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Football previews and "themes"

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by hackcrack, Jun 2, 2010.

  1. hackcrack

    hackcrack Member

    I've heard the argument that "themes" have to be tied to every element of a tab and not just the main stories. Agree or disagree? There's several teams that have some element of their season that will undergo a radical change, new ground. But others, not so much.
  2. Ace

    Ace Well-Known Member

    I disagree. I hate themes.
  3. amraeder

    amraeder Well-Known Member

    Never understood the need/desire for themes in previews. Give a team the preview it merits. Do it from the angle that is most interesting to your readers. Repeat for however many teams you're previewing.
  4. Ace

    Ace Well-Known Member

    I can see an overall theme (great crop of running backs, new coaches, young players, whatever) that you can play with. And if you want some kind of design theme, super.

    But to try to force that onto every story. ... Yech.
  5. expendable

    expendable Well-Known Member

    I've found that the right theme can produce a home run, but a forced one (and this happens more often than not) can weaken the entire product.
  6. HejiraHenry

    HejiraHenry Well-Known Member

    Here's a winning theme: Football season is coming and here's a lot of stuff you can read about that.
  7. TheHacker

    TheHacker Member

    I can take it or leave it on the themes. If you find yourself having to sit and wrack your brain trying to come up with one, that's a pretty good indication you don't have a good theme and you should drop it.

    On another note, it gives me a real feeling of affirmation to come here and find that I am far from being alone when it comes to making plans for the football tab during the first week of June.
  8. apeman33

    apeman33 Well-Known Member

    Some years I've done themes that work well for every team (Of course, I only have four high schools to cover), but that probably was a matter of coincidence. One year, it was easy to have a "Season of Change" theme because I had one school dropping down from Class 5A to 4A, one moving from an established league into a newly-formed one and one dropping down to eight-man football. The change for the fourth school was that it lost its two closest rivals when the one changed leagues and the other dropped to eight man.

    Sometimes, my theme is only for the cover and the story on the main team I cover and the other previews are written independently.

    Usually I only have themes for the football preview. I don't use them for the winter preview because there's boys hoops, girls hoops and wrestling in it and there's no good way to tie them all together.
  9. reformedhack

    reformedhack Active Member

    Unless there's a natural theme to be found among all of your teams, skip it. There's nothing quite as trite as a forced, artificially generated theme around song titles, movies or sports cliches. Not original. Not interesting.

    If the real issue at hand is what kind of image to put on your front page, think about doing a cover story (as a magazine would do) about a trend or some big-picture topic and generate your lede art from that. That'll be your "theme."
  10. zebracoy

    zebracoy Guest

    Having a themed centerpiece is a great thing. Having a themed tab? Not so much.
  11. Simon

    Simon Active Member

    Yeah like one of five things...We lost a lot of starters, we have a lot of starters, we have a new coach, we have an old geezer coach, we have a new offense...yay! Rinse and repeat for 100 teams and barf.

    The best preview sections have the best features/Takeouts/interesting angles from what you cover. "Previews" are fucking boring.
  12. hackcrack

    hackcrack Member

    If one of our better experts in this wants to, PM me for some more specific give and take. My department losses of late have stripped me of think-tank people who know how to bounce and evaluate ideas.
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