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Greeley (Co.) Tribune lays off sports department

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Pilot, Dec 3, 2019.

  1. Screwball

    Screwball Active Member

    The affordable prices of yore were made possible by revenues that were 90% advertising and 10% circulation.
    Liut and justgladtobehere like this.
  2. Dan Omlor

    Dan Omlor New Member

    But subscriptions never supported any newspaper. All a subscription pays for is the cost of getting the newspaper to your front door. Circulation provides the numbers to allow you to sell ads. You make your money off the ads. You pump up your numbers with sports, then sell ads in the sports edition targeting those sports subscribers. If you throw away those sports subscribers, you throw away those ads. And those ads --- vehicles, outdoor equipment, outdoor wear, big box stores like L.L. Bean, REI, brand names like Columbia, North Face, etc., big box stores like Bass Pro Shops, Cabela's, etc. --- can bring in a huge percent of to6al revenue. Even in a small town weekly, we always set up a separate sports section, even if it's only 4-6 pages, so we can specifically target those sports subscriber ads. Done right, the sports section is a MAJOR revenue producer. But sports readers are not stupid. To attract them and keep them, you need in depth stories, interviews, opinion pieces, new equipment reviews, good fish and game stories, etc. We include fishing and hunting, Boy Scouts, Little League, golf, hiking, backpacking, canoeing, rafting and skiing in our Sports sections. Actually, you'd be surprised at what good readership Boy Scout and Little League stories can generate.
  3. Liut

    Liut Well-Known Member

    I mentioned some this about 10 years ago on this board and got blasted to smithereens.
    BurnsWhenIPee likes this.
  4. Dog8Cats

    Dog8Cats Active Member

    Not to detract at all from the spot-on-ism of this observation, but even a well-orchestrated sports section's ability to attract advertisements is at the mercy of the ad sales staff. One of my shops was in a huge bicycling community, and we covered the sport - the recreation and competitive angles. But all the ad salespeople wanted to do was try to sell ads to golf courses. Plenty of bike ads in the alt-weekly, though, which never ran squat about bicycling except how a vehicle-bike encounter was another example of the fossil fuel-dominant paradigm-squashing the will of the little people-type story.
  5. Dan Omlor

    Dan Omlor New Member

    Dog8Cats : You're 100% correct. You do have to have an ad staff in tune with the newspaper's overall vision. Fortunately, that's a problem we've never had. We've always been blessed with ad salesmen (and women) that understood the big picture. And were smart enough that when the editors outlined a strategy, they went along.
  6. SixToe

    SixToe Well-Known Member

    My old ad sales staff wanted to put out a hunting special section in November, three months after hunting season had begun. They didn't realize it should be published in August before the seasons began, so businesses could advertise to make sales. By November, those stores are thinking about putting hunting merch on sale and gearing up for spring fishing. When we finally did one it was about 80/20 for ads/newshole and then sales whined like bitches about no local stories. I could've had one story jumping over six pages, I guess. Idiots.

    As Dan and Dog8Cats said, having a sales staff or even just one person on the staff with the bigger picture mentality is critical as is communication between the departments.
  7. Dog8Cats

    Dog8Cats Active Member

    Outside of the loss of jobs involved in this news, two things about the publisher's column explaining the changes really steam me:

    "When impactful and moving stories about our local athletes arise, this journalist will be there to make sure our newspaper doesn’t miss out on covering them, and will either write those stories or pass them on to another member of our content team."

    I read that as, when other outlets do a better job of producing "impactful and moving stories about our local athletes," we'll parachute TO OUR OWN BACKYARD and produce something that is less timely and no doubt derivative of whatever tipped us off in the first place.

    This new data journalist will use these very online tools and platforms to collect and aggregate sports scores and interesting sports news for our readers.

    Here he latches on to a once-promising trend in journalism - reporting based on data - and reveals how little he understands about it. I'm sure he was told by someone somewhere that campaigning for a data journalist would make him a "disrupter" among the candidates for the publisher job, but the job description of this position is far from a "data journalist."

    Precisely what will anyone discover when stealing information from MaxPerps and the other sites? That the number of wins on a given night of high school football equaled(!) the number of losses on that same night?

    There is an incredibly deep reservoir of data-dependent stories in high school sports, stories that would be of interest to anyone in the coverage area (not just athletes and their parents):
    • How does the cost of coaches' extra-duty salaries compare from district to district?
    • How much do schools pay for substitute teachers to cover for coaches who have to leave for games before the school day is over?
    • How do transportation costs compare after reclassification/redistricting and its attendant changes to travel demands?
    • What is the correlation between schools' poverty (as gauged by the free and reduced lunch rate) and its on-field success?
    • What is the effect of coaches' salaries on the public retirement costs of those coaches?

    THAT is data-dependent journalism. Scouring a scores clearinghouse is not data journalism.
    Tweener and HanSenSE like this.
  8. Sports Barf

    Sports Barf Active Member

    I know it’s legal in Colorado but how perpetually high is this publisher guy?
    Liut and Batman like this.
  9. LanceyHoward

    LanceyHoward Well-Known Member

    I think that is the best post I have read on this board.

    Also, how many reporters are left in Greeley? What will the paper still cover?
    Pilot likes this.
  10. MileHigh

    MileHigh Moderator Staff Member

  11. Twirling Time

    Twirling Time Well-Known Member

    MileHigh likes this.
  12. Sam Mills 51

    Sam Mills 51 Well-Known Member

    Underwhelmed. If there is an introductory presser scheduled, put it in the story.

    If you tried to publish that in lieu of properly staffing the presser, then this "concept" is already circling the toilet.

    Of course, the publisher doesn't care. The people of Greeley and Weld County do, but what can they do other than cancel in protest?
    Tweener likes this.
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