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Question for guys at weeklies

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Voodoo Chile, Oct 4, 2009.

  1. Voodoo Chile

    Voodoo Chile Member

    After being laid off by a Gannett paper last April, I am finally coming off the sidelines, albeit at the same weekly where I started my career 16 years ago.
    My question is for those who are currently at weeklies, how do you guys cover sports, particularly at papers that cover schools that are not covered by any dailies?
    This paper I'm going back to is actually two separate weeklies, which cover two high schools each. The paper has generally done a gamer type story on every team at each school every week, which in the fall is seven sports at each school.
    Is there anyone out there in a similar situation, and how do you handle sports?
  2. Baron Scicluna

    Baron Scicluna Well-Known Member

    I would say, and I've seen others on here post this advice as well, not to focus so much on the game that the team played, and focus more on looking ahead to the following week.
  3. Hank_Scorpio

    Hank_Scorpio Active Member

    More features, especially after a player had a great week.

    Maybe do a short breakout box with every result for the week and a quick highlight for each team since it's fairly old news by the time it gets in the readers hands.
  4. John

    John Well-Known Member

    Use the Web (if they have sites) for your gamers and do features and advances in print, with a roundup of the previous week's games.
  5. Sneed

    Sneed Guest

    Pretty much what I did while working as sports editor for a weekly that sounds very similar to your situation. Either that, or had much more feature-y gamers with bye weeks coming up or no good features to put in there.
  6. HanSenSE

    HanSenSE Well-Known Member

    I started at a weekly, but also filed Friday night gamers for our daily mother paper. I would send a copy of that story back to my office and use it for the back end of my weekly story. Up front I'd throw in a few notes on the upcoming game, follow on any injuries or odd situations and other situations that have been covered.

    Depending on your news hole, it's also a chance to show the JV and freshman teams a little love too. And there's always that bowling and slow pitch softball agate!
  7. txsportsscribe

    txsportsscribe Active Member

    for those who always push more features over game stories at weeklies, have you ever been at weekly and done this? every time i've seen it done, the readers overwhelmingly say they'd rather have a gamer, even a week old gamer.
  8. Rosie

    Rosie Active Member

    As a former weekly SE, I used to do a synopsis of the previous week's games - depended a lot on a great relationship with the coaches for info, and features. Lots of pictures, too. That weekly was small, so I had very little room. I tried to make the most of what space I had.
  9. Voodoo Chile

    Voodoo Chile Member

    That's the reason I asked the question. The people I talk to at other dailies around here tell me how they would do sports there, but they've never been to a weekly and don't know how a weekly works.
  10. Stitch

    Stitch Active Member

    It comes down to what the readers want. If they want gamers, they should get gamers.
  11. WolvEagle

    WolvEagle Active Member

    I've been at the same family of weeklies for more than 20 years, mostly in sports, though I'm in news now.

    People want gamers. But, you can make the gamers much more relevant and interesting by not only looking at the week that was, but looking at how the team fits into its league/conference/division race and looking at the week ahead. That cuts down on the mundane play-by-play, though you still have to have some.

    Get out to as many events as you can. Yes, it's easy to get to the football and basketball games, but the so-called "minor" sports' coaches, athletes and parents really appreciate seeing you, too. By putting forth that extra effort, you'll get much more cooperation. The coach will call you back during your weekly check-in if he/she knows who you are and that you care. That makes for a better overall product.

    And, hey, it beats sitting in an office, no? Going to a 4 p.m. swim meet, then a 7 p.m. basketball game isn't a bad way to spend your time.

    One other piece of advice that's a pet peeve: When a weekly lists what a team's events are for the coming week, but doesn't list start times or venues, if it's an off-campus event, like cross country, golf, hockey, bowling (I'm sure I'm forgetting something) usually are. Taking a few seconds to put the time/venue in is something the readers appreciate. Trust me on that one.

    In a gamer, don't forget to mention the venue like a cross country course or a golf course. If you shoot at 40 at a country club, it's a lot different than a 40 at a compact muni. And, different CC courses produce different times, too.

    Hope that helps.
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