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new ideas for prep football preview sections...

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by JD Canon, Aug 1, 2007.

  1. JD Canon

    JD Canon Guest

    i'm brainstorming ideas for this upcoming season's prep football preview coverage.

    the paper i work for does not do a tab — or any kind of pull-out section at all. never has. i've been told that the advertising staff is too overworked to sell space for a prep football special section. but that's another topic for another time.

    i'm hoping you guys/girls might be willing to share some cool innovative features you might have done in the past or are planning to do this fall.

    since i don't have a pull-out to work with, what my paper does is commit four straight days to high school football. the front cover is comsumed each day by one big feature story with teasers to further coverage inside. (there is a second "cover" on D3 that has the other local, regional and national news that would normally make up the real front). and i get a jump page and another full inside page to use.

    i've got all the cover story ideas already lined up. and i've brainstormed the angles for all the individual team previews. here's a list of some of the other things we do:

    • coaches polls for all five of the leagues we cover
    • capsules on each of the teams in each league (including records, enrollments, coach's record all-time, stadium names/capacity, last playoff appearance/result, returning players, newcomers, and overall outlook)
    • returning statistical leaders from each league
    • a graphic showing key games to watch throughout the season
    • schedules for every team, including radio broadcasts
    • the preseason all-county team and mugs
    • a preseason media poll
    • plus on the fourth day (the season opener) we have all our usual game-previews and matchups

    anybody have any less (or, heck, even more) conventional ideas that i could incorporate? done anything really cool with your prep tab recently? planning to do something outrageous this fall? one thing i saw that was funny one time was a graphic on which team in the area had the most eye-pleasing uniforms. it was a time-waster, but it made me chuckle.

    any ideas are appreciated.
  2. JD Canon

    JD Canon Guest

    oh, and i forgot to say, we tried implementing a map with driving directions to all the schools last year, but that got nixed because of space contraints. maybe we'll try again on that this year.
  3. One thing we've done in the past, and that we're probably going to be doing again this year, is doing a week-by-week stat tracker for a big-time recruit in our coverage area.

    Three years ago our big recruit was Adrian Peterson, and we had a graphic on the front page of a Friday night wrap that showed how many yards he rushed for the week before, his total for the year, etc. We are likely going to do the same this year with another big-time running back recruit. So if you have a player or two like that in the area, that would be a good idea.

    A couple of things we do in our preview section that you could think about are a preseason All-Area (or All-County, etc.) Team and the map graphic showing the locations of all the stadiums. We find that a lot of people cut that part out of the football section and use it every week.

    Another thing you could do is do is have a section or graphic that previews a "Game of the Week."
  4. DougDascenzo

    DougDascenzo Member

    You've been lied to.

    Anyway, I really like the maps idea. I might just steal (borrow) it.

    I think the more easily digestible, the better. Long-winded previews get lost in the shuffle, so IMHO, it's better to break teams down with quick-hitting points and no more than 3-4 sentences per heading.

    It's a special section, treat it that way. Most of all, have fun with it.
  5. sportschick

    sportschick Active Member

    I don't know what your Web site's like, but it might be a perfect place for those driving directions, esp. if they can stay in an easy to see spot all year.
  6. chazp

    chazp Active Member

    The mugs are a great idea. You could try to use mugs of one or two key players from each team. We tried this with our baseball/softball tab and got great feedback from our readers. We've using it again in football. We have six teams in our area, we're taking recommendations from coaches on their top players on offense and defense. Each school will have one offensive player and one defensive player in this group which we're calling, "A dozen difference makers," a page with the mugs and the stats of these 12 players.
  7. Cosmo

    Cosmo Well-Known Member

  8. Songbird

    Songbird Well-Known Member

    If you can track down the info, what about a complete list of playoff scores for each school you cover?
  9. Some Guy

    Some Guy Active Member

    It's like they don't want free money. A high school preview section is by far the easiest thing on Earth to sell. At least, it is here in Texas.

    At the smallish paper at which I used to work in West Texas, the football preview basically provided the sports budget for the rest of the year and then some.
  10. Kevin Morales

    Kevin Morales Member

    I agree. Has anyone thought about or done a preview that was completely Q & A with a team's head coach instead of formulating a story yourself. I haven't seen anyone do this, but not only would it save time, readers might enjoy reading exactly what the coach has to say instead of reading a reporter's preview.

  11. Cosmo

    Cosmo Well-Known Member

    You still have to have some nuts and bolts in there. We did a preview last year with Q&As with one player from each school, but we really didn't preview the teams. It didn't work. We're not writing any "team previews" this year, instead going with scouting reports and the like. People still want the information.
  12. chazp

    chazp Active Member

    Some guy is right. It's easy to sell. Sounds like your ad department is too lazy to sell the football tab. Our ad department usually sells the tab out in two weeks or less.
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