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Preps Under Attack

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by DanOregon, Mar 11, 2018.

  1. Jake_Taylor

    Jake_Taylor Well-Known Member

    There are some that do well. It’s actually a better idea than newspapers trying to satisfy a niche that gets more and more segmented every year while the resources to cover it keep dwindling.
  2. LanceyHoward

    LanceyHoward Well-Known Member

    What is an example of someone making money on a publication of this type?
  3. Jake_Taylor

    Jake_Taylor Well-Known Member

    There is one here in Central Virginia, called Scrimmage Play. I don't think anybody is getting rich, but they have stayed in business for almost 10 years now. There is also VirginiaPreps.com, which has been around forever.

    Shore Sports Network in New Jersey also does a little with Monmouth University, but has really picked up the high school coverage as the APP and Star-Ledger cut back. From what I understand, they are doing OK financially.
  4. Roscablo

    Roscablo Well-Known Member

    I freelanced for a while for something called Varsity Online. It was a great little gig and seemed like a nice concept. It was around 2000 so maybe a head of its time or maybe a little too predictable of what the market for something like that would be. The concept was to have every state fully covered. I think only a few ended up getting anything. But it paid pretty well at the time for what I did and I got to cover a bunch of different stuff. Probably only lasted around a year of actually having paid freelancers and employees try and keep it afloat. Then went to people just posting their own updates like the many sites we see today and high school juniors saying it was a good football game with bad grammar just didn't keep it going. I think by 02 or 03 it was gone but I didn't keep up after I didn't do anything for them any more.

    I grew up in Denver and remember when the Post and the Rocky both did huge, multi-page preps only sections every week. Multiple features, advances, stat breakdowns, standings, one guy actually picked every single football game across all classifications if you can believe it. Now Denver has one preps writer at the Post. The state activities association does some OK coverage with what I assume are stringers of some sort.
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2018
  5. ScottJBryan

    ScottJBryan Member


    The website is terrible, and the paper isn't what it used to be. But it launched in 1986 as a preps-only publication that printed 30 times per year. I think it's down to 12 times a year, but it's still surviving. The owner is getting up there in years and was recently out for an extended period of time for health reasons.

    The advertising model is simple: Sell ads to people who support schools. The more ads a school gets, the more space it gets in the paper. HSSR also sponsors a handful of sports banquets each year (and used to get some pretty good speakers -- Bobby Bowden, JoPa, I think, every USCe and Clemson coach).

    At one point, it was a 96-page tab (the most the press they used could print), but I think it's down to 64 pages now.
  6. John

    John Well-Known Member

    Here in the town of big-time football U, the local 30K paper writes way more about the four- and five-star commitments from all over the country than it does any of the local kids. And I'm sure the traffic numbers support that approach. We covered the heck out of preps when I worked there 15 years ago -- of course back then we also covered all of big-time U's men's and women's basketball road games, and that hasn't happened in nearly a decade.
  7. DanOregon

    DanOregon Well-Known Member

    How much of the "worth" of local sports sections was viewed by players and fans in getting attention to their athletes and schools - something they could use as evidence of being worthy of a scholarship or a chance to play in college. Now you have Hudl and other sites where players can upload their own video and stats, circulate their bigger highlight plays on Twitter and hope some "recruiting consultant" gets it on a college coach's radar.
  8. 3_Octave_Fart

    3_Octave_Fart Well-Known Member

    Which paper had the best preps coverage in the heyday of the 1990s and early 2000s, before the asteroid hit?
  9. lcjjdnh

    lcjjdnh Well-Known Member

    Fair enough—no inside knowledge and not a Record reader, so I trust your take above mine.
  10. SpeedTchr

    SpeedTchr Well-Known Member

    Dallas Morning News HS sections were dreamy.
  11. cjericho

    cjericho Well-Known Member

    Pretty sure there are some insiders here, would like to hear their input. Also think there's some from the S-L, at least there definitely used to be some from S-L, who posted. It's been over a decade since I was paid to write anything, so my view is just that of a consumer/reader. Guess part of it may be biased since most of the guys I know who covered preps at the S-L are no longer there.
  12. lcjjdnh

    lcjjdnh Well-Known Member

    And I should also add that I don’t even know the extent to which weeklies and Record overlap geographically—I used to live in town in core* Ledger coverage area with a Record-owned weekly. We got Ledger and weekly but not the Record—which I don’t think really covered our town at all.

    *Theoretically, but as you note Ledger tried to be the entire state’s paper of record.
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