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Plans for the "Hiatus"?

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by DanOregon, Mar 12, 2020.

  1. NoOneLikesUs

    NoOneLikesUs Active Member

    Hey, I've been away a while but I think this hiatus is not going to be a walk in the park.

    I'm just starting on some of these "sports on hold" stories and these are some of the most surprisingly emotional interviews I have done in 20 years.

    I broke down crying over the most mundane stuff over the last few days. The newsroom gallows humor is becoming more difficult to deal with. The lack of planning by management is something you roll with but now it may kill you.

    Putting up signs that say wash your hands will not cut it. I do not see how all people needed to maintain daily production and delivery will be in place in a few weeks. People will get sick. They will have to be away for a long time.

    Then when you are asked to fill in for any number of tasks if you are healthy will it even be worth it?
    exmediahack, tonygunk and ChrisLong like this.
  2. ChrisLong

    ChrisLong Well-Known Member

    I thought about this, how production will lag as people get sick or just stay home. Like, what if the TP delivery truck driver stays home. A friend of mine is a trucker and drives an 18-wheeler. He posted on Facebook a couple of days ago: "How am I supposed to work from home? My rig won't fit in my living room."
    swingline and HanSenSE like this.
  3. Dan Omlor

    Dan Omlor New Member

    Most of these replies seem to have wandered far afield from the original question, which is : What Do Sports Departments Do In This Time Of Widespread Shut Downs? We plan to greatly expand our Outdoor Sports coverage : Fishing, Hiking, Backpacking and Canoeing. We'll do a lot of Equipment Reviews. We'll do several Boy Scout stories at the administrative level : Is the bankruptcy at the national office affecting local troops any? How are local troops adapting to the inclusion of girls? Etc. We'll get a head start on the local Dirt Track Racetrack. We'll interview and photograph local drivers and their cars and write about what they've done over the offseason (new car, new engine, new sponsors, new team members, etc.), and we'll interview the race track management about any improvements and plans for the coming season. We'll greatly expand our Golf coverage. We'll interview local golfers and local courses and write about new technology in clubs and balls. We'll seek out local Hunters and do stories on them, including new technology in rifles, bullets, scopes and other equipment. We'll do stories on 2020 vehicles used by outdoor sportsmen, especially the soon to be released Ford Bronco. Long ago we claimed Amusement Parks as a Sports topic, (if you don't think so go ride a few of these state of the art coasters and then tell us that's not as physically demanding as any other sport) so we'll write about new rides or upgrades to existing rides (new trackage, etc.). We'll look up local rock climbing and rappelling enthusiasts and do several stories on them and local climbing sites. There's Orienteering, a rugged backwoods sport involving compass, topo maps and GPS units. They have competitions every weekend.There's Spelunking, the art of cave exploration. We have an active local chapter we've ignored for years. There's Cycling. We can cover their weekend "tours," and interview local bike shops on the newest equipment. We have never covered several local novelty sports and we'll do that. There are Roomba Curling, Frisbee Golf, Kite Combat and Robotics. The truth is, we'll have more than enough to do without the major spectator sports. We've slighted many other Sports categories and we can now make up for that neglect.
    Dog8Cats and JPsT like this.
  4. playthrough

    playthrough Moderator Staff Member

    I gotta see the Roomba curling story.
    OscarMadison likes this.
  5. ADanielPandR

    ADanielPandR Member

    If I were still working in, let alone running a sports-related department, I along with my colleagues would be pursuing as many phone or email interviews as we can. Who knows? Some of these idled athletes may have a more fascinating means of passing the time than one might assume.

    In addition, you could find myriad options for acknowledging the fifth, tenth, twentieth, twenty-fifth, etc. anniversary of a given event. Besides the usual superficial "This happened on this day..." angle, you could dive deeper, poke around places like sports-reference.com if applicable, and pursue fun facts about what the people who made that moment have done since.
    sgreenwell likes this.
  6. SFIND

    SFIND Well-Known Member

    I didn't even even have to read any of those actual stories to get bored to tears. Just reading your ideas for them damn near made me doze off.

