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Standings in a weekly

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Smallpotatoes, Aug 26, 2006.

  1. Smallpotatoes

    Smallpotatoes Well-Known Member

    This afternoon I was talking to a reader who suggested, among other things, that my weeklies publish league standings for each sport.
    People have suggested it in the past and I've always resisted because I never felt it was worth the effort to chase down scores of games played between schools outside our coverage area (especially when you have your hands full just trying to get some acknowledgement of every team that you do cover every week). But if our readers seem to want it and it's something that would make my sections more informative, it might be worth a try.
    I asked the SE of one of the daily papers in our company that also covers several schools from the league that my schools are in if he ran standings. He said he didn't, noting that there were 15 different leagues in his paper's coverage area.
    Each league in this state does have league reps in each sport who send in standings to the two major metro papers each week, but some reps never send the standings to those papers and if they don't send them to the big guys, what are the chances I can get them to send standings to me?
    Another option, I don't know if it's kosher or not, would be copying the standings from the metro papers (especially the one that used to be owned by the same company as us until a few months ago). Would that be ethical?
  2. Tom Petty

    Tom Petty Guest

    hire another full-time reporter. i understand there are plenty of people looking for work.
  3. Trey Beamon

    Trey Beamon Active Member

    I began running district standings, and people seemed to like it (to clarify: I didn't get any complaints).

    Question about schedules: In the past we've ran weekly prep schedules along with scores of recently played games. Is this necessary at a weekly-type paper? I'd like to think most folks could care less about Friday's football scores six days after the fact.
  4. wickedwritah

    wickedwritah Guest

    If you wanted to copy them out of the metro, I think that easily would fall under the premise of fair use. They'd also likely be incorrect, since many of those league reps don't do a good job compiling stuff.

    What about a poll among the sports staffers? Top five in each sport in your coverage area or that conference or something? It's something that might get people talking.
  5. Chi City 81

    Chi City 81 Guest

    That's what we did when I was at a weekly. Better than week-old standings, IMHO.
  6. Smallpotatoes

    Smallpotatoes Well-Known Member

    For a weekly, how essential would be to have a list to scores of the previous week's games?
    That's another suggestion some people have made. A good idea, but what if you can't reach the coach and the score isn't on high school sports.net or in the daily?
    And before you say the AD should know, you'd be surprised how often he doesn't.
    The last thing you'd want if you do that is a long string of n/a's.
    Box scores are a good idea, too. There's no excuse for not having them if you're at the game, but if you have to get stuff over the phone, what do you do if the coach doesn't have the book?
  7. Mystery_Meat

    Mystery_Meat Guest

    I only do standings for football at my weekly shop. We're a mailed free daily, so that means there's a guaranteed two-day gap between the time I put the standings on a page and the time someone reads it. And by that point, everyone's played their Tuesday games, making the standings obsolete from the word go.

    I used to do a roundup from boxscores in the metro daily nearby, but I think that's more trouble than it's worth and don't intend to do that this season. My thought was that people who didn't read the daily or forgot a score might want to see it in our paper, but I've had no luck getting coaches to call/fax/e-mail/smoke signal their results to me, so hell with it.

    Everything (ideally) is going to be features, notebooks, trend stories and analysis, with football captured with a lot of photos and a recap. Everyone here reads the daily, and I don't know how much people care about last Friday's football game on a Wednesday, when they get our paper. Problem is, production day is Monday, so that affords me little time to do an advance of any depth.

  8. Smallpotatoes

    Smallpotatoes Well-Known Member

    There are two suburban dailies that cover the towns my weeklies are in, but for those papers, my towns are peripheral towns, where only a few papers are sold. Most of the people in these communities look at the weeklies as their main source of local sports news. How much does that affect your coverage strategy and the balance between features and game coverage, as well as the need to run standings/box scores/a scoreboard page?
    Once I told a reader that by the time we hit the streets, the games that were played are old news and most people already know what happened and saw the scores in the daily papers. He said that he travels a lot and doesn't get to read the dailies, so it's helpful for him to have a paper on Thursday that tells him everything that happened in the previous week. I wonder how many people are like that, or they don't get a daily paper or miss the daily paper on a given day.
    As I've said before, sometimes people ask me to publish the names of kids who made all-star teams in other papers. I always refuse. If you want to know how made the Big Paper's all-star team, buy the Big Paper. But maybe some readers don't subscribe to the Big Paper or they miss that edition.
  9. expendable

    expendable Well-Known Member

    At my twice-weekly shop, they care and care a lot.
  10. Mystery_Meat

    Mystery_Meat Guest

    SP: The chain of weeklies I work for have papers in areas where readers are very likely to regularly take the metro paper in town. So my trick is not to duplicate their coverage whenever possible, do things that a big paper isn't going to do (which doesn't mean weekly stories about you, Ms. You Know Who You Are).

    Expendable: I wish I was at a twice-weekly; at least then I could cover the game one issue and do preview stuff the next. But I'm at weeklies, so that's no good for me.
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