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No game story?

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Condition Of Anonymity, Jan 18, 2011.

  1. I had a layover in Chicago this afternoon and picked up the Sun-Times to kill time between flights. Eight-page wrap around the paper of nothing but Bears-Packers coverage. Always good to see papers beef up for big games.

    But among the eight pages, there was no game story. Three or four columns, a sidebar and a notebook. Yes, there was an extended box score-like page, but no gamer? I know this isn't some high school event or local thing, and that most of the readers know the final score and a majority of people probably know how it happened. But doesn't there have to be some kind of write-up of the game itself in there? For posterity, at the very least? Or am I just a dinosaur who thinks it's still the 1940s?

    I don't mean this to be about the Sun-Times. Just using it as an example, since they're hardly the only paper going in that direction. But is the game story really obsolete?
  2. newspaperman

    newspaperman Member

    Yeah, in this day and age, it is. Everybody has ESPN so repeating what happened in the game wouldn't make much since. I think they approached it the best way. The only way for newspapers to survive now is to give readers something they won't get on an ESPN highlight. I know it's a big change from the "good ole days," but sometimes change is good. Hopefully this is one of those instances.
  3. If that's the case, I don't like it

    I love a good game story. Even if I already know the score. I look to the gamer for big-picture info on the game, insight on why the game went the way it did, the best quotes, what's ahead. Not looking for PxP but the best info the beat guy has.

    Even in this day & age.
  4. dooley_womack1

    dooley_womack1 Well-Known Member

    Oh, how fucking silly. A game story done right is absolutely still essential. A good writer gets details others don't have and put things in the local perspective. You should never give up any part of your franchise.
  5. Bubbler

    Bubbler Well-Known Member

    No offense, but I think this is unmitigated bullshit.

    Newspapers need to try to give their readers everything, including a well-written gamer.

    I think the 90s and 2000s meme from many that exclaimed "gamers are dead" helped accelerate the problems sports sections have in newspapers. We overthink it, readers don't. They want gamers along with everything else.

    In a well-intended movement to make sections better, many threw the baby out with the bath water by emphasizing anything but the basics that readers want as part (not all) of their coverage.

    De-emphasizing gamers with this oft-repeated bullshit that "ESPN already had it" is stupid. How much does ESPN really give you if you're following your team from a local perspective? The Sun-Times ceding its own localized version of a gamer with the idea that ESPN got it is short-sighted at best and irresponsible at worst.

    It really isn't that hard to figure out what readers want. They want facts, they want opinion, they want as much information as they can digest.

    The gamer is part of that.

    No, no one wants the by-the-numbers play-by-play, but in my mind, a good gamer encapsulates what happened in the game in a two-pronged way ... observational reporting on happened within the scope of the game (perhaps a piece of the game itself or something that happened on or off the floor related to it) and how that game fits in the scope of the bigger picture.

    Today, a good gamer goes hand-in-hand with a column, notes, graphics, sidebars, etc. And that's just in the paper itself. In my case, it goes hand-in-hand with a live blog, a postmortem blog, etc.
  6. newspaperman

    newspaperman Member

    I'm not saying don't put in that Matt Forte rushed for a 12-yard touchdown in the third quarter. I'm saying I don't think readers are as interested in the play-by-play info.
    But then again I did have a coach recently tell me he only looks at the headlines and searches the first couple paragraphs for a score. But I guess it's different strokes for different folks.
  7. Bud_Bundy

    Bud_Bundy Active Member

    Had a corporate genius come through here a couple of years ago who told us gamers were the least-important thing we wrote.

    Then we spent 2 or 3 hours listening to him tell us how to write a good gamer.
  8. Diego Marquez

    Diego Marquez Member

    They probably laid off the gamer guy.
  9. Den1983

    Den1983 Active Member

    I, too, get the sense that games are dying. I don't necessarily know if I would have done what the S-T did, but I understand why they did it. Why rehash mundane quotes with no color that add nothing to a recap of the game? 90 percent of quotes offer nothing to a story. I understand games may be a big deal for high school and maybe small college sports, but if you package content right, I think readers would gladly take columns and sidebars over a game story. Just my hunch.
  10. armageddon

    armageddon Active Member

    Our writers disagree strongly.

    More important, so do our readers, at least those who can be measured on the web.

    The highest number of comments posted under stories in our "gameday" package belongs to the gamer -- week after week after week.

    It's not even close, either.

    This is true for NFL and college coverage.
  11. YGBFKM

    YGBFKM Guest

    The operative phrase being well-written. That's not what you find in most newspapers. Most game stories are dull, lazy and repetitive.
  12. LongTimeListener

    LongTimeListener Well-Known Member

    That could be because of their placement on the site and their typically earlier arrival than the sidebars, which means they're more likely to be linked on message boards and such.
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