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Middle school sports

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Smallpotatoes, Nov 5, 2006.

  1. Smallpotatoes

    Smallpotatoes Well-Known Member

    We've gone over this a lot in the past, but I hope you don't mind if I bring it up again. The other day I received a call and an e-mail telling me about the middle school boys soccer team that finished an undefeated season for the first time in several years and that it would be worthy of coverage.
    I informed them that if they sent a press release I'd try to publish it, but I can't cover the team or write a story about it myself. I have my hands full just covering all the high school varsity teams, especially now during state tournaments and with a Thanksgiving Day football tab to put out. Also, if I wrote about one middle school team, I'd have to write about all of them, plus all the JV and freshman high school teams.
    I guess they could counter that it was a truly exceptional season, but:
    1). It seems to me with middle school and subvarsity teams, everybody who cares about what they did already knows
    2). While it may be an undefeated middle school soccer team today, next week it might be a JV tetherball team that breaks .500 for the first time in two years or a freshman coed horseshoes team that snapped a three-game losing streak. I'm pretty sure with just about every one of these teams, somebody could make a case for why their kid's team should be covered and once you say yes to one of them, it becomes more difficult to say no to somebody else.
    In "exceptional cases" would you write about a JV, freshman or middle school team?
  2. outofplace

    outofplace Well-Known Member

    You're better off keeping that door firmly closed, if for no other reason than every parent thinks the team their child is on is the "exceptional case," and good luck convincing them otherwise.
  3. pressboxer

    pressboxer Active Member

    A lot would depend on factors such as circulation and size of/number of schools in your coverge area. I've been places where the publisher let it be known that all such teams would be covered, but there were few, if any, other school districts in the coverage area. I've also been places where the powers that be made it plain during the interview process that the sports section did not publish anything other than scores for any team below the high school varsity level.
  4. Tom Petty

    Tom Petty Guest

    haven't had to deal with them in years, but parents of middle school athletes who believe their sons and daughters need to be written about should be forced to spend eternity working as fluffers.
  5. slappy4428

    slappy4428 Active Member

    If your working at a 10K paper, yeah do a FEATURE after the season ends.
    As your circulation works its way up the ladder past the 50 k mark , explain you have plenty of schools, we dont have space....
  6. Oscar Madison

    Oscar Madison Member

    We used to cover middle school sports, then the makers of Tyenol PM and NightQuill called and offered us money to stop. As it turns out, middle school sports stories were putting everyone to bed and they were losing money.
  7. Appgrad05

    Appgrad05 Active Member

    Back away from the phone and get back to work on the tab
  8. Cousin Jeffrey

    Cousin Jeffrey Active Member

    A note in your roundup is the maximum. Maybe you could get the starting goalie a little up-the-shirt action with some good pub.
  9. slappy4428

    slappy4428 Active Member

    I disagree. Taters needs to tell us more about the size of the paper and the type of community first.
    A weekly, bi-weekly , smaller daily or JRC paper can't/shouldn't be that quick to dismiss that type of community journalism. Bigger papers, yeah, it can disappear.
  10. shotglass

    shotglass Guest

    Can of worms, can of worms, can of worms.

    You give to one, 37 others are going to want the same thing.
  11. Rusty Shackleford

    Rusty Shackleford Active Member

    What the hell is wrong with you people? An undefeated middle school soccer team deserves coverage -- hell, it deserves its own pullout section. Drop that Thanksgiving football craptacular you were working on. UNDEFEATED MIDDLE SCHOOL SOCCER!! Note the two exclamation points at the end of that to signify its importance. It's what the readers want, and after all, isn't that what we're here to provide?
  12. SoSueMe

    SoSueMe Active Member


    Two local soccer-playing lasses make an out-of-town university varsity team as walk-on freshmen. One of the two moms (the crazy self-serving one, of course) calls my extension. I get message. I delete message.

    Fellow reporter gets message. He deletes message.

    Sports editor gets message. He assigns story. Both reporters beg not to do story because of aforementioned "can of worms" (there are kids from town playing sports all over as walk-on, no-time-gettin' freshmen).

    Anyway, we do story and I kid you not, 8:33 AM the day the issue came, I get message:
    "You did a great job on the story about Sally and Sarah. But you know, my daughter walked on Podunk University's soccer team this year as a freshman and Podunk is a better team. I think that's worth a story."

    Um, I don't.
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