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"Mainstreaming" sports stories onto 1A

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by HejiraHenry, Aug 10, 2011.

  1. HejiraHenry

    HejiraHenry Well-Known Member

    Anybody dealing with this?

    I get the impression that the biggest paper in our state is trying to get a sports story out front – well, if not every day, then a lot of days.

    Sometimes these are stories of wide interest and value. Once in a while, it seems as if they aren't.

    When NFL lockout ended, they had a localized story that led the front page of the paper. This, mind you, in a state without an NFL team.

    A non-sports coworker asked me today: "Is it a deliberate attempt to influence single-copy sales or do they not have any other news?"

    We had a conversation with the folks in Birmingham last year and it was suggested that they, indeed, were making an effort to mainstream a sports story onto 1A every day that was practical, mainly as a fallout of the huge circulation bump they got out of the BCS championship run.

    In our shop, with two SEC teams in our coverage area, the main way sport stories get on the front page would be a coaching change in football or basketball or maybe when a high school team wins a state championship in a "major" sport.

    It leaves me second-guessing myself sometimes. Am I not pushing our best stories for 1A play? Is it possible to overdo that, spoil the impact when we do have a big story really worthy of 1A play?

  2. Ace

    Ace Well-Known Member

    If we are talking a daily paper in Alabama, I'd say they are being smart.
  3. My biggest objection to 1A sports stories is they typically shoehorn a sports story onto the front, whereas we might build the page around a good story. Now if it's a big deal -- like the Big 12 telling Texas it can't televise high school games on Longhorn TV, or the local college program is the subject of an NCAA investigation -- no problem. They'll get good play on 1A, and it gives us the room to run good reax and columns on the sports front.
  4. flexmaster33

    flexmaster33 Active Member

    What about just teasing it on the front with a flashy graphic or something and sending the reader to the sports page for the story.

    or starting the story on the front and jumping it to sports for the bulk of the package.

    Seems smart to me.
  5. Ace

    Ace Well-Known Member

    Bottom line is what's the purpose of putting the story on the front?

    Are you trying to attract readers? If you put it across the bottom of the page, that's probably not helping.

    Are you trying to inflate a mandated locally produced byline count? Then the sports story is probably going to help.
  6. flexmaster33

    flexmaster33 Active Member

    Getting a headline on the front may push some extra readership inside to sports...not a huge deal either way, but it would drive some level of traffic.
  7. deviljets7

    deviljets7 Member

    On that note, I'd be curious to know if this paper has the jump on the article in section A or to sports.
  8. flexmaster33

    flexmaster33 Active Member

    I'd be curious if they're allowing the sports staff to work these stories or if they're giving a newsy a crack at the sports world...that's what drives me nuts. Assuming that a news writer can step in and do our job. Some can, most can't. At least not as well, as if the news side came to us with their idea and allowed us to attack it from there.
  9. Ace

    Ace Well-Known Member

    I think it's comical that at some papers A1 stories get a whole different level of attention than stories elsewhere in the paper.

    You could still get your butt sued off from a Metro brief on B4.

    And many papers put four or five of the same kinds of stories on the front ever day -- local government, local crime, sewer/school rates, wire, new park,business,etc.

    Papers should mix it up more and put a story that's funny or surprising or just kind of interesting.

    NY Times does stories like that all the time.
  10. LongTimeListener

    LongTimeListener Well-Known Member

    Sports stories on 1A: the newspaper equivalent of stocking Doritos -- and only Doritos but not Cheetos or Ruffles or Pringles -- on the health-food shelf at the other end of the store.
  11. At our place, when there's a Sports story on 1A, it usually is written and edited by Sports. Goes through Sports copy desk.
  12. slappy4428

    slappy4428 Active Member

    Close, but no.
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