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Prep football advance coverage

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Trey Beamon, Sep 8, 2006.

  1. Trey Beamon

    Trey Beamon Active Member

    I cover seven schools for a small bi-weekly. In advance of Friday prep football, we do a player Q & A, weekly picks and -- now that I have space after an odd Labor Day news cycle -- game previews. (I'd do more, but only have 2-3 pages to work with).

    The issue lies with the latter.

    Needless to say, I'm not writing a shitload football preview stories. That's pointless. And I don't really want to do previews in capsule form, either. I just want to get the information across a different way.

    How does your paper handle preview coverage? What has worked for you? What should I avoid like a D_B thread?

    Many thanks in advance, guys...
  2. Stupid

    Stupid Member

    We cover 3 in-county schools and 5 in adjacent counties. We do about a 12-14" preview for each in-county school and a roundup preview of about 6-7" for each out-of-county team.

    I think, at the very least, you could provide both team's records, conference affiliation, most recent result and whatever info you can dig up on the opponent (off. formation, def. scheme, star players, past meetings).

    Mostly, previews are a way to get the home coach a chance to blather in coachspeak.
  3. 2underpar

    2underpar Active Member

    caps are a good way to get the information out. They can be dressed up so that they look good, and you don't have to spend a ton of time doing them.
    we do caps on about 18-25 games per week -- that way everybody in our coverage area gets a blurb, and then we a couple of features per week.
  4. Hank_Scorpio

    Hank_Scorpio Active Member

    Do one game of the week preview (with a capsule breakout, records, coaches and their all-time records, key player, last week's result for both teams, last meeting between the two teams).

    Then do capsule format for the rest of the games. Except in those add a graf or two to talk about the game. In those grafs, put interesting tidbits, Coach is going for his 500th win, or Joe RunningBack needs 82 yards to hit the 1,000 yard mark.

    Capsules are a real good way to get information across. It's quick hitting and much broader appeal to the readers.
    In a preview, you'll get mostly fans of each school reading it. With capsules, you'll get more casual fans that may pick the best game available just to go watch.
  5. Hank_Scorpio

    Hank_Scorpio Active Member

    Just went back and read your initial post, here's what I'd do with your situation I think:

    it looks like you do a nice package and a preview on every game would bog it down some.

    Do a game of the week in the center of the page with art, strip the Q and A along the top, put the capsule previews down the left.

    Staff picks on the bottom and then do something fun in the bottom right corner. Maybe highlight a different stadium/field each week;

    Then on your second page, do a notebook, and a stats roundup.

    And if you have the space, do a player feature that could go on the second page.
    The Q and A could be more for hard core football fans, focusing on the top players.

    And then do a more casual player profile (two brothers on the same team, cousins on opposing teams, a game day in the life of a coach, etc, etc)

    Don't know how many pages you usually have, but don't forget the other sports as well. It's hard to devote one whole issue to football when there are other sports (including the non-revenue sports as well).

    That's why I think the capsules make a great way to present the info. You have the standard headline and story throughout the paper. Putting the capsules in, gives a break from that.

    Is there a reason why you're against capsules, trey?
  6. At a daily that covers seven schools as well (four inside the county, one on a military base at the northern edge of the county and two in neighboring counties).

    We start with previews or features on Wednesday. Inside on Fridays, we run an advance page that has predictions, matchup capsules and other advances/jumps. It's definitely not the prettiest page, but our managing editor and publisher both like it. And the radio/cable access TV play-by-play people always have them handy at games.

  7. farmerjerome

    farmerjerome Active Member

    Seven schools.

    Left rail: All schedules with results.
    Centerpiece: Game of the week preview.
    Lower Third of the Page: Capsules
    Bottom: Nuts and bolts crap.
    Right Rail: Stat leaders.
  8. Appgrad05

    Appgrad05 Active Member

    We have eight football-playing schools.

    Sunday: Football Insider (Each coach is called Sat. morning, after they've seen the film and the players have been in the training room, for insight on Friday night's game. Started this year, people love the hell out of it and coaches have been great.)

    Wednesday: Prep football notebook (Lead item on a school or player that didn't quite make the cut for the weekly feature. Also has information on recruiting and an updated injury report)

    Friday: Gameday page (25 inch feature, "storylines" on all eight games, matchups, schedule, power poll, standings)

    Saturday: Three or four 10" gamers, state scores, power poll, Friday night standouts, Friday's MVP, standings
  9. Football_Bat

    Football_Bat Well-Known Member

    31 schools with 2 big hometown ones.

    Every Thursday we preview the Big 2 on the cover, and do capsules of the rest on B5 with district standings, area stats, a pick-it line, kickoff wx forecast and a weekly cartoon which one of our contrbutors draws for us.

    Fridays are reserved for college previews.
  10. GlenQuagmire

    GlenQuagmire Active Member

    Throw in some mugs with the caps, too. That will help break up the text.
  11. sartrean

    sartrean Member

    For football, obviously it's pointless at a bi-weekly to advance other sports that play more often, I pick usually the two or three biggest games of the week. If two teams from my coverage area are playign against one another, then that's automatically going to be an advancer, regardless of how sucky they are.

    I do the caps. It's easy, and usually I do all of them way, way in advance, like in July when I don't have dick to do. On the week of pub, I change the dates, the records, and other stuff, but since I've been here for a while, I know who the star players are and most of the caps write themselves.

    It frees me up to do other stuff, other stuff that nobody reads. The only thing people read are gamers. That's it.

    But the problem I'm dealing with now is all my deadlines have changed after being bought by a big media conglomerate, and now we're the thrice weekly community paper, and all of my deadlines are Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday. It's working for football, but when we get into basketball season, I don't know what I'll do.

    The best basketball/baseball games are on Tuesday. Thursday's paper is done on Monday, Saturday's paper is done on Tuesday and Tuesday's paper is done on the previous Wednesday. And all the local scores are printed in the big city daily that owns us, each day. How the hell do I cover the other sports? I think I'm going to have to advance basketball and baseball, but I can't even print records or scores of recent games. It'll all be old crap by then.

    My editor and I agree this sucks, but we're powerless to change the new deadline system.
  12. BillySixty

    BillySixty Member

    We've got 14 schools that play football, 10 of which we kind of care about. Of those 10 schools, we really care about seven of them. Usually, as an advance, we'll do a 12-inch preview of the game of the week with 1-2 grafs on the others. We also have standings, stats leaders and staff picks.

    If we had the staff and the size to do it, I'd like to have a feature story anchor the coverage along with notes, a game of the week capsule and capsules for the other 10-11 games in our area along with all the other goodies.

    But a two-man staff can't pull that off.
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