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Football tabs

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by SFIND, Aug 11, 2015.

  1. SFIND

    SFIND Active Member

    We were talking around the office today about football previews. We haven't done them here since 2012, and I don't think any of the staff misses them.

    When I first starting working in the industry last decade, four writers worked on the preview, three photographers took all pictures. The desk took care of all design/layout, and there were numerous salesmen who sold ads for it. In the last few years we produced it, I was one of two writers who had to do most of the work (it was 24 pages broadsheet). It was a major project to accomplish in about three weeks time, on top of all other normal duties. We had to write every article, take 80% of the pictures, and lay out the entire thing. The ad staff was also slashed over the years, and I think the last year we did the preview, there was only one guy selling it.

    We now just do a preview a day in the sports section leading up to first Friday. It's much easier.

    Who out there still does them? I'm sure plenty still do, but I can't think of any paper in our surrounding counties that does them. The area's major metro and the smaller papers all around us have stopped doing them in the last five years.
  2. Liut

    Liut Active Member

    Hearty congrats to you SFIND and your colleagues. I. Will. Hate. Tabs. For. The. Rest. Of. My. Life.
  3. We do. The reporter does the reporting; editor does the page design; ad team sells ads; photographers take the photos. It works fine, and probably sells more copies of the paper than any other day of the year.

    That situation you were in is unfortunate.
  4. HejiraHenry

    HejiraHenry Well-Known Member

    We do, but there's still a business underpinning for that - we're able to sell ad adjacencies to perhaps two dozen of the 50 or so high schools in our coverage area.
    Our classified staff sells those - and they're very good at it.
    We wind up with a 48-page tab with enough room for a handful of additional features.
    The writing duties are spread across 11 or 12 writers - two guys from our staff, writers from our weeklies and a couple of stringers.
    It's a decent production task, but not miserable.
  5. spadjo martin

    spadjo martin Member

    We still do a special high school football section. 56 tab pages. 31 teams. Straight previews. One centerpiece. Three of us do the bulk of the writing. I farm out the outlying schools to a couple of part-timers and one freelancer. I guess it makes money because we keep doing it. Apparently it is very well read because we start getting phone calls once practice starts wondering when it publishes. The downfall is that where we are at, practice starts the first Monday of August and games start the third week of August. It has forced us to do more before the teams officially start practice, especially with photography.
  6. JohnHammond

    JohnHammond Well-Known Member

    Tabs are alright if you can get better photos than just team photos. A ton of work, but they bring in revenue.
  7. Batman

    Batman Well-Known Member

    We've switched to a magazine format that's been pretty well received. It looks better, too. The downside is that since we can't print it on our press it has to be sent off and deadlines have moved up.
    Way up.
    The deadline for copy this year was July 31. Practice started Aug. 3. The thing went off to the printer's today.
    We had some wiggle room for getting mugs and team pictures, and all of our schools had early picture days, thank goodness. It's eliminated any chance of getting our outlying schools in, though. By the time they have picture day it's too late, and they're all 30-45 minutes away so it's difficult to justify making more than one trip. We hit them as we can and work them into the regular section the week or so before the first game.
  8. YorksArcades

    YorksArcades Active Member

    Complete waste of paper and staff time.
    Della9250 likes this.
  9. MNgremlin

    MNgremlin Active Member

    This is our first year not doing a football (or volleyball) tab. We'll be doing pull-outs instead, two teams a day.
  10. jr/shotglass

    jr/shotglass Well-Known Member

    Gearing up for 20-page broadsheet in two weeks. Enjoy doing it more than anything else I do during the year.
  11. Why?

    Lots of ads are sold. It's a reference guide for the fans/coaches/players and even yourself. It's gratifying to see your work displayed in such a product. It establishes credibility.

    If you have a reporter strictly assigned to do prep football, and freed up in the summer, why not?
  12. Bradley Guire

    Bradley Guire Well-Known Member

    It's cut down from what the staff did last year (before I came on). Last year, three tabs: an NCAA D-I team, an NAIA D-II team, then 20-something high schools. The HS tab with 28 pages and four ads.

    This year, everything in one tab. I get about 10 pages for high schools, each team with a half page. Each team gets a file photo, 150 words, two 100-word player profiles. Haven't heard about actual ad sales. Ad deadline is the 14th.
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