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Covering A Scrimmage W/O Detailing The Scrimmage

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by daytonadan1983, Apr 15, 2012.

  1. daytonadan1983

    daytonadan1983 Active Member

    I’m handling spring football for the athletic department website while the main football contact is busy with baseball and assisting with the production of the new student athlete guide.

    Was planning to write a scrimmage recap/feature Saturday when we were told that the scrimmage was moved up to Friday night. Hurried over to the field annoyed at first but then discovered the reason for the change was so players who knew Minnesota LB Gary Tinsley could attend the funeral Saturday.

    So I focused the recap on players going to the funeral, primarily because it was a stronger story than anything that could come out of a scrimmage. Besides, we have a spring game next week and there will be more opportunities to cover that aspect.

    So what happens the next day when I see the football guy and the local beat writer? “How come you didn’t write anything about the scrimmage itself?” “Because funerals and practice touchdowns don’t exactly mesh, perhaps?” was my reply.

    So honored members of this board, was my approach correct for this one day of coverage? Looking forward to the discussion.
  2. jr/shotglass

    jr/shotglass Well-Known Member

    I understand what your thought process was. Here's the thing. The people going to see that story wanted to know about the football end of it.

    We get jaded and think, "Who cares about a spring football scrimmage?" The answer is, all those people who sit at the tailgates four hours before a nonconference game in September.
  3. Roscablo

    Roscablo Well-Known Member

    I think since you wrote it for the AD website it needs to focus primarily on the scrimmage. You could lead with the funeral side, but people are going to go to the AD website looking for the stats and the nuts and bolts of the event.

    If it was written for a newspaper I'd have less problem with it since that can be more featurey, although you still need something from what actually happened in the scrimmage in there. I've written spring stories like that before for newspapers.
  4. I like your approach. Barring some key injury, it's a much more interesting story and you're not giving up much in the way of "news." I might have just included a quick box detailing key aspects of the scrimmage -- that way you keep everyone happy and don't have to get your practice touchdowns and funerals mixed up, allowing you to just focus the story on something more compelling.
  5. Versatile

    Versatile Active Member

    The athletics department website should be serving its readership, which is not the same as a newspaper website's readership. You can assume that those who visit your website are serious fans of your teams. They're going to want to know everything that happened in the scrimmage. A paragraph or two would suffice on why it was moved up a day.
  6. BillyT

    BillyT Active Member

    You guys *clearly* live in different parts of the country than I do.

    Stats from a scrimmage.

    It's a scrimmage!

    Again, not in a hotbed of college football.
  7. mediaguy

    mediaguy Well-Known Member

    I'm all for going outside the box, but for an official site, you've got to detail the scrimmage, who looked good, etc. ... Offer up a follow story on players leaving for the funeral, but most of a Florida school's official site visitors are barely aware who Gary Tinsley is, or that he died. It's not as important to fans as details from the scrimmage.
  8. armageddon

    armageddon Active Member

    Did you think about writing two stories? You could do a scrimmage story and include a link to a funeral story, or vice-versa.

    That would have worked for me and your readers.
  9. young-gun11

    young-gun11 Member

    Well, you're pretty much as good as it gets in my book, Dan. (I will message you to let you know why I say such.) You probably should have just gone with scrimmage results, though. IMHO, why the scrimmage was moved should have been in the "Scrimmage moved to Friday" release.
  10. flexmaster33

    flexmaster33 Active Member

    I agree...I think you handled it well and gave the readers something fresh to read...you are correct, there will be other opportunities to focus solely on the football side. Another option would be to run your funeral story as the main piece, and have a sidebar detailing the scrimmage.
  11. Tom Petty

    Tom Petty New Member

    yeah, god forbid not giving a blow by blow of a scrimmage instead of writing something that was, ya know, actually interesting.
    shame on you.
  12. jr/shotglass

    jr/shotglass Well-Known Member

    It's not interesting to you. There's every, and I mean every, possibility that you wouldn't care who your local school recruits, either. ;)

    That's not to say that there aren't fans who want every morsel they can get their hands on about their local football team. How else could we explain schools which have 7-8 non-affiliated websites doing just that?

    We're in a two-week period where we're running anywhere from one to three stories daily on Penn State. Part of it, of course, is the newness of the coach and his program, and also that the media's never been given such access under the previous regime. But my point is, we're not hearing too many complaints about the glut of stories.
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