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Football tab strategies

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by kimronspringle, Sep 4, 2009.

  1. I'm not knocking and am curious to see what the board thinks about this.

    We do a traditional football tab and when I say traditional I mean preview stories on the 12 teams in our coverage area which includes roster, current and last year's schedule and a league-by-league capsule for each of the 40-some teams in our corner of the state.

    Our competition, which is about 5 times larger than us and about 40 minutes away, does really short stories (probably between 10 and 14 inches) on each of the six leagues in region of the state and then rosters, current and previous year's schedule, key players lost and back, coaches, last year's record in agate form for all 40-some teams in the region. They usually have a cover story of some sort and the same statistical recaps we do (previous year's standings, leaders, playoff results and preseason rankings).

    Any thoughts on which strategy is better.

    The rosters for all the teams helps us in a professional sense, but I don't know how thrilling this kind of thing is for readers. I can only process the information as a professional not as a reader. But if I did look at it like a reader, I don't see much in there to make me pick it up and leaf through it. 50-some pages of agate is not exactly compelling me to read.
  2. Den1983

    Den1983 Active Member

    We don't include rosters in our tabs. We cover 10 teams - seven local, three area - and with each team page is an 18 inch story, this year's schedule and a fact info box that notes coaches and their staffs, last year's record, returning lettermen and starters and key players to look out for. The past two years, our tabs included a feature centerpiece that ran as a double truck. This year, we didn't, so we include stories on each team in the districts of the local teams.

    We also include our rankings for each of the districts of our local teams.

    As far as which strategy is better, as a reader, I would like the latter, simply because readers gobble up rankings, stats and they seem to cover a broader region. That would just be my preference though. But I would think they have more resources, staff and time if they are "5 times" larger than you, so, pound for pound, I think you're doing fine.
  3. UPChip

    UPChip Well-Known Member

    A lot depends on your size and approach. We did things pretty straight-ahead. One roughly 12-15-incher on each's team with lots of names, plus a team photo and a schedule. We have a D2 football team in our coverage area, and we did a feature focused on a facet of the offense (which happened to be the kicker, who's from town), one for the defense and a general season preview, as well as capsules for each of their 11 opponents.

    Part of this is that getting jerked around by sales and ad design makes it impossible to marshal the resources in time. Part of it is that I'm still really new at this (this is my first football tab season in charge of a section and only my third since I got into the biz) and don't know a lot of the fancy photoshop and design tricks (not to mention all the other stuff on my plate).

    But part of it is that in a small community, people like seeing names and faces, I think. There's got to be a news value, sure, and I think we mostly achieve that. However, in this market and this point both in my career and in this industry. I'd rather produce something simple that's worth reading than fail trying to come up with some sort of masterpiece.
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