We had a guy that worked for an ARCA team a few years back write a weekly motorsports column and half the time he wrote about his team's 19th-place finish rather than things people cared about. He obviously got shitcanned.
  4. Kaylee

    Kaylee Member

    Okay, so you can't staff an entire season. Doesn't mean you still can't do the occasional feature or something to keep everyone happy. This sounds like something worth dabbling in during the summer months, though clearly not worth doing on a race-by-race basis.

    As for letting this schmuck pen columns...hell no, hell no, hell no.
  5. JBHawkEye

    JBHawkEye Well-Known Member

    We staff our local track on Saturday nights almost every week (there are generally about three or four weeks a year where we're just too loaded with stuff to cover to go out there). We run weekly point standings, and we go a little overboard on their big events (they have a two-day late-model event that pays $10,000 to the winner and draws about 70 cars).

    Sadly, what started out as "gee, thanks for coming out" when we began covering the track has now turned into "you give the most coverage to (insert class here)." They've turned as whiny as the high school parents.

    A few years ago, one of our area high school basketball coaches was working on the pit crew for a guy who drove in a class that was also racing during the big late model event. He came over and started bitching that I didn't write anything in the preview about the support classes that were racing.

    My response: "The event is called the LATE MODEL Nationals, right?"

    He says, "Yeah."

    I say, "It's not the MODIFIED Nationals?"


    "Then that's why I didn't write about them in the preview."

    Oh, and to echo everyone else, DON'T LET THE GUY WRITE THE COLUMN.
  6. TheHacker

    TheHacker Member

    I think the best way to handle this stuff is with freelancers. Maybe you have to cultivate someone. Maybe you take the local yokel and coach him up a little bit. Sure, that's a royal pain in the ass on the front end, but once you make him understand exactly what you want, you don't have to think about it anymore. One of the papers I used to work for had an arrangement like that. And yes, the writing was crap. But nobody cared. We knew we'd have something on the local dirt track every week, which kept all the dirt track fans happy. Perhaps more importantly, that kept them from complaining to management. And even more important than that, we didn't have to spend any time thinking about it. Reliable freelancers are gold.
  7. HejiraHenry

    HejiraHenry Well-Known Member

    Do tell.
  8. I'll never tell

    I'll never tell Active Member

    We don't do anything with them because they're late as hell, too. But usually one flipping guy isn't enough to get the crap rolling downhill at my shop.

    I'll plead with the ME to handle it with agate and two features a month (unless there is 3K there, then you figure 10 percent (can) read the paper -- that's significant). That way when they don't send you the agate, you put it off on the track owner. Well, Bubba's not sending anything, you ought to talk to him about it.

    But to echo earlier sentiments, I'll bet my ass this guy has no clue what a compound modifier is AND that will be the least of your worries when you have to carve a 45-minute chunck out of your night to edit the toothless writing wonder.
  9. ballparkman

    ballparkman New Member

    Just laughing my ass off at Zeke. Great stuff ;D ;D ;D
  10. I can't remember the exact quote. He used the same pseudo-porn phrase every week.
    It was something along the lines of: Slamming the gear shaft, Billy two-teeth drove it hard into the corner, stroking it for all it was worth, before skeeting out of the turn and exploding into the straight stretch.

    I wish I could remember his exact phrasing because it left little to the imagination.
  11. Idaho

    Idaho Active Member

    Have the person running the local track submit the results from each weekend's race(s). Chance are they end after deadline, so run them in Monday's paper if you must. But write a 4-inch brief highlighting a few of the winners and the classifications.

    That will shut people up and give you something local in your community paper on a Monday or in your outdoors section.

    The auto racing people aren't much different than the soccer moms or 5K racers. They are part of your community and are your subscribers. Throwing them a bone by printing the results of the local races and let them clip them out and hang them on the fridge.
  12. Inky_Wretch

    Inky_Wretch Well-Known Member

    I badger the local tracks for results. And we do features on them during the summer.

    As for this guy's writing, he's not that bad. It wouldn't take long to clean it up for publication.
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