1. Welcome to SportsJournalists.com, a friendly forum for discussing all things sports and journalism.

    Your voice is missing! You will need to register for a free account to get access to the following site features:
    • Reply to discussions and create your own threads.
    • Access to private conversations with other members.
    • Fewer ads.

    We hope to see you as a part of our community soon!

Sports coverage, bad deadlines

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by sartrean, Sep 28, 2006.

  1. sartrean

    sartrean Member

    The big-city daily consumes us. I got a new deadline structure and we went up to thrice weekly publication.

    Monday deadline for Thursday issue

    Tuesday deadline for Saturday issue.

    Wednesday deadline for the next Tuesday issue.

    I've handled the football season with this screwed up deadline system. The big city daily that prints our paper allows a Saturday morning deadline for Tuesday's gamers and photos, but only one page out of a three-page sports section. I fill a page and half up with agate and/or features and a calendar/column on the Wednesday deadline.

    I'm open to ideas, please, please. Basketball and soccer season is coming up, followed by baseball and track. Those sports play usually on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday, and Monday and sometimes makeup games are done on Sundays. The biggest games, district games, are almost always on Thursdays and Tuesdays. District basketball tournaments will be on a Wednesday, Friday, Saturday format.

    And the big-city daily that now owns us covers Prep sports as well, and all of the 15 schools in my coverage area. They will cover the big games and sometimes the not so big games.

    What do I do for sports coverage with this deadline system? I'd rather write features than gamers any day, but when people see me at the games, they'll look in the next issue for the gamer. Already this has caused some Prep softball problems. They see me at a Monday game and when Thursday's paper comes out, I get the call "saw you at the game, where's the article and photos?" And it's already happened. I wrote a feature on a kid and he got hurt earlier in the week and is done forever. My feature, turned in like a week prior to press time, talked about how he's looking forward to the rest of the season after already throwing for 700 yards in three games. I got a bunch of calls on that, mostly from the kid and his coaches. No one reads features anyway, except for the sources quoted.

    I can't even write advancers on the other sports and give any pertinent info such as current team records, last game results, key injuries, etc. I'm already figuring I'll do the occaisional advance when easy to do. I'll do the gamer of the really huge game between coverage area rivals, regardless of how old it'll be when it's printed.

    But any suggestions on how to handle this are appreciated. Anybody else have an idea of what in the heck to do?

    And, my editor and I already went balls to the wall with the metro weeklies supervisor on this and all deadlines are firm, but they make exceptions for football because it sells ads. Other sports don't sell as many ads, they claim. I want to quit, but there's no other jobs I'm good at, and I've tried about everything. This deadline system is ruining what I know how to do. And I'm old, appraoching 40, and I feel like it's going to be a bitch to adapt.
  2. joe

    joe Active Member

    Yer fucked, keed. Time to punt.
  3. slappy4428

    slappy4428 Active Member

    Wednesday for the FOLLOWING Tuesday? Jebus H. Keyrist, Joe's right... You're two editions behind when football comes out?
    Polish the resume and start sending it out... that's just nuts
  4. Highway 101

    Highway 101 Active Member

    Cross your fingers. Look to the heavens. Rub your rabbit's foot. Look for a four-leaved clover.

    I have sympathy for you.

    A quick thought off the top of my head is to think of your section more of a magazine than a newspaper. So, take a new perspective. This may be an opportunity to crazy creative, especially with design.
  5. slappy4428

    slappy4428 Active Member

    Don't know highway... you've got three straight days of copy deadline, so you really dont have a breather to think about the third edition.
    Creative is one thing; having time to do it is another.
  6. jfs1000

    jfs1000 Member

    Don't be too worried. Relax. What you have to do is be different. It is an excellent opportunity to stand out.

    You can't cover games and teams live. That's stupid. And people do read features if they are good. I don't think people read gamers. How boring. NEVER WRITE PLAY-BY-PLAY in this deadline format.

    What you should concentrate on writing is timeless pieces. Try writing something a little more eloquent. Go odd ball and different.

    Why don't you see if you can follow one hoops team around for the season. Try and write a diary for them. Maybe coach would let you in the locker room. Stuff like that is something a daily can't do.
  7. jfs1000

    jfs1000 Member

    That Tuesday edition is ridiculous. I would just put all features in there. Nothing that is dated.

    This may be the worst newspaper structure I have ever heard of.
  8. slappy4428

    slappy4428 Active Member

    Noble idea, but when do you do things like that when the first three days are tied up in layout, planning and execution...
  9. jfs1000

    jfs1000 Member

    I guess you're right. But I gotta believe that there is something the poor guy can do to make his stuff interesting. What a garbage deadline.
  10. Mystery_Meat

    Mystery_Meat Guest

    Wait, so if they have a deadline every day, then at some point couldn't they be like three months ahead of schedule? That'd be an idea, work your ass off for a month and then take the next three off while your terrible and hopelessly out-of-date sections hit the streets. Gives you lots of time to gtfo.
  11. slappy4428

    slappy4428 Active Member

    All features could be best, but try running a mailbag in one edition specifically geared toward what you are missing. Then you could explain in the editor's note and watch the hilarity ensue with the higherups...
  12. HejiraHenry

    HejiraHenry Well-Known Member

    Wow. That is a hell of a technical challenge.

    First, you have to quit worrying about what people think about you. That'll make you nuts.

    I'd preview the hell out of the weekend in Thursday's paper.

    Otherwise, I'd quit worrying about games altogether. Do features. Do Q&A's. Do trend pieces. Spend a day (and in your case, it could be a Friday) with an athlete or coach and document that.

    Quit worrying about the middle. Mix long-form pieces with a lot of lookahead stuff. Let the daily haul the water on what happened last night. It's not like you really have any choice.

    Highway 101 has the right idea. But you're going to have to marshal your energies real carefully to make it work.
Draft saved Draft deleted

Share This Page