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Small paper, big beat?

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by mikebb13, Nov 17, 2006.

  1. mikebb13

    mikebb13 Member

    Does anyone on here work at a small daily (20,000 or less circulation) but cover a major sports team, pro or college, on a regular or semi-regular basis? If so, do you have any insights or tips or good stories?
  2. Precious Roy

    Precious Roy Active Member

    Go out into the community and see how many people in the town attend the games, I think you and the readers will be pleasantly surprised. Even follow a family through their routine before a game and see what kind of fan they are to come from a smaller town and trek to see the big team.

    This is all, of course, based on the assumption that the paper you work for is in a small town many miles outside the big city.
  3. Frank_Ridgeway

    Frank_Ridgeway Well-Known Member

    Work as if you are not on a small paper. I assume since the paper is willing to send you and devote space to it, there is interest in the team. Writing about locals going to the game does not fill that need, nor does it do your career any good. A larger paper is not going to care that your ass sat in a big-time pressbox, it will want to see how you covered the beat. Unless you are there every day, chances are you are not going to break stories, but you can try to keep up on the beat while coming up with enterprise every couple of weeks. If you try to localize the major beat, you will be wasting a great opportunity -- and you will be depriving your readers of what they really want to read.
  4. Appgrad05

    Appgrad05 Active Member

    What Frank said.

    I cover a NHL team on a regular basis. I treat it as my beat. I go to practice, I work the dressing room. I do everything I can to be an expert on that team and the NHL. The major metro has the advantage of traveling w/ the team and two writers whose job it is to cover that team. But in a year I've advanced from "Your paper has never covered the team before" to being one of the big boys.
  5. Precious Roy

    Precious Roy Active Member

    I never meant to say not to cover it like it you were big. In my situation, I cover an NHL team in the southeast from time to time. Many here wonder why we even cover the team because they think no one cares (higher-ups at this paper, for one). After reading that many readers actually go to the games, they changed that perception and I think I got a decent story out of the deal.

    But do cover the team like you are a big guy there, don't ever back down.
  6. scribeinwiscy

    scribeinwiscy Member

    Just being there doesn't make you one of the big boys, especially when you are a year or two out of college. I would argue hard work, enhancing your skills and being creative over a period of time would justify a "big boy" status. It's easy to misrepresent yourself when you are new(er) to the game.
  7. fishwrapper

    fishwrapper Active Member

    A little bit of advice:
    Show up. Show up in team gear. Cap. Jacket. Polo shirt. Boxers, if you got them.
    Every time YOUR team scores a point, knock or hit your work table three times. Just enough to be heard by your colleagues. Every time the opposition scores, let out a sigh and short hiss.
    First question you ask postgame: "How do you feel?" It nails them every time. You're almost guaranteed to not get the dreaded cliched response.
    Anything else I could help you with?
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