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NFL box scores -- overrated or untouchable?

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by SavebyKeans, Sep 13, 2010.

  1. SavebyKeans

    SavebyKeans New Member

    Today, USA Today started distributing a prepackaged NFL page to Gannett papers. When we were first shown the prototype last week, my first reaction was that it did not have box scores. Being in an NFL market, I can't justify not printing boxes for those readers still loyal to the print product. Luckily, my bosses backed me up and we did not publish the page.

    Corporate insists that it wants to go "beyond" box scores. Have I been in the business too long? (don't answer that). Are we really beyond boxes?

    And if you're a Gannett sports editor who did print the USAT page, did you forgo boxes today or just expand your section?
  2. micropolitan guy

    micropolitan guy Well-Known Member

    "Corporate" and "intelligent journalism" are mutually exclusive.

    I still believe NFL and MLB boxes are the meat & potatoes of any agate page.
  3. Ben_Hecht

    Ben_Hecht Active Member

    Deliberate omission of NFL boxes from print products is insanity.
  4. Kato

    Kato Active Member

    Well, our shop went beyond box scores this week and now has AP limited. That meant today's paper had no NFL news other than scores (oh, there was an off-day Vikings story; we're in Minny). No recaps/roundups, no box scores, not even standings.

    But we did have a PGA story and a world basketball championships story.
  5. JBHawkEye

    JBHawkEye Active Member


    And I'll throw MLB boxes in there as well.
  6. mediaguy

    mediaguy Well-Known Member

    Especially with fantasy football as crazy-popular as it is, people want to be able to scan games to see how players did. Granted, 99 percent of your leagues are online, but usually that's how people track their players, not the guys on other teams or free agents ...
  7. StaggerLee

    StaggerLee Well-Known Member

    We were floored when we saw the USAT NFL page, so much so that my SE called ContentOne to ask if they were really planning on not including boxscores. Once he got his answer that they weren't, he made the decision to not use the USAT page. I don't know how the upper management goons will view that decision, though. We'll find out today, I guess.

    We had a publisher a while back try to convince the SE at the time that we should get rid of the agate page altogether. He said readers didn't look at that page at all, that they got all that information online these days. Well, we didn't get rid of the agate page, but we severely dumbed it down, replacing a lot of the space used for agate with these big breakout boxes with things such as community calendar, scrapbook photos, etc. Needless to say, that next morning was like a Labor Day telethon as the phones wouldn't stop ringing. Eventually, we started transferring them to his voice mail (since he's a Gannett publisher, and you know they're never at work). When he finally returned to his office some two weeks later, he had changed his mind and the old agate page was restored.

    I thought the MLB page was one of the good things Gannett/USAT has done in the last few months. It saves us a bunch of time and it's got all the information we'd put on on our MLB page. I was hoping the NFL page would be similar, but I guess I was giving those idiots too much credit.
  8. Desk_dude

    Desk_dude Member

    Despite the information available on the Internet, people like to look at statistics on a printed page. People can scan all of the boxes on one big page. They can make notations on the page.

    The same type of morons are the ones who eliminated the school academic test scores. You used to be able to see all the scores on the page. Now you have to search for the scores by school.
  9. e_bowker

    e_bowker Member

    When we went to the smaller page width a couple years ago, we did away with most of the NFL boxes. We used to run every one, but with less space they either wouldn't all fit or there wasn't room for other agate we need to run on Monday (an MLB glance, NASCAR results, college football polls and schedules, etc.).
    We still run the boxes for the local NFL team, Monday night games and playoff games, but for the most part we've stopped running them and haven't gotten any angry phone calls.
  10. Shoeless Joe

    Shoeless Joe Active Member

    We've never run NFL or MLB boxes simply because we don't have the room to spare. We'd like to. We get an occasional call "How 'bout running ..." and we always respond with that answer. "We'd like to, but we just don't have the space."
  11. Den1983

    Den1983 Active Member

    Ditto. We stopped running NFL and MLB boxes about two years ago. It really hasn't caused a lot of fireworks from readers, though, which is surprising. Since then, space has shrunk but local content has improved significantly.
  12. reformedhack

    reformedhack Active Member

    I'm an ink-on-paper guy. I've been a sports editor or an assistant at several shops in a Top 20 market. I'm fascinated by statistics. But I haven't looked at a printed box score or summary from any sport in five years, and I think newspapers can make better use of their dwindling space for interesting things that aren't readily available online.

    The printed product is a readership/visual medium, and I'm not convinced that box scores serve a significant purpose to the majority of readers any longer. Maybe newspapers should be taking advantage of the opportunity to do what they do best -- tell good stories, offer expert analysis and insight about the news of the day, and entertain and inform through words and images.

    Granted, my opinion is probably shaped by my having moved to the magazine publishing business about 10 years ago, but I see our circulation growing year over year as we employ a similar philosophy. I look back on my newspaper career and think to myself how great it would have been to have had the opportunity to produce a local broadsheet "magazine" every day, filled with intensive local news analysis, opinions/columns, features, explanatory graphics, and put the "service" information -- box scores, news-of-record material -- on my website instead. Granted, it would take rethinking how my staffers are deployed and used, but it would be fun ... and interesting to readers. (Emphasizing the fact that they are, indeed, "readers.")

    Your mileage may vary.
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