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Need advice about a weekly

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by jaxson5, Aug 10, 2006.

  1. jaxson5

    jaxson5 Member

    Hey all,

    I just started at a weekly a few weeks ago as their first full-time sports guys. A tad different from the freelance days at the Daytona 500. We have two high schools that we cover, but that's about it. Anybody have any advice on how to keep busy at a weekly with a sports section of maybe 2-3 pages?

  2. Trey Beamon

    Trey Beamon Active Member

    If you have a week between issues, you shouldn't have trouble finding content. Plenty of time for gamers, features, enterprise, etc.
  3. HejiraHenry

    HejiraHenry Well-Known Member

    Well, you should be able to program your life for two days off a week, which would put you in the first rank of weekly SEs.

    Otherwise, cover your beat.

    You'll be busy on, what, Monday and Tuesday with writing and production?

    Wednesday is a good day to catch your breath and plan the next week's paper.

    Thursday and Friday during the day, you can work on features and pace yourself. Friday night is crucial.

    There's usually some event you need to be covering on Saturday, then catch your breath for a while on Sunday.

    And then start again.
  4. jaxson5

    jaxson5 Member

    Thanks so far, but my main complaint is sitting at a desk for eight hours a day while only doing maybe ten hours a week worth of work.
  5. HejiraHenry

    HejiraHenry Well-Known Member

    Maybe I'm missing something.

    Why would you be sitting at your desk eight hours a day? It's a community newspaper, right? Go out and cover the community. Broaden your conception of what "sports" entails to include more than just the two high schools. Cover the Parks and rec beat.


    If you're getting paid a 40-hour wage for "only doing maybe ten hours a week worth of work" you'd better be careful that the bosses don't catch on. They could save a lot of money by hiring a part-timer.
  6. slappy4428

    slappy4428 Active Member

    big photos
  7. Hank_Scorpio

    Hank_Scorpio Active Member

    Hejira is right. Get out and discover the community. Don't just sit behind the desk.

    And when you cover games, remember that by the time people read your story, most will already know the result or the team will have played another game.

    Take a PM-daily type angle with gamers.

    Try to get one straight feature (not related to any game) per week.

    You can also do a short feature each week on old high school athletes who have gone on to play sports in college. Depending where you're at, there may only be a handful of D-I athletes, but many, many more smaller college athletes in non-revenue sports. Doesn't have to be a huge story either. Talk to the athlete about college life/sports, plug in a few stats, a college coach comment or two will get about 12 inches. Your readers will love it.
  8. Mystery_Meat

    Mystery_Meat Guest

    Where are you in relation to a daily newspaper? If your two schools are covered at a daily, I wouldn't even worry about doing gamers at all (particularly since it doesn't sound like you have a lot of space). Do people really want to read a story about an eight-day old volleyball match? Do a roundup hitting the two schools for the sake of posterity, but focus on features and notebooks. Also, don't be afraid to go off the beaten path for stories (though I would urge extreme caution if you start covering rec sports; almost no good can come from that, because the people who get the stories written about them will want more, and the others will start demanding the same attention). Think about your hypothetical reader and what he or she wants out of your sports section, then get to work on it. And for the love of God, don't let the squeakiest wheels guide your coverage. Too many people will write stories on people just to get them to stop calling. Rule to go by: if they don't sign your checks or they didn't die for your sins, they have no right to dictate what you do with your newshole. Give in once, you might as well fly the white flag, because once you lose control, you never get it back.
  9. Gator

    Gator Well-Known Member

    yeah, he's right on. broaden your horizons by thinking outside the box. for example, when i was at a weekly, we had another guy in the office covering another community that would go out and do a "best of" series. he would go out and find the best places in the community to golf, shoot hoops and play tennis. he would talk to people about why they're playing there and what they like about it. things like that can be kind of lame, but if dont right, you can turn it into something decent.
  10. sportsliz

    sportsliz Member

    This is a good idea. I've built an In College page, which I run about once a month (nice for filling space). I just run the kid's name, list the school and sport and invite community members to email me with more names. Pretty soon you'll have a nice list going. And the college athletes always make for a nice feature story. Whatever you do, don't sit behind that desk for 8 hours a day. Get out in the community, find something to cover.
  11. three_bags_full

    three_bags_full Well-Known Member

    I hung two trophies on the wall at my last weekly stop through features. Each week, I tried to have a good feature on at least one kid. Didn't have to be much, nor in-depth. Weekly newspapering -- or community newspapering in my case -- is always about names, names, names. Get those kids' names in the paper -- if they deserve it, of course.
  12. Roscablo

    Roscablo Member

    The great thing about a weekly is you can be flexible about when you work. This makes it pretty easy to be flexible with what you produce. You're only a few weeks in, so there's still plenty to learn what the pulse of the community is.

    No one's mentioned a column yet (I don't think). Write one each week, focusing on sports issues that matter in your area. Once you get away from that desk, you'll find that there are plenty of topics to highlight in this way as well.

    Don't be afraid to take risks.

    And once the prep season starts, I'm guessing you'll be working a few more than 10 hours a week.
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