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No gamer on front page?

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Trey Beamon, Sep 9, 2006.

  1. We shoved our Super Bowl-losing team's gamer off the cover for the Super Bowl section - and it was something I pushed for at the time. Everyone saw the game. What people wanted first, in my opinion, was a column on the emotion of the loss. It was a communal experience, of sorts.

    The gamer had a whole page to itself with big art and charts on page 3. Still a prominent spot.

    I don't see how it damages the reader's experience.
    The gamer wasn't eliminated. In fact, it's easier to give the gamer a good ride on page 3 than have a secondary hedline on the cover at 40 points and then a small jump hed trying to carry a big inside presence.

    It's a magazine treatment and it's not the end of the world.
  2. BH33

    BH33 Member

    I agree. I thought it was a page well done. If I was living in the area and watched the game, I wouldn't wake up wanting to read the gamer first. I'd want the analysis.
  3. SF_Express

    SF_Express Active Member

    When I saw this, I wondered if it was a continuation of the thinking that game stories are becoming a thing of the past.

    I'm not necessarily agreeing with that thinking, because I think well-done, analytical gamers still have their place.

    I'll say this: I've been advocating more opinion and analysis in game stories for years, well before this current trend, and I think it's more true now than ever.
  4. Frank_Ridgeway

    Frank_Ridgeway Well-Known Member

    It's totally stupid to push the gamer inside for a few reasons.

    First, assuming the game story is going to be analytical instead of play-by-play, who is going to have the more educated insights, the beat guy who is with the team every day or the columnist who is trying to keep tabs on every pro and college team in the market as well as the rest of the sports world? I like Hyde very much, make no mistake about that. But if I have time to read one story about the Dolphins game, the one I am going to read is by the writer who knows the team the best.

    Second, not every reader is going to read your columnist. No matter how good he or she is, you are always going to encounter plenty of people who "don't read that idiot" no matter what the subject matter is. There are columnists I tune out, just don't read anymore because they don't do it for me and never have. Why would we expect readers to be different?

    Third, I don't want to make readers have to hunt for the main story. Good Christ, we are not talking about squeezing a fifth story onto the cover, we are talking about the difference between a one-story page and a two-story page. How difficult can it be to get two stories on a broadsheet page without losing impact?

    I think we are seeing too many situations of people doing something different just to make it appear to the glass offices that they are thinking. But are they really thinking? I see lots of major sports sections trying to duplicate tabloid display techniques without considering how badly tabloids are struggling, bleeding circulation far more dramatically than most broadsheets. The only paid-circulation tab that has gained circ during the Internet era is the N.Y. Post, and it didn't start growing until it cut its cover price in half in its primary market (and, BTW, is one of the few papers in the U.S. that actually LOSES money). Why mimic those who are doing the absolute worst at retaining circ? Logically, shouldn't we be asking ourselves if tab techniques are contributing to tabs' swoons and shouldn't we be doing the exact opposite?
  5. Appgrad05

    Appgrad05 Active Member

    Actually, I kind of like it.
  6. There are few folks on the board who I respect more than Frank, so I'll just counter his arguments for the sake of it.

    That's a big assumption. I'd argue much of the "analytical" part of the gamer can be summarized for the cover, as is done on the Sun-Sentinel page.

    That's an excellent point.

    I can only speak from when I have done this, and in that case the gamer took up a whole page immediately as you open the section. No hunting involved and actually it made for a stronger presentation of the gamer.
  7. Desk_dude

    Desk_dude Member

    1A had a stand alone photo. The first four pages in sports were Dolphins.
    Note how there is summary type talking about the game.
    It's easier for the reader to navigate the coverage with one jump. In addition, the game story can be displayed nicely inside.
    And from a production standpoint it's simpler because you're dealing with only one jump. And a few minutes can make a big difference when you are dealing with lots of copy and East Coast deadlines (i.e., sending pages 30 minutes after the game is over).

    By putting only one story on the cover, the columnist is better to put on the cover because he's a more recognizable name. And in newspapers now, it's all about branding.
  8. Riddick

    Riddick Active Member

    I'm digging the look. The only thing I would have done differently was maybe have a cutout at the bottom.
  9. Clerk Typist

    Clerk Typist Guest

    I like the idea and the execution. The refer type on the image is small, but I'm guessing the gamer is on 3C, and played well. People do turn the page, after all. Hey, the amazing thing to me is the lack of an ad bannered across the bottom (or top) of the front.
  10. Space Monkey

    Space Monkey Member

    I like this approach.

    If I watched this game, I already know what happened when I open the paper the next morning. I'd want to read the column first, then the gamer. It's not like someone is going to get to the page and won't be able to find out what happened because the gamer isn't there. You have the final score, a large headline, a subhead and a huge photo that tells you what happened in a fraction of a second.

    With this kind of treatment, I'd expect that the gamer be played prominently on the next page, with another big headline and photo. The gamer would probably be more than just a couple inches before jumping. The gamer would likely anchor a group of several stories over a few pages inside.
  11. Desk_dude

    Desk_dude Member

    That likely would be true in covers with a bunch of items from the game. So, all you're getting is a few grafs from the game. And the summary grafs are more focused on what happened than a writer's likely featury lede.
    The non-game story cover still has the big headline, big photos, reefers.
  12. daemon

    daemon Well-Known Member

    Here's my problem. As a writer, when I look at that front page, I see wasted space.

    I see a lot of copy that didn't get printed in the newspaper.

    We are in an age where we are competing with the internet. The internet has unlimited space. The thing these team web sites have going for them is they can print 10 different stories on the same game. They can write a gamer, three side bars, analysis, yadda yadda yadda.

    I firmly believe that people like content. Why run a picture that big? Why run a headline that big? How many more stories and photos could have fit in that section?

    I really don't think readers care about design. There is very little design on the internet. They want content. They want information.
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