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How do I end a tradition?

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Smallpotatoes, Jul 4, 2008.

  1. Smallpotatoes

    Smallpotatoes Well-Known Member

    A youth team has a good season. Maybe it wins a championship or comes in second. Maybe it's an all-star team.
    At some point a parent gets an idea:
    "Let's take a team picture and send it to the paper."
    Sometimes, I wonder if these people think they're the only person who ever thought of doing that.
    These photos seem to come in bunches, all at the end of the season. I guess it's a tradition. In many cases, these people don't send write-ups all season long, then they come out of the woodwork at the end of the season.
    Is there any way I can discourage people from sending end-of-season team photos? It gets a little boring looking at an entire page of photos of two lines of kids holding trophies.
    And you always forget to publish one photo, then have that person call you saying how disappointed the kids are.
    Any chance I'd get fired for saying "Well, life is full of disappointments, get used to it."?
    Also, is the number of people telling you they're disappointed in something you're doing or not doing a good indicator of how well you're doing your job?
  2. Inky_Wretch

    Inky_Wretch Well-Known Member

    Put them on your Web site. Bandwidth is much cheaper than newsprint.
  3. slappy4428

    slappy4428 Active Member

    Publish on a space-available basis. Only one photo per team (multiple tourneys).
  4. I know of a relatively small paper that simply won't run submitted pics. That would put a stop to it.
  5. Cadet

    Cadet Guest

    Set a policy and stick to it. Publish the policy so everyone knows what it is. Then, when people gripe, point to the policy and throw up your hands.
  6. buckweaver

    buckweaver Active Member

    Don't publish an entire page of these photos. Spread them around for the next few weeks/months, and run them on a first-come, first-serve basis.

    Put a little box in the paper saying something like "all submitted photos will be run on a first-come, first-serve basis as space is available." Then stand by that policy. You'll still get some griping, but you can always point to that.

    But if you're a small, local paper, there's definitely a place for community sports. Don't quit running them altogether. That's a terrible idea.
  7. Cadet

    Cadet Guest

    Good point, and allow me to modify my above thought: Make a policy THAT WORKS FOR YOUR PAPER and stick to it. Maybe it's one day that photos run. Maybe it's spread out. Maybe it's all photos are due on the 1st of the month. Whatever. Make a policy, publish it, stick to it.
  8. Inky_Wretch

    Inky_Wretch Well-Known Member

    Get with the ad people and see about selling ad space in classifieds around bunch of these photos.
  9. expendable

    expendable Well-Known Member

    I take my sweet-assed time getting them in, and it seems to slow them down. For some reason, I get bombarded at the busiest times. Conference tournament season for prep and college basketball must be a trigger to send in four-month-old football pics (I put an end to that years ago, thank goodness).
  10. spaceman

    spaceman Active Member

    But the kids worked so hard....
  11. Dickens Cider

    Dickens Cider New Member

    Why are you costing my child a chance at a scholarship, Smallpotatoes?
  12. Mystery_Meat

    Mystery_Meat Guest

    When I was at a weekly, I had weeks where I was able to fill an entire section with submitted photos. Couldn't do that, because I wouldn't feel right getting paid to do jack all outside of laying it out. So I tried to spread 'em out over the weeks until eventually I hit a point where I'd run them out. When parents asked (and I was lucky, I got a lot more askers than complainers), I'd tell them that I'm committed to running their photo, but sometimes space doesn't allow it, so I get it in on a first-come, first-serve basis. But I've never intentionally NOT run a photo, unless there was an obvious reason (poor quality shot, no names, same shot for the fourth week in a row).

    Whatever you do, be consistent about it. I ran all team photos in three-column horizontal (any smaller, and you can't make out faces, thus defeating the purpose). Individual shots could be smaller. But always in black and white, because my inside color pages were rare, and I didn't want to have to explain why the U-13 Bashers got color while the U-13 Thrashers didn't.

    But unless you're at a bigger paper (and perhaps not even then), you can't look down on 'em. For as boring and as worthless as we find them, people like to see their kids in the paper. At a community paper, that's worth at least as much as any awesome story idea we could create.
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