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covering preps

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Buck Hill, Jul 20, 2006.

  1. Buck Hill

    Buck Hill New Member

    I'm looking for input on how other mid-sized papers cover high schools. We're a 35,000 that publishes write-ups and agate for everything for the 25 high schools in our coverage area. If you finish 0-31 in wrestling, your name is in the paper 31 times in the agate.

    The system we have is a monster and works only because we have a great, veteran staff. But with our newshole shrinking (as well as our staff) thanks to cutbacks, we're pondering slashing and burning the entire thing and starting over.

    So, let me know what you do at your paper, and make sure to note what your circulation is and how many high schools you have. Also, input from papers that have drastically scaled back prep coverage would be appreciated. How did readers respond? Sometimes I think our obsession with this stuff is crazy.
  2. JBHawkEye

    JBHawkEye Well-Known Member

    We have 26 high schools (3 local), for a 20,000-circ paper.

    Our focus is on the three local schools first, then the area ones.

    We do the same with our roundups like you do. We focus more on agate than stories in those (one-paragraph wrapup). In fall, winter and summer, each sport gets its own roundup, in the spring we just do one giant one.

    We've never really had space issues, so we're lucky. Obviously, if we ever had staff cutbacks (I have two full-timers who exclusively do preps and two part-timers taking calls), we would have to make new arrangements.
  3. LemMan

    LemMan Member

    We're a 45,000-circ covering 11 high schools. The only thing we run full boxes for is baseball, football and basketball, and track and wrestling when it's the postseason. If we get the event called in, we just write a brief. We haven't had any complaints.

    That said, running the full boxes is good - for your benefit more than the reader's. It helps with stat-keeping and such...
  4. shotglass

    shotglass Guest

    100K daily, 150K Sunday. 48 high schools.

    Boxscores for football, boys' and girls' basketball and wrestling. That's it. Final scores and standings on everything else until the postseason.

    And watch those wrestling people ... they've started scheduling quadrangular duals and will try to give you 20 dual summaries from one site. Squash that bug real quick.
  5. Buck Hill

    Buck Hill New Member

    We already take those 20 dual summaries. We put EVERYTHING in agate. It's the way we've done things forever — long before I got here — but I feel like it's holding us back from doing all the things we need to do to be better. We're in and out of the APSE awards for daily section, but we could really kick some serious butt if we weren't chained to the phones.
  6. Hank_Scorpio

    Hank_Scorpio Active Member

    That's a waste of space and it's redundant.

    In track meets, they don't run the 100 meter dash 20 times. They run it once and then take the top times for Team A and Team B and get one dual meet score. Then they take the top times for Team B and Team C for another dual meet score.

    A good way to do that is list the top four times in each event, plus each dual meet score.
  7. shotglass

    shotglass Guest

    It's a little different animal with the wrestling thing. A team will wrestle four DUALS in one day against four other teams. And the second team will wrestle four DUALS against four teams. So Team A's 167-pounder is actually wrestling four separate matches.

    In other words, they ARE running the 100-meter dash 20 times. ;)

    It still became more than what we could handle, so we had to make a rule about quad-duals. Final scores only.
  8. Hank_Scorpio

    Hank_Scorpio Active Member

    Yep, that's why I limited my example to track.

    For wrestling duals, I think we limited it to final scores. And then we'd list the wrestlers that went 5-0 and 4-1 (or however many they wrestled).

    That got a few names in the paper, but it wasn't overbearing.

    Oh and one a general comment about basketball agate that just came to me. If you're going to take the time to run a basketball boxscore, run BOTH teams, if one isn't local.

    I know a few papers (including one I worked at) that only ran the local teams box and just the opposing team's totals.
  9. HejiraHenry

    HejiraHenry Well-Known Member

    Paper A: 33,000 circulation, 25 or so schools, very little agate but roundups on everything ... sometimes breaking boys and girls basketball into separates ... and the roundup sometimes reaching 75 inches. That's a pretty big rodent to swallow right on deadline, too.

    Paper B: 36,000 circulation, 45 or so schools, agate on everything ... and very little in the way of roundups. Stories on staffed games, of course, and a lot of Friday night football roundup, too.

    I just left Paper A and returned to Paper B. At Paper B, I want a little more in the way of nightly roundups ... but not 75 inches. And I'll take all of the agate I can get (as long as I don't have to take much of it, that is). Prep agate rocks.
  10. slappy4428

    slappy4428 Active Member

    And when you get to that point, you tell the coach that you want the names of the kids who went undefeated and their record on the day... kiss it off in three grafs and fuck the 20 dual agate
  11. Central-KY-Kid

    Central-KY-Kid Well-Known Member

    20K daily, seven schools in coverage area
    - Football games are broken up into separate gamers (w/box whether staffed or phoned/e-mailed/faxed in)
    - Track, tennis, cross country, golf, swimming and wrestling are agate. We do staff major area meets and state meets. As far as agate, every kid goes in (doesn't matter what place, time or record). If wrestling involves more than two matches in a day, we list team scores from each dual and every local kid's record on the day (103, Joe Blow, 2-2).
    - Soccer, volleyball, basketball, baseball and softball are combined roundups. These are separate for each sport. Usually 2-4 grafs per contest. Baseball, softball and basketball also have linescores.
  12. Football_Bat

    Football_Bat Well-Known Member

    My last stop was a 15K with two city schools, a city private school, six area schools that played football and two small ones that didn't. That was it.

    Now I'm at a paper that is not quite 2x as large, but covers a much broader area (all or parts of 7 counties) with 31 football schools.

    Obviously, we sell out during football, with a full preview page each Thursday with a kickoff weather forecast (an idea I got from this board last year), as well as C1 features and advances. We have a 4-page prep pullout section that includes volleyball and CC as well.

    We use stringers extensively for football, but concentrate coverage based on our circulation and market penetration (that is, areas with circulation "potential") to get more bang for the buck.

    We do boxes on all football games, and roundups on the ones we don't get to. We also run district standings before and after each weekend of play, and run season stats once a week.

    In all the other sports, it's pretty much a Tuesday-Friday cycle. We'll staff important home games, but we won't travel until the playoffs. After all, we got a paper to put out and phones to answer.
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