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Covering loveable losers

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by amraeder, Aug 25, 2007.

  1. amraeder

    amraeder Well-Known Member

    Okay, so the one local football team that had a shot at winning this week lost. That means three weeks into the season (unless there's a major, major upset tomorrow) the three local large school teams will be all 0-for-3.
    I'm the one in charge of cranking out previews every Thursday, and I'm looking for good angles to attack these stories.
    I'll be brainstorming ideas, but I figured you guys might be able to help.
    I'm sick of getting the "We're just making too many mistakes right now. If we can just turn those around....." shtick.
    The one school that was supposed to be worth a damn, I can always do a "Why aren't we where we thought we would be" kind of piece. The other two? I'm at more of a loss. (Yeah, coach, we know they're trying hard.)

    Anyway, thanks.
  2. pallister

    pallister Guest

    The best features, IMO, are about the players themselves. Often, that has nothing to do with what goes on on the field (all the better for a bad team). Personally, I like to read about people -- what they do, why they do it. Look for what makes people unique. If you can tie that into the sport they play, great; if not, who cares, as long as it's a good story.
  3. BertoltBrecht

    BertoltBrecht Member

    I agree with pallister... Find a position that is doing well statistically and do a feature story on him/them.

    But if you have to do a story, I'd combine it into a column, loaded it with quotes about how frustrated those kiddies are. I know in my area, local players are friends with each other regardless of the team, so they might confide in each other during this time of shitty football in the area. If not, I bet the coaches do.

    I think a short "what goes wrong" story can be cool, if you dissect the times or plays in each game where the team loses the game. An info box and maybe a few photos might make this a reasonably interesting story. If there's a common thread in each loss you have something...

    Here's a few more things to look at:
    • Check the history, see the last time this team went 0-3. The douches in our area hadn't been 0-3 since 1978. So at least you have a nugget to drop into every story.
    • Is this tradtionally a successful program? If so, the coaches' job might be in jeopardy — something down the road.
    • If they give you that mistakes crap, go into the mistakes, if he can't explain it, that's kind of a weak, but funny story.

    I hope I've been a help. I'm sure there's others that have done stories better than mine, but that's my experience.
  4. Birdscribe

    Birdscribe Active Member

    Excellent advice.

    Something I figured out a long time ago and tell my college students: The games are only a framework for the people who play them.

    People like reading about other people. Anytime you can personalize a story, do it.
  5. Batman

    Batman Well-Known Member

    Be careful with that approach. Hell hath no fury like the parents of Johnny Cornerback when you point out, in painstaking deail in the newspaper for God and everybody to see, exactly why his teammates and coaches call him "asshole," "shit-for-brains," and "toast."
  6. BertoltBrecht

    BertoltBrecht Member

    How the fuck do you write a losing gamer Batman? Losses can't always be due to "bad luck" or "tough breaks." I'm tired of that fucking shit — because I do the same, because I don't want one person to yell at my editor, who has a knee-jerk reaction to every fucking call/email.

    Everytime I write my piece-of-shit stories, I have to make them more piece-of-shit because I have to hold back on the "bad plays" and the quotes my editor wants me to omit because they show too much emotion.

    If the team fucking lost, they lost and you say how they did it. Who gives a rat's fuck if it was because Johnny Cornerback missed a tackle. I'm sorry for ranting for what could have been sarcasm, but my fucking stories suffer because of my knee-jerk editor and I'd hate to see someone else's do the same.
  7. BertoltBrecht

    BertoltBrecht Member

    Edited for brevity. And civility.
  8. amraeder

    amraeder Well-Known Member

    Trust me I know that pain. Can't write a gamer about a loss without SOMEONE getting mad at me. But, oh well, tough.
    Good advice though, guys. Thanks, and feel free to keep it coming.
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