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I was once told to do more enterprise reporting...

Discussion in 'Writers' Workshop' started by earlyentry, Sep 18, 2007.

  1. earlyentry

    earlyentry Member

    So I wanted to ask if this idea has any legs:
    My alma mater, which plays in a Division III conference, has been a historical loser in football.
    Here are some stats.
    Since 1972, not one football coach has retired or left with a winning record.
    From 1995-97 the team went 1-29.
    And they have finished at or above .500 just 13 times in 34 years, with one playoff victory in two appearances.
    I'll be the first to admit, this isn't enterprise reporting at it's best. It might just be a cool feature. What do you think?
  2. Mayfly

    Mayfly Active Member

    What exactly would the feature be on?
  3. lono

    lono Active Member

    OK, if you have a fresh angle.

    If you just go, "Historically, the Podunk Hilltopers suck," people will ignore it.
  4. TyWebb

    TyWebb Well-Known Member

    I'm not sure how much length you will get out of a story about a team that sucks and still sucks. Now if they have historically sucked and are having a great year, you can really run with that.

    If you still want to pursue this story, I would suggest getting in as deep as possible. Explore EVERY explanation for why they are so bad: facilities, recruiting, training, class load, administration, coaching, etc. But I still think you might wind up repeating "Yes, this team is just that bad and there are LOTS of reasons."
  5. earlyentry

    earlyentry Member

    The team is off to a 2-0 start, actually.
    I remember the press Rutgers received when it finally turned the tide, and thought of my school as the Division III version.
    I see no reason for the lack of success. We updated virtually all of the fields on campus, and it's in a nice area compared to other conference foes. The coach, from my understanding, has several ties from when he was a successful HS coach and an assistant for a current Division I coach.
    However, like everyone has said, it usually leads to the same conclusion: Team either still sucks or it's having a nice season.
    I have no idea. That's why I asked you guys.
  6. Double Down

    Double Down Well-Known Member

    Doube e,

    Your best bet is to personalize this story. Perhaps this is a profile of the coach, a man trying desperately to succeed despite the overwhelming weight of history. Find someone whose eyes you can tell this story through if you wish to persue it. Why have things been so historically bad? If the team is 2-0, is it possible things have, against all odds, changed? You'll need to track down old coaches, old players, old athletic directors, but all the while understanding that without tight focus, it will be just another story about a bad program. Stories about institutions are still stories about people. By recounting how much misery the program has been through, you might be able to show what the coach, or a particular player, is up against.

    What most people fail to grasp about enterprise is that sometimes the reporting comes before the idea. You might talk to a ton of people before you figure out how to tell the story. But without focus, it's not worth telling. So if you're really interested, call up the coach and ask if you can come to his office. Get him talking. As your recorder churns and your pencil scribbles, the right story might suddenly present itself.
  7. verbalkint

    verbalkint Member

    Just thought I'd throw out one more angle. While there is always turnover from coaches, ADs, players, etc., you might find someone who can offer a different perspective: a fan. Ask around, and see if there's anyone who's gone to every home game for (insert number) years. Then ask - among 50 other questions - "What brings you back?"

    Anyway, I think it's worth digging. Good luck.
  8. earlyentry

    earlyentry Member

    Thanks for your responses and advice. I'm headed to a game tomorrow afternoon for the first stage. Who knows if anything comes of it, but I have to do some reporting first if I ever want to find out.
  9. friend of the friendless

    friend of the friendless Active Member

    Mr entry,

    You could find another school of comparable numbers in student body, scale, whatever, that has a history of championships, and then determine what separates them. Is it a larger investment in facilities and recruiting? Does a single well-connected coach drive it? That is, is it institutional support or strictly individual merits (or both) that makes for success? Rx for the school you cover. Maybe the school would be an upcoming opponent this season.

    Just a thought.

    YHS, etc
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