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high school athletic banquets

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Craig Sagers Tailor, May 21, 2010.

  1. Craig Sagers Tailor

    Craig Sagers Tailor Active Member

    are the pits. does anyone else cover these things at small papers? The guys before me covered them so it's like I'm expected to. Most of them have a meal, so that's cool, but having to corral the kids who won awards after the ceremony afterwords for a picture when everyone wants to go home is a pain. Most of the story is just naming who won what meaningless awards and it just feels pointless when you could get the school to send you that stuff, which would be like pulling teeth in my neck of the woods.
  2. StaggerLee

    StaggerLee Active Member

    I've worked at two small papers and the only awards banquets we ever covered were the parish/county ones. Individual high school banquets did not get covered. To me, that's asking for too much of a headache.

    Forget to mention one award or misspell one kid's name and you feel the wrath of the "scrapbook moms" who swear you just ruined her precious little seed's entire high school career.
  3. e_bowker

    e_bowker Member

    We used to cover them. Thank God those days are over. Sitting in a hot gym for two hours while the coaches and athletes read poorly written speeches they think sound deep and poignant makes me want to gouge my eyes out with a salad fork. One time, I think, I got a decent story out of a banquet, and that was when a coach announced her retirement.

    This latest round, we ran the list of winners on the agate page and referred to them on the front by making one of the school's athletes of the year our "Who's hot" for the day (a small, one-paragraph blurb with a mugshot; it's quite popular in these parts). In the past we've run a one- or two-paragraph brief on the athletes of the year -- basic stuff, just who it was, what sport they played and whatever stats we could dig up on deadline.
    This year worked out well. Four schools in town and each one had its banquet on a different day. Everybody got their day in the sun and we haven't had any complaints.
  4. Stitch

    Stitch Active Member

    Come on, the reporters are part of the team, too. At least it was that way at a prior stop when the beat reporter was also the team's official statistician.
  5. murphyc

    murphyc Well-Known Member

    To say nothing of the wrath from the parents complaining you didn't cover little Johnny's banquet that the coach never gave you the information about.
    If the school doesn't want to work with you, try the parents.
  6. Lollygaggers

    Lollygaggers Member

    The only reason to cover one of those is if a prominent coach/former athlete comes back to speak at the event. So if Podunk Central invites State U's men's basketball coach, who has won five NCAA national championships, to be the keynote speaker, you should probably be there. Otherwise, take a pass.
  7. Starman

    Starman Well-Known Member

    At my first SE job, where we covered seven schools but concentrated mostly on our hometown school, we did cover the sports banquet the big school held every sports season (December, March, June).

    Worked it all out with the AD beforehand: ONE group picture for the varsity MVPs afterward, which meant a group of 6-8 people.

    No pics of minor award winners. Agate on the whole list of award winners.

    Short, 10-12-inch knockoff story on the keynote speaker. Couple of grafs recapping the varsity award winners.

    Free meal. That's it.

    Hey, after every sports season you have a lull period of a couple weeks with little or no live sports action. It was an easy way to come up with a "live story" with photo, make everyone on the agate list happy, scam a free meal, and enhance the paper's image in the community.

    When the other schools started to piss and moan that they wanted a story too, we told them to send in a photo of their varsity MVPs and a typed list of their award winners. For the most part that quieted them down.

    I think one year I went to our No. 2 school's dinner too, and gave them the same knockoff treatment.

    Would I ever cover these things if anything else important was going on? Of course not. But if nothing else is going on and the alternative is filling with wire, why not?

    You sit around and BS for an hour, mooch a meal, do 20 minutes of work, and get a story out of it.

    P.S. Usually the meals are pretty good. They're usually potluck and the moms usually pull out all the stops to outdo each other.

    When you're working for chicken scratch at the Hooterville Daily Howl, this is not an insignifcant consideration.
  8. Fastball34

    Fastball34 New Member

    I've recently had to be the "bad guy" and say we don't go to these anymore and to please send the information in and we'll put it on the agate page or in a story with the all-district, all-region or all-state awards. Since we cut a sports reporter position, I was able to use it as an excuse but people groaned at first. These things are horrible. Especially the small sports who probably secretly hate you because they feel like Jonny's mediocre golf team didn't get the proper coverage.
  9. albert77

    albert77 Well-Known Member

    We usually avoid these things like the plague, because we have some two dozen schools in our area. But I was recently invited to one school's basketball banquet to present a plaque to the three players from their team that made our All-Area Team (two first-team, one second-team), along with the coach, who was our Coach of the Year. That was pretty nice: free meal and a little ego stroke from hearing them talk about how much they appreciated us covering them.
  10. Football_Bat

    Football_Bat Well-Known Member

    I won't waste my time with banquets. A free meal isn't worth the three-hour beatdown. I'll send a photog.
  11. Starman

    Starman Well-Known Member

    Shouldn't take three hours. Find out from the AD when the final awards will be given out. (He knows.)

    Come in a half-hour before then. You're a busy journalist, remember.

    If things start dragging way overtime, bail out. You're a busy journalist and you've got deadlines. Tell the AD to send you a picture.
  12. expendable

    expendable Well-Known Member

    I have covered state championship ring ceremonies. I guess there would be other exceptions, but I haven't come across them yet. If it comes down between a banquet and a game, I'll go to the game, and eat my chicken dinner from a drive-thru.
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