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Little League...ugh

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by flexmaster33, Jun 28, 2011.

  1. flexmaster33

    flexmaster33 Active Member

    Usually we get Little League info unsolicited...teams, schedules and game recaps, so in the past we've always had pretty solid coverage of the Little League all-star season through July.

    For some reason, this year, I've got nothing despite two weeks of trying contact after contact for multiple local leagues. On the rare occasion that I do get word back, it's always worthless information of the "everyone is doing their best, aren't you guys going to cover us?" variety.

    Three quick things to give your Little Leaguers a chance to get covered...
    1) When we request basic information...supply that info, especially when you've been contacted repeatedly for two weeks leading up to the event.

    2) If you're going to change the matchups/schedule for your online bracket three times leading up to the tourney, you may want to alert us to said changes. This is especially important when you're dropping teams out of the bracket and moving the championship game by three days.

    3) Make sure that your results are posted correctly and updated on a timely basis, or that you have someone contacting the local newspaper with results each night. No, I don't have time to run out to the field every hour to see who won what.

    I'm scratching my head this year...usually it becomes a cornerstone of our coverage for a few weeks, but this year...we'll see. I do feel Little League has an audience, but if it becomes a huge hassle, we'll find other things to cover.
     
  2. Rhody31

    Rhody31 Well-Known Member

    Sounds rough Flex.
    Our district is pretty good. The woman who runs it sends out an email at the end of every night with the results of that day's games and what's being played the next day. It's also updated on the website nightly.
    Even better is when she sees me at a game and laughs when the umpires double check that I can be on the field to take photos. Honestly, that's been the only issue - umpires who won't let us on the field. They don't seem to understand that avoiding line drives in a high school game is significantly more difficult than in Little League.
     
  3. nate41

    nate41 Member

    Not to thread jack, but I was standing behind home plate for a softball game (I usually move around, and stand behind the plate for a few innings to get a look at the pitchers), I was asked by the ump to move since I wasn't a part of either team.

    I was in the same spot for a mind-numbingly slow baseball game, and started talking to the ump between innings. Once he saw my iPhone, he'd come back every half inning to get a score on the game both of us cared more about, which made me a little surprised I had to move at softball.
     
  4. bydesign77

    bydesign77 Active Member

    And you being on the field isn't just about dodging line drives for an umpire. Just sayin'.
     
  5. TheHacker

    TheHacker Member

    Flex, I think finding other things to do is your best bet. Even if there is an audience for that stuff, it has to be limited. And if you're not getting cooperation, screw 'em.

    I realize a lot of it depends on the size of your coverage area. At my place, we have a decent-sized area, 30 high schools, so we don't have problems finding things to write. This week, actually, for late June, we're doing really well. We're getting to a few things that are off the beaten path that we don't have time to do during the school year, including some features. And it's a good mix of different types of sports. Frankly, I feel better about some of the sections we do this time of year than I do about the routine high school coverage that we bust ass to do the rest of the year.

    Over the years I've run out of patience to deal coaches, ADs, league reps, etc., who are unresponsive. After a while, we just quit trying them, and if nobody complains it's the best indication that nobody gives a rat's ass that there's no coverage. This is one thing I've become especially mindful of: I don't like getting the vibe that my staff and I care more about something than the people involved with it. If I have to repeatedly chase you down to get basic information like scores, schedules, rosters, etc., screw you. We'll find other stories, and we'll cover the people who work with us.
     
  6. flexmaster33

    flexmaster33 Active Member

    Yes, that's the weird part...in past years cooperation has been solid...one of the league's was unresponsive last year, but the rest kept up a steady flow of updates. It's always something I've been able to count on. Weird. I'm going out to a game tonight and will poke around a bit to see what's up.

    And yes, I agree, many of the award-worthy issue we put out are done in the summer months when we have the time to put quality into it. Seems like the preps season we're often racing to keep our head above water.
     
  7. UNCGrad

    UNCGrad Member

    Ah, Little League All-Stars. This was always my worst month of the year when I was in the biz. I dreaded it for many of the reasons already stated -- the constant tracking down of people who said they'd help you out, the bitter parents/"readers", etc. I was at a 10K daily, so All-Stars was a must for our section every June-July. One thing though, that began to happen over the last couple of years was that many of the leagues started really thinning out. We once had a four-day tourney with 12 teams; by the summer of my last year (last summer), the tourney had three teams. Travel teams were killing our local teams, and even the best-run organizations had thinned a little.

    Now, the time we had an All-Star team win a state tourney and then be disqualified for out-of-town players? That was fun, especially after getting Williamsport involved. Couldn't have happened to a better "coach." What an a-hole.
     
  8. KYSportsWriter

    KYSportsWriter Well-Known Member

    We have, I think, three leagues in our county. Only one of them turns in results each week. The league that turns in results each week gives away a player of the year award each year, and we'll typically cover that. Then we'll cover whatever All-Star stuff they have going on throughout the summer.

    If we're lucky, we'll get phone calls from the other leagues with results from their All-Star games. We try to cover the games that are played in county, but we can't make it to all of them. The leagues that don't turn stuff in always ask why we don't cover them when we cover League A. Easy: they get stuff in to us; you don't. For the most part, we consider ourselves lucky if we even find out when the other leagues play their games. We always get a schedule from League A, so that's not an issue.
     
  9. bpoindexter

    bpoindexter Member

    Last week, we ran as our main art in sports a photo of a 9-year-old kid celebrating after he crossed home plate on a go-ahead triple. The day it ran, the mom of the kid came to the office to buy 40 - yes, 40 - copies of the paper, and a handful of others came in to buy six, six again, 10 copies and more, totaling around 70 that day. The story and more images received a ton of hits online, too.
     
  10. flexmaster33

    flexmaster33 Active Member

    Yes, I had a similar shot of a pitcher and a buddy celebrating after a game-winning strikeout years back and copies flew out for that one. First exposure to seeing their kids in the paper for a lot of families :)
     
  11. Rhody31

    Rhody31 Well-Known Member

    BD, I know, but when the various leagues are supposed to paint off boxes for photographers on the field and fail to do so, I shouldn't be punished.
     
  12. jr/shotglass

    jr/shotglass Well-Known Member

    Well, like I've said before, I'm in the minority. I like Little League.

    We cover two districts and I'm our point guy as far as making sure they get us the information. I'm finding that if I make voice contact -- not E-mail contact, but voice contact -- with the district administrators in the days before the tournaments begin, we get good cooperation.

    And we don't even go out and cover anything; with us, it's just standings, scores and schedule on the agate page. But I'll probably stop out at one or both district finals, 1) because they appreciate that somebody from the paper cares, and 2) because I like watching the best teams play.
     
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