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Mlive: Letting parents cost their kids scholarships

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Moderator1, May 13, 2015.

  1. Moderator1

    Moderator1 Moderator Staff Member

    Saw this online, found it, well, interesting for lack of a better word

    Mlive tells readers that it isn't going to deal with high school game stories any more. No calls, no e-mails, nothing. If teams want to see their results online, they have to sign up, enter the stats themselves and write their own story.
    How do I report high school sports results? It's changed, slightly - MLive.com
    Day old, 3 days old, a week: it doesn't matter. At playoff time and they want the hits to count, they'll take over. "When the state tournaments arrive, we will revert to single-game reporting."
    Already, the stories include:
    Birch Run wins another important conference game led by Madison Enderle's 4 goals.
    Reese Track and Field Wins Double Conference Title
  2. MisterCreosote

    MisterCreosote Well-Known Member

    This is the greatest lede I've ever read:

    The weather was sketchy at times tonight, but our kids were prepared both physically as well as mentally. They were ready to tangle with the best the GTC West could offer.
    Doc Holliday and Kayaugstin Kott like this.
  3. Dick Whitman

    Dick Whitman Well-Known Member

    I covered primarily preps for six years at a paper. Now that I'm just a reader, I'm often surprised at how wall-to-wall they cover local preps, even the non-revenue sports. I have friends who have children in high school sports now, and there's no way that even they demand the level of coverage provided, let alone the average sports reader. (It's not that different than from my day - but I was in the eye of the storm then, so I wasn't able to take the view from 30,000 feet that I am now.)

    I think the paper always recognized that sports costs a lot of money to cover for the amount of readership it actually brings into the paper, so preps is a cheap way to fill a sports section.

    This new Ann Arbor News approach goes one step further. Frankly, this might give the people actually interested in preps coverage - friends and family - exactly the coverage they want, for little or no cost to the paper.

    I wouldn't do it, because I think that papers should still have a responsibility to practice journalism, and this isn't that. But I understand it.

    In 99 percent of markets, big and small, I'd probably just nearly eliminate preps coverage, or cut it to the bone.
  4. Dick Whitman

    Dick Whitman Well-Known Member

    Hell, that's not far off from what you get at some/most local papers anyway.
  5. Alma

    Alma Well-Known Member

    I disagree with your approach and most certainly with MLive's approach.

    Long-term, a newspaper's value - to anyone - is some consistency and fidelity to reporting sports events you can't see on ESPN. You may not get that much readership for one sporting event, but tracking metrics in that regard is a little misleading; over time, you want readers to understand that the product is going to be consistently local and interesting and something they can't get anywhere else. And then you have to sell the value of local just as you would with farm-to-table restaurants. Increasingly, people want a narrative for their discretionary purchasing choices - they seek connection in consumerism because they lack it in other realms of life - and though it isn't sexy or necessarily making money hand over fist, that approach works. You can't cut everything to the bone and leave yourself with a paper full of wire material.

    The Advance approach is foolishness. I'll predict that, long-term, it won't work, that parents and fans won't come through, and what'll be left is just rank mediocrity in preps coverage. Which saves money on the front end but will lose opportunities at more money on the back end.

    The challenge is getting your reporters to wholeheartedly engage all fronts of the new media, and advertising to follow in that approach. Hard to do.
    SFIND, Doc Holliday and Ace like this.
  6. Dick Whitman

    Dick Whitman Well-Known Member

    I wouldn't have a paper full of wire material. I just wouldn't have much of a sports section at all.
  7. I Should Coco

    I Should Coco Well-Known Member

    This sounds great in theory, but in practice, you're going to get biased "stories" at best, with inaccurate information the most likely outcome.
  8. LongTimeListener

    LongTimeListener Well-Known Member

    It's going to be great when the paper gets in the middle of a blood feud between the point guard's and small forward's moms because one of them is writing the stories and consistently fails to mention the other kid.
    HanSenSE likes this.
  9. steveu

    steveu Well-Known Member

    Since this is my shop, I thought I'd step in and clarify what is going on. We are encouraging coaches to submit their own scores. We've always had the option to have someone sign up as a "community reporter" and write something.

    What we are doing is contacting the spring coaches once a week and writing stories as well. The stories are either a look back at the week that was, the week ahead (a preview of an important tournament or big game) or a profile/feature on an athlete.

    Each paper's reporters also write their own material. They are encouraged to cover games and tournaments as well.

    Hope this helps. PM me if you have any questions or concerns or just state them here. :)
  10. boundforboston

    boundforboston Well-Known Member

    Wikipedia is a legitimate source of information. This will work well. [/bluefont]

    This thread will get hijacked by the game stories are irrelevant folks in 3, 2, 1...
  11. Matt Stephens

    Matt Stephens Well-Known Member

    When we started looking hard at web metrics three years ago and realized how little preps was being read online, we changed things up quite a bit. We'll still cover every high school football game, but unless it's a crosstown game, we don't send a reporter. We still take calls for roundups. We've learned as long as we send a photographer to at least one game to compliment a roundup and byline the story, readers haven't noticed the difference in print. Plus, it does better online than individual gamers. When state tournament time comes, we go all out, "making up for" (so to speak) what we didn't do during the regular season.

    But this MLive approach takes things to a new level. I've never lived in that area of the country and don't know how big of a deal preps are there, but if you're not in the south, the majority of readers don't care.
  12. Ace

    Ace Well-Known Member

    One thing that has been reinforced over and over through my career in journalism -- most people can't write worth a damn.
    Last edited: May 13, 2015
    SFIND likes this.
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