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Segmented Gamers

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by ChipSouza, Jul 16, 2013.

  1. ChipSouza

    ChipSouza Member

    We are strongly considering revamping the way we report prep gamers. We are looking at doing them in a more segmented style with a 150-word lede, then adding quick-hitting nuggets/notes/numbers/etc. Trying to decide whether to do quotes in the lede, or maybe as a quoteboard. We'd add a scoring summary at the end for a 12-15" game report.

    The pros
    Quicker turn after the game
    Less play-by-play
    More names in the story (In the notes segment. Example, if a punter downs three kicks inside the opponent's 10, that might not get worked into a conventional 12-15" gamer. We'd have that in the notes)
    Makes for a quicker read

    The cons
    Hard to get a lot of detail in 150-word lede
    Will readers revolt if we don't mention little Lonny Bob's key third down reception that kept the drive alive?

    Has anyone done gamers like this? Does it work? Do you have any examples you'd like to share?

    We have a Double-A team that we cover in this manner now and we have had zero complaints and the gamers are filed 15-20 minutes after the game ends. For the preps, we will come back with a much more detailed follow in the next day's edition.

    We're trying to get out of the old standard and attempt some new approaches (not sure this is very new). I'm almost to the point where gamers are very old news when I pick up my paper from the shrubs in the morning. Most people who care were at the game, or watched it streamed live, or followed it on Twitter.

    I'd be interested to see what you think. We are always looking to go outside the box when we can, so hit me with your thoughts and suggestions.
  2. BDC99

    BDC99 Well-Known Member

    I think this is a very good idea. We have a lot of schools to cover, so we do very short gamers on all but a few key games. You can easily get all the nuts and bolts of what happened in the game in a short summary lede. Then if Little Lonny Bob's reception really was a key reception, that could be one of the highlights/key plays. Then have a few other categories like key stat, player of the game, notable, whatever. Play-by-play from a prep game sucks.

    I'd go with something like this, off the top of my head:

    150 words summarizing how it all went down, with the winning drive, the play that turned it around whatever.





    And maybe another category or two to get a few more names in. Should work well if you do it right.
  3. SnarkShark

    SnarkShark Well-Known Member

    I wouldn't like it as a reader, but I'm not your audience.

    If you think this is what your audience wants, go for it.
  4. BDC99

    BDC99 Well-Known Member

    Why? It's much easier to read something like this than to read a 15-inch game story. As long as all the pertinent info is there, why would you not like this?
  5. SnarkShark

    SnarkShark Well-Known Member

    Because I'm a writer and I'd rather read good writing than bullet points.
  6. Here me roar

    Here me roar Guest

    We do something similar with our secondary games. Meh. It is quicker and probably is a better fit online. People who read the paper want to read the paper.
  7. BDC99

    BDC99 Well-Known Member

    Well, most of our readers are not writers. And it is a short-attention-span world we're living in. Sounds like a good idea to me. I want to read a good story about a local kid or a nice preview of the game. But the game itself? I do not want to read running play-by-play of a high school game, and I don't think the average reader does either. Good stories can still be told in the paper. A live game generally does not produce those stories.
  8. SnarkShark

    SnarkShark Well-Known Member

    Well, if you think a normal gamer is running play-by-play, then you're reading bad writing. A game story can and should be a good read.
  9. H.L. Mencken

    H.L. Mencken Member

    Like the idea now, would probably like less 20 years ago when I was young and first starting out and using high school gamers to learn how to write. I think something is lost when you don't learn those fundamentals (of tight storytelling) but its different world now, and you may not have young writers to train anymore. That may be the least of your concerns.
  10. BDC99

    BDC99 Well-Known Member

    Young writers can still learn how to write by doing features and advances. Covering a gamer for a young writer to me is more about keeping the stats and figuring out what is the most important moments of the game and boiling it down. This format would still provide that.
  11. SnarkShark

    SnarkShark Well-Known Member

    Kinda baffled why you think there is more value in a preview than the actual story on an event/game.
  12. SnarkShark

    SnarkShark Well-Known Member

    Here's how you solve this.

    You can run the bullet-point package in print, then tease full stories available online. Allows both to work. Those that care can go online to read full stories.
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