    Have at it. I'm sure a few will be very interesting reads nice clips for the writer.

    My section is sticking to the hard news at hand. If that means the tenth story in two weeks about the state athletic association pushing back the start of spring sports or a wire story on out-of-work stadium employees, so be it. It's far more newsworthy than new roller coasters no one will be on until May (at the absolute earliest).
    inthesuburbs and tonygunk like this.
  7. NoOneLikesUs

    NoOneLikesUs Active Member

    I can do most of these sort of things if things remain status quo and everyone in the office is healthy. But the office as it stands now is not set up for that and can be easily contaminated forcing a shutdown. Reporters have not been told to work off site. Paginators are not separated or given the ability to do work from home. Press folks all punch in using the same dirty clock. Delivery drivers are hard to keep in good times. What happens when the news print doesn't show? Or paper? What can you sell advertising for?

    Unless they say we're going online only for the foreseeable future and I can work from home, I can't focus on what features to write.
  8. inthesuburbs

    inthesuburbs Member

    Here's an idea: Cover the news.

    How is the coronavirus epidemic affecting your sports and teams and players and fans and budgets and contracts and wages and traditions and injuries and player preparation and eligibility and recruiting and broadcasters and daily rituals and family time and friendships and life plans?

    And you'll be able to think of 20 more angles.

    Take a vacation? Having a hiatus?

    Covering curling?

    Doing anniversary stories? WTF.

    What's happening now is a bigger story, in sports, than anything that could have happened if the games had continued.

    Covering sports should include a lot more than covering what happens on the field. All of your suggestions were on the field (season wrap-ups, spring previews, agate).

    The absence of the game means that news is being committed. Cover it.

    You want to be employed in journalism in five years? Make your coverage and your news organization essential to people. Do that by covering the news.

    If you are doing anniversary stories because you have all this free time because spring sports got canceled, you've defined yourself out of a job.
  9. Deskgrunt50

    Deskgrunt50 Well-Known Member

    There are plenty of stories to cover. No doubt. I’m absolutely confident I’ll have compelling content online and in print.

    I’m less confident that bean counters won’t panic and slash sports.

    So many people across multiple industries are going to feel serious pain in the coming months. Servers. Bartenders. Stadium workers. Seasonal workers. The list is staggering.

    Trying to keep it in perspective. But the overwhelming crush and pace of the last week is a lot to digest.
    inthesuburbs likes this.
  10. flexmaster33

    flexmaster33 Well-Known Member

    Echoing the same plan as many here with time to finally focus in on some feature ideas that the typical prep cycle doesn't allow until the summer months. My office also put out the mandate for reporters to be working from home and utilizing phone and email for interview purposes.
    PaperDoll likes this.
  11. DanOregon

    DanOregon Well-Known Member

    Another good idea might be to hit the local gyms and talk to trainers - and run a short foto feature every day on what people can do in their homes or with little or no exercise equipment to stay active. I can only imagine our fat country is about to get a whole lot fatter with kids not playing little league, having recess and their parents joining them in sitting around watching TV.
    PaperDoll and sgreenwell like this.
  12. Cosmo

    Cosmo Well-Known Member

    I run a bi-monthly magazine, and our print deadline for the next issue (May-June) is coming up this week. I honestly don't know how to handle this, because the way the virus and outbreak is evolving is changing on a daily basis, and anything we would put out would be so sorely outdated or could be flat inaccurate by the time the magazine hits mailboxes. Jumping on a call later with the design team to try to figure things out. You can't just put out an association golf magazine that ignores the biggest story of our lifetime, acting like nothing is happening and it's business as usual in the golf world. But how do you write about something that is likely going to evolve into something different in the weeks between the magazine is put to bed and when it hits boxes?
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