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Spring sports madness

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by aztarheel, Jan 25, 2012.

  1. aztarheel

    aztarheel New Member

    We do a special magazine to preview football and basketball seasons in our little rural region where high school sports are pretty big (18 high schools, two conferences), and those have gone over well the past two years.

    I made the (foolish) decision to commit to a spring sports preview magazine, without thinking through the logistics of this (18 schools x six different spring sports). Just wondering the best way to pull this off in what likely will be a 48-page magazine (maybe 64 if ad sales go better than expected). What was I thinking?!?!

    We've sent off (the dreaded) coach's questionnaires to get basic information, schedules and rosters. There will always be the 20 percent who don't respond even or drag their feet. Just wondering the best way to cover a vast subject in a small amount of space (and shrinking amount of time). Thanks!
  2. Sounds like there's no pretty way to do this. Assuming you get the 48-page section, I think that makes about 2.5 pages per school. I would do a one-page athlete profile for each school (just pick the most intriguing story regardless of sport for each school) and then use a page and half for rosters and schedules for all six teams. If you can fit it, maybe a notebook with a brief note on each of the five teams not covered with the profile.

    Still, that's 18 one-page profile stories. That's a lot of work.

    On the other hand, you could just put team pictures with rosters and schedule and maybe a short story for each sport. That way you'd get six stories and fill up most of it with scrapbook material and schedules.
  3. flexmaster33

    flexmaster33 Active Member

    I go with the team photos/rosters/schedules route...then take each league and give some sort of season preview depending on space and such. Teams don't submit a photo, then no photo runs for that team. The ad people and parents seem to love the team photo gunk, so just go with it and keep it off your traditional pages.

    Best and least painful way to do this.
  4. HanSenSE

    HanSenSE Well-Known Member

    Are any of the school in the same conference? Is a feature on a top returning player, then putting everything else in capsules, an option?
  5. Tarheel316

    Tarheel316 Well-Known Member

    I'd be thrilled if I got an 80 percent response rate when i do springs sports previews.
  6. NoOneLikesUs

    NoOneLikesUs Active Member

    Don't ever do this.
  7. Ace

    Ace Well-Known Member

    You in the South?

    Make it a spring football practice preview and lop out all the seniors.

  8. TheHacker

    TheHacker Member

    You guys must have one seriously bad-ass ad sales department if they can sell a spring sports special section in a "little rural region." My place is most definitely not in a little rural region, and our ad people can't sell shit even for football and basketball sections.

    I agree with flexmaster ... I think previews that show people a league-wide picture are helpful, especially with that many schools. If your coverage area was really small, then you could do full blowouts on every team. Go league-by-league, and use short blocks of copy ... capsules that are easy for readers to digest. Use rosters and schedules if you can get them ... schedules should be easy, but if your schools are anything like ours, the rosters are probably a pipe dream.

    Maybe kill a page with a "players to watch." We did this for football. We picked a top 10 players to watch with a photo and a short blurb on each one of them. Page looked great. We'll definitely do that again.
  9. Good advice from Hacker. League previews allow you to address each school's chances. Players to watch focuses on the top individuals, regardless of school; done in bullet form, you don't have to go into a lot of detail, but it gets a lot of names in there. Maybe highlight one athlete in each sport, if you have the time and manpower for a longer feature. It can just be the top to the players to watch, also.

    Schedules are OK, if you have space. Forget rosters. Too time-consuming, you won't get them all, and you'll chase around in a futile effort to get the track roster from a school with teams that aren't that good to begin with.

    Oh, and photos from last season, if you have any of returning athletes.

    Our HS editor pulls this off every season, and it's a big hit. Everybody looks forward to it, because for a lot of sports it's their only big mention.

    Good luck. Let us know how it turns out.
  10. fossywriter8

    fossywriter8 Active Member

    The daily I work part-time for covers 13 high schools.
    We do info capsules on each team with a pic, plus schedules and a feature story.
    The weekly I work full-time for covers eight high schools (six are covered by the daily above).
    The teams for the two in-town schools each get a bylined preview. The teams from the other six schools get info capsules. We run team pics for everyone, including JV teams if they have one. There's also a feature story and schedules.
  11. flexmaster33

    flexmaster33 Active Member

    Yes, keeping an extensive archive that goes back a full 12 months is very useful...being able to dig back into a full stock of previous season photos.
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