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If you had two staff and one stringer, how would you...

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Fourth and 8, Feb 10, 2008.

  1. Fourth and 8

    Fourth and 8 Member

    cover spring sports when there's three main schools, 20 surrounding schools and six sports? Oh, and an area four-year college and a juco with no sid's.

    We're considering no game coverage until the playoffs, all call ins and features and photos of games but no staffing.

    Agree or disagree?
  2. Chi City 81

    Chi City 81 Guest

    Are you a daily or a weekly?
  3. Fourth and 8

    Fourth and 8 Member

  4. Chi City 81

    Chi City 81 Guest

    Then you're setting yourself up for a world of hurt from your readers if you discard game coverage, IMO.
  5. Fourth and 8

    Fourth and 8 Member

    Baseball and softball are equally big here. Track sucks, and so does soccer...that's not a bias, that's just how they are ran. Golf and tennis? We don't touch it unless they are at state.
  6. Bob Slydell

    Bob Slydell Active Member

    What Buck said. Have to have those games called in, stress it to your coaches.

    Cover the best stuff, even if it means snubbing the big 3 every once in a while.

    And we do lots of features for midweek stuff when it's slow. Keeps lots of local in our section. But we're p.m., so we have time after games to do this sort of thing.
  7. forever_town

    forever_town Well-Known Member

    I'd also recommend you look at your people and figure out what their strengths are and how best to use them with the stuff you're covering.

    I might focus on the area four year school and the three local high schools. Roundups for the other schools. Does the JUCO get much attention or interest?
  8. buckweaver

    buckweaver Active Member

    Spring sports are usually pretty simple, in terms of which events to cover. Rare that you'll have a huge regular-season baseball game and soccer game and track meet going on at the same time. Choose what to cover in order of priority -- the region track meet should probably take precedence over a regular-season baseball game, etc.

    Come playoff time, of course, you might have to make some tough decisions because you can't be everywhere at once. Most papers make that decision for you -- small travel budgets = cover the playoff teams that are closest to home.

    Just be up-front with people about the logistics of trying to cover so many schools with three people, be persistent in asking the coaches and ADs to call in, and you'll do fine.
  9. Sam Mills 51

    Sam Mills 51 Active Member

    You're begging for disaster and major dissent among your readers.

    On nights when all three staffer are in, put at least one out at a game/match/meet. I worked near one paper - probably much bigger than yours - that tried a similar approach to one you suggested ... and tried to featurize just about everything it attempted to staff.

    It was a massive mess. They got burned on featurizing basketball players who scored four points in the game where the staffer showed up. They even called our paper, expecting us to bail them out. It's one thing when it's a two-way street and we know the other party is making an effort. In their case, they got nothing. The SE didn't last 18 months, and that was a good thing for them (better for us when he was there ... our paper could do no wrong in the readers' eyes by comparison).

    Carefully schedule, keep track of how often you've visited the high schools, gauge the interest in your four-year school and JUCO and gauge how often you can cover the high school outside the trio of emphasis you mentioned.

    It can be done, fourth and 8. But I wouldn't go near your initial suggestion. That's not coverage ... it's laziness and the readers will catch on.
  10. NatureBoy

    NatureBoy Member

    I'm with buck on this. And if you can get a bunch of schools at one tournament, there's your destination for the day.

    I didn't have as many high schools in my coverage area (then again, I was pretty much the only guy covering preps in the regular season) but I used buck's theory and it worked out fine.
  11. hockeybeat

    hockeybeat Guest

    If you were a weekly, then you could make an argument about going with the feature-only section.

    But as a daily? You're setting up your writers to endure abuse from schools and fan bases, who are going to want to know why you're not covering their games. More to the point, Sam's right. It's laziness not to cover the games.
  12. mike311gd

    mike311gd Active Member

    Dropping game coverage with three high schools shouldn't be an option. Even if you cover one game a day, like Buck said, that's still a lot better than nothing. You'll get so many more phone calls after the first two weeks than usual, that you'll change your coverage plans anyway.
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