1. Welcome to SportsJournalists.com, a friendly forum for discussing all things sports and journalism.

    Your voice is missing! You will need to register for a free account to get access to the following site features:
    • Reply to discussions and create your own threads.
    • Access to private conversations with other members.
    • Fewer ads.

    We hope to see you as a part of our community soon!

Doing more with the same

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Jake_Taylor, Dec 10, 2007.

  1. Jake_Taylor

    Jake_Taylor Well-Known Member

    Looking for advice on how to handle changes in our area that are going to stretch our already thin resources.

    I'm the SE and a small (but growing) daily in a small (but growing) town. I have one full time writer, one photog and a handful of stringers at my disposal. We have one big high school in the county. Next fall a second high school opens.

    Right now we cover the local high school similar to the way papers in Ann Arbor, Mich., or Lawrence, Kan. might cover the local university: Huge ammounts of football coverage with previews, mid-week features and notebooks, most of the time a gamer and sidebar on Friday nights. We also get to virtually every home game of the rest of the sports. We have a few high schools in bordering counties that we cover a little bit, but mostly roundup-type stuff, an also find time to sprinkle in some coverage of the major university just down the highway, as well as local marathoners, race car drivers, bass fishermen, etc.

    So how do we provide a similar ammount of coverage to two high schools, plus keep up with the ever growing list of demands for Web content? My instinct is to cover the hell out of both football programs (basketball to a slightly lesser degree) and cover the "minor" sports that are having a good season. I'm sure to catch hell from parents that are used to seeing two gamers a week for the 0-14 volleyball team, but it seems like that might be the way to go.

    Anybody dealt with something like this? How did it go?
  2. Boomer7

    Boomer7 Active Member

    Use more photos of the smaller sports that will be getting fewer stories. That might cushion the blow for the complaining parents.
  3. Jake_Taylor

    Jake_Taylor Well-Known Member

    I like that idea, except with only one photog on staff we already have trouble getting all the art we need.
  4. OnTheRiver

    OnTheRiver Active Member

    Ask for community submissions. Find someone who goes to the games -- a teacher, a kid on the high school paper or yearbook staff, or a parent -- and say, "We'd love to run a picture now and then, but we're struggling to get to everything. Could you send us a picture? We'd be glad to give you credit on the caption."
  5. deskslave

    deskslave Active Member

    Take advantage of the fact that for the first couple years, the new school's schedules are likely to be somewhat limited. At least in the South (don't know where you are), new schools typically play a non-region schedule for the first couple years, including some JV games. So while you'll still have to cover them, there's gonna be games you can let slide.

    When things really ramp up, you're gonna have to trim some things back. Do you really need a sidebar from a high-school football game? If you do, can one writer do both? Do you have the space for four stories instead of two? If not, you can always tweak the sidebars a little bit and turn them into second-day stories for Sunday.

    As far as photos, I don't know if you do this already, but communicate that, at least for football, Friday nights need to be blocked out for football. No news features, no Halloween carnivals down at Second Street Baptist, whatever. If a car full of kids crashes into a cement mixer, then obviously you change gears a little bit. But as a rule, Friday nights are yours.

    Then, if both teams are playing at home, there's no reason the photog can't get to both. Will he be able to get as broad a range of shots? No. Will you occasionally have to run a photo where the kid's running off the page, or there's a bit of motion blur? Yeah. But sometimes that's the breaks. Also, you say have some kind of stringer budget. Any chance of getting a photo stringer? Failing all that, you can always ask for a couple hundred bucks for a decent point-and-shoot to take to the less-important game. You shouldn't lead your section with point-and-shoot photos, but for downpage 2-column art? It'll do.

    I've never been a fan of submitted photos (they open many cans of worms), but they're a fine source of Web content. Set up a feature on your site where people can upload photos. Might wanna make sure no one uploads pictures of kids giving the finger or something, but other than that, they're pretty low-maintenance.

    And when the inevitable complaints come in, don't be afraid to spell out for people that two high schools instead of one will necessarily affect coverage to some degree. They don't like it? They shouldn't have moved there and forced a second high school to be built. :)
Draft saved Draft deleted

Share This Page