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Friday night high school football coverage

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by IGotQuestions, Jul 23, 2007.

  1. IGotQuestions

    IGotQuestions Member

    With so many papers dealing with staff cuts in markets where you cover 20, 30, 40 high schools during football season, what is your smaller staff's plan for Friday coverage these days? How many less gamers are you doing? What kinds of things are you doing coverage-wise and design-wise in attempting to still give readers good, juicy stuff to read and look at? All input is welcome.
  2. TyWebb

    TyWebb Well-Known Member

    With only three people able to cover games, and around 20 schools to cover, we are relying heavily on call-ins from coaches/parents. Each game will have its own seperate capsule if it isn't covered first-hand. We have a pretty reliable network of people we can get stats from, even if their team loses. But, if a team doesn't call-in, it doesnt get in the paper. That is just the way it goes.
  3. spnited

    spnited Active Member

    Parents? You're not serious!

    What you do depends on (in no order):

    Number of schools/games
    Size of staff
    Importance of local to overall product

    It varies greatly from one paper to another
  4. TyWebb

    TyWebb Well-Known Member

    Some of our coaches are too lazy to call in, so they have parents do it. We've never really had a problem with it, with the exception of a couple games not getting called in.
  5. chazp

    chazp Active Member

    Oftentimes a coach will recommend his assistant coach who handles his stats to be the designated call in guy during football season. When you go to a particular school to do their story for the tab, it's a good time to set this up.
  6. Inky_Wretch

    Inky_Wretch Well-Known Member

    I've been looking at circ numbers the past week. I've been trying to decide if it would be better to cover a less successful team in a town that buys more than 500 papers per day vs. a more successful team in a town that buys fewer than 200.
  7. SCEditor

    SCEditor Active Member

    We're actually blessed in this regard. We have 9 schools in our coverage area that play on Friday night (one plays on Thursday). As of right now, we have six, maybe seven, who can cover games on Friday night. With teams playing each other at times, we should be able to staff 100 percent of our games quite often. If I can snag another stringer or two, we'll have every game covered on Friday night.
  8. Hank_Scorpio

    Hank_Scorpio Active Member

    One way to get more than just gamers in the story is to do a combined notebook. Everyone who goes to a game contributes an item. And then hope for a couple from the call in games.

    I've done this at a few stops and it's worked fairly well. Usually runs 15-18 inches or so.

    It gives the section a little broader appeal than just gamers.
  9. Colton

    Colton Active Member

    Too soon for it to crank up again... *sigh* wish it were still June.
  10. 2underpar

    2underpar Active Member

    We average between 16-23 games per friday night. Three of our 4.5 staffers cover games. We have a couple of other stringers who write gamers (always around 400 words). and the rest are call-ins from people we pay $25-30. We use three pages for our preps. We roundup the outlying schools. A ton of work to make it happen.
  11. slappy4428

    slappy4428 Active Member

    Do you pay your stringers for stories too?
    There's a big paper at the opposite end of your state I'm still waiting to fork over the money from a March event....
  12. JayFarrar

    JayFarrar Well-Known Member

    I could damn near pay for vacation, with the money I'm owed by papers and other media outlets.
    There's a couple of places I won't do work for, since I'm still waiting on checks.

    The beauty of high school football is that the games are already scheduled. It isn't like breaking news that teams will be playing on Friday nights.
    So just sit down, take a day or two and figure out all the games that need to be staffed based on rivalries and potential. If you know the market, it won't be hard to piece together.
    Start dishing out assignments to the staff writers, then fill in the gaps with stringers, if you're able.
    Keep some flexibility, just in case, but by the time August rolls around, everyone on staff should have a pretty good idea of what is going to be covered.
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