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How much community/youth sports is too much?

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by ogre, Jul 12, 2006.

  1. We shun community sports like girls with the clap at our paper. The only coverage is for Little League that advances to the state tournament, and then we'll go on the road with them.
  2. Bamadog

    Bamadog Well-Known Member

    There is no way to deal with it. I had at my last stop one of the most insanely youth-sports obessed bosses around. It was either do what he says, or get fired. Simple as that.
  3. Piotr Rasputin

    Piotr Rasputin New Member

    Depends on the size of your newspaper, size of your town, and the demographic of your readership. No matter what, only a weekly section should be the norm.

    Day-to-day coverage of youth sports, unless your local team is going to the Little League World Series or those Pop Warner championships in Orlando, is an absolute waste of time.

    "WE had fun today," Little Johnny said. "I don't know . . .it was fun."

  4. Precious Roy

    Precious Roy Active Member

    At my last stop I covered rec games, and let me tell you that this is the norm... If you are lucky.

    Most of the time, I got a lot of head nods and then maybe a sentence like the one above.
    The parents then would come up to me after the next game and say... "How did you get him to talk?" Like the kid is a f'n mute.

    Now we do a section on Saturdays, unless it is the state tourney, which is going on right now. We have to sit patiently on deadline while the organizer gets his s**t together and calls us in what sounds like a meth-induced rampage.

    Then the Babe Ruth World Series is coming to town next month, and the opening games will be on the first football Friday, should be a blast.
    If that day comes and I don't post for a while, you can find my corpse in my closet with a .45 planted firmly in my jaw.
  5. JBHawkEye

    JBHawkEye Well-Known Member

    If there is one thing that truly bothers me every summer, it is this question.

    We're lucky in the sense that we have prep baseball and softball to take up our time in the summer, so that gives us a reason not to do this stuff.

    When the 16-year-old Babe Ruth World Series was here back in 1999, we covered it like we would if the high school state tournament was here, because these were kids that were high school age. It also helped that the community came out and packed the stands each night.

    When we've had the Little League state tournament here, we've done features and a roundup of games.

    Our area is now becoming more and more popular with the ASA crowd, but that's such a scam. As I pointed out on another thread, in last weekend's regional tournament, six of the seven teams who were entered "qualified" for the national tournament, which means nothing more than getting the right to come up with the $350 entry fee.

    One of the things that I've thought is how much reader interest is there. Outside of the parents, when it comes to youth sports, no one else in the community really cares. If you're a 5,000-circ paper, that's a big deal. When you sell 20,000 papers, and you realize 90% of your customers don't care, you look at things differently.

    If you hit the preps hard, you'll do better in the community than you will with the Little Leaguers.
  6. Precious Roy

    Precious Roy Active Member

    Everybody's a winner.
    Everybody's a state champion.
  7. PEteacher

    PEteacher Member

    Well, frankly, any youth sports is too much.
  8. SF_Express

    SF_Express Active Member

    PE and others:

    Witness might be happening in Dallas right now, and it's possible all people in print are going to have to get used to doing more with local participant and youth sports.

    You can get national stuff anywhere. A local paper's undisputed turf will be, well, local.

    And that might go all the way down to more youth sports coverage.

    I'm not saying it's going to be fun ... I'm just saying ...
  9. BillySixty

    BillySixty Member

    The key is being consistent in whatever you do. Don't run a 30-inch feature on one league without giving any coverage to the next.

    Also, don't spend time chasing down scores. Explain to everyone at the beginning of the year that we will run your scores if you get them to us.

    We have a youth page and a community page. The youth page is mostly photos, scores and briefs submitted by readers. The community page is a local sports column combined with softball standings, honor scores, etc. Everything but the column is submitted by others. We keep it confined to those two days so we aren't spending hours on deadline typing in bowling scores or trying to fit in a brief when there's no room in the paper. We can plan our other features accordingly.

    So far, it's gone over pretty well. When I first arrived at the place I'm at and started telling people about this, they all said they had friends that cancelled their subscriptions because there was no community sports in the paper. I'm not sure if that's changed at all, but at least it's helped.
  10. The Big Ragu

    The Big Ragu Moderator Staff Member

    I don't work in newspapers, but this is the oddest sort of thinking to me. Why not just do away with the news altogether and give random people in town an eighth of a page every day so people buy the paper on the chance that they might read about themselves.

    "Johnny Smith took a foot-long dump at 2 p.m. yesterday."

    "Mary Jones picked cucumbers from her garden in the morning and then used one as a dildo."

    Do people really believe this is a good strategy for selling copies of a publication?
  11. SportsDude

    SportsDude Active Member

    That's coming. I know of papers who are hosting blogs with this kind of stuff and then putting it together for a special tab.
  12. Central-KY-Kid

    Central-KY-Kid Well-Known Member

    At my 20K daily (which has no major D-1 college within 30 miles and no major pro teams within the state boundaries) in a county of 100K, we run one page per week of youth sports. Had to up it to two today because we had 26 photos (13 were from one tennis tournament), a short staff report and one Babe Ruth baseball team that decided to drop off its entire season of boxscores (we don't have a cutoff date for how old the stuff can be).

    Page doubles as outdoor/recreation page, so we can always pull weekly AP outdoor story or stuff from SHNS to fill it.

    However, publisher/ME wants to start putting all youth/rec/outdoors stuff online in near future. Told it would be as easy as turning the Quark page into a PDF, but it doesn't look like it will be that way at all.

    Happy happy joy joy.

    My solution: Start a page on Web site that youth stuff (scores, photos, story ideas) must be submitted through. Info must be in no later than 48 hours before it prints (and wouldn't be guaranteed to go in, anyway). If it's not submitted through the site, then it doesn't get in the paper. Should give readers a reason to visit our Web site, which is want our publisher/ME want us to be pushing right now.
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