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Editors at small papers deal with spicing up gamers

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Lucas Wiseman, Jun 4, 2007.

  1. ScottyDan

    ScottyDan Member

    Fair enough, Bob. I guess I was thinking along the lines of professional and major college sports. Even with prep coverage, I think game stories and play-by-play should be reduced. Perhaps it already has been to some degree and I'm just not as up to date as I should be. I just think back at how I did sports about 10 years ago for a pair of papers, sister papers in neighboring communities. Mostly gamers, an occasional feature or opinion column. I just don't see that type of coverage working in today's market ... I actually live in one of those communities that I covered years ago. The paper that I wrote for isn't the only source providing coverage now ... there are multiple blogs and an information web site. So, even on the small scale, the word is getting out faster. The point is is that even weekly and small daily papers need to be thinking more creatively about how they do coverage. I'm all for great writing whether its a gamer, feature or whatever, but its kind of moot if no one is reading it.
  2. Ace

    Ace Well-Known Member

    What the hell is wrong with the score in the first graf? Teams records in the first graf, I'll take out every time you. But the score?
  3. shotglass

    shotglass Guest

    Ace ... not a thing wrong with score in the first graf ... as long as you know how to throw the change-up, too. Just so they don't all sound the same.

    The one thing which disturbs me with gamers is the writer who believes he MUST set the scene for 4-5 graphs before he/she tells you what happened. And that's the same thing as what I said above ... it's OK here and there, but don't become a one-trick pony. Write different games in different ways.

    I do not see the end of the game story upon us, especially not at smaller papers which do mostly prep coverage. But understand that your readers DO read you more than once. And the last thing you want is for one of them to say, "Well, I didn't even have to look at that story to know it was So-and-So's. They always read the same way."
  4. Stupid

    Stupid Member

    Every game is different, every gamer should be different, to a degree. Just tell what happened through the words of the participants, highlight key points of the game, relate key facts about the teams and be done with it.

    If you have a box (and you should), you can forget a stats rehash and use play-by-play only for very, very critical moments in the story.

    You can sum up any game in any sport in 10 inches or less but that probably won't include any quotes save the most canned, cliché you'll hear uttered. Try to find something that wasn't obvious to those who saw it happen.
  5. timesup

    timesup New Member

    I hate play-by-play stories. To me, it is the sign of a mediocure writer with nothing to offer and no creativity. It's at its worst with basketball. Please don't do that. I know a guy that wrote a 51-inch game story on a high school baseball double-header. That and two pictures were his entire page one. Why?
  6. TyWebb

    TyWebb Well-Known Member

    This was my biggest problem starting out. I included way too much play-by-play and not enough interesting information. What helped me was reading good examples of regular games (not World Series gamers, but June/July, regular season gamers) and seeing how the writer found something different to write about.
  7. Ace

    Ace Well-Known Member

    Way I always tried to look at it was what made this unique? I hate writing the same stories, whether it's a gamer, an advance, a player feature, preseason story, whatever.

    So I always looked for something that made it different somehow.

    For a gamer, could be the star, could be the last guy off the bench contributing, could be a new play that worked, defense that didn't, the stud being sick from eating a chili dog at halftime -- anything.
  8. Mooninite

    Mooninite Member

    I think how you write the gamer depends on the circumstance. What you're covering, your market, etc. I know if I don't have the score in at least the third graph my SE rips me.
  9. TheHacker

    TheHacker Member

    There is nothing -- nothing -- worse than a baseball/softball gamer that's heavy on play-by-play. I've got one staffer who does that and it drives me crazy ... part of that set in their ways crowd.

    And even worse is when we get little league games submitted by parents/coaches who insist on breaking down the full play-by-play of how every run was scored. Every week I hack it to bits and every week they keep sending in double the amount that actually makes it into print. And I never have anyone question me about it. Makes you wonder why we bother. You'd think if they cared, they'd at least ask why half of what they sent didn't run.

    But overall, on gamers, I think you have to view it as writing about the team -- the players, the people -- rather than writing about the game, itself. If you have a decent-sized coverage area, you probably go at least a few games without seeing each team. So when you do staff them in person it's a good chance to take stock of how things have been going for them. Look back at the last couple games, look at what's upcoming on the schedule. Think of it more as a status report than a game story -- a chance to lend a little perspective to the season. Use what happens in the game you cover as a jumping off point to talk about things in a broader way.
  10. JD Canon

    JD Canon Guest

    thehacker has it right on. when you're a one-man prep show covering a dozen schools, you get to each specific sports team once maybe and the 'good teams' a little more often. you've gotta use the few times you can cover them as an opportunity to featurize the event — either it's best player or unsung hero or some interesting aspect of the team or something.

    the score still has to be high. and who racked up what stats has to be in there. but other than that, the gamer could be just like a feature with some game details. something like that's more interesting to everyone involved. and a good writer could even trick scottydan into looking at it.

    that's a prep writer's job, right? tricking people into reading all 15 inches of a podunk high game that only the players, parents and coaches care about. handcuffing someone to a prep story proves you've got talent.
  11. rgd

    rgd Guest

    Sally Swordbuckle gathered herself from the floor of East Jesus High gymnasium and glanced at the scoreboard. It still read: "Bigville 60, East Jesus 59."


    Junior Jehosophat unwrapped each finger on his heavily taped right hand and mustered an exhausted smile. His Possum Gulch Procrastinators had finally defeated their archrival, Skunk Gut, in a Backwater 6 Conference playoff encounter.


    Fans filed solemnly out of Crow Crap Arena into the brisk late autumn air, and the message was clear -- Hairy Back Community College was still the team to beat in the Jethro Junior College Conference basketball race.
  12. txsportsscribe

    txsportsscribe Active Member

    you ought to be ripped for it taking you to even the 3rd graf to get the effin score in a gamer.
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