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Summer enterprise

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by JayFarrar, Jun 4, 2008.

  1. JayFarrar

    JayFarrar Well-Known Member

    Trying to come up with a summer enterprise budget.
    Any suggestions on topics?
    Have minor league baseball and some form of indoor football. Not that I pay it much attention.
    Doesn't have to be sports, so much, because we try to have a news peg to run on 1A and then spread the coverage out inside.
    Like one is the upcoming heat.
    So the 1A would be an overview and a city government story on what Parks and Recs will do.
    One side might be city workers out in the heat. Then another side might be a sportsy feature on Little League umps, the ones who call five games a day and lose 10 pounds a day in sweat or maybe something on the baseball team. Then tips on how to beat the heat and what you can do if you need assistance.
  2. three_bags_full

    three_bags_full Well-Known Member

    Baseball superstitions?

    No sitting on the bucket, don't step on the line, etc.?
  3. Babs

    Babs Member

    I always want to see more long-term viewpoints in enterprise stories. We get so caught up with today, this week, that we don't look at things in a long-term perspective.
  4. BrianGriffin

    BrianGriffin Active Member

    Something that always works for me is asking the question "What's wrong with...(pick your topic)?" and going from there.

    It's not as cynical as it appears with the initial question. There's usually some aspect of your community's sports culture that's woefully lacking beyond what one would think considering the area you are in (so this excludes a subject like "Why doesn't Miami produce hockey players?"). Summer is a great time to really wrap you arms around these kinds of subjects and the cool thing is if you do it right, you can not only point out problems, you can also explore solutions that might even be of a service to your community.

    For example, I set out on a story a few years ago on the decline of participation in local American Legion baseball. Starting with the question, "What's wrong with Legion?" I wound up with a multi-part series with stories about the rise of select ball and its exceedingly high cost for participants, the decline of interest in baseball in the black community, a feature on how the old legionnaires were trying to hang on, a feature on the old American Legion ballpark that was deteriorating, a story on a high school coach who was discouraging his players from playing select ball and a story on how people envisioned player development in the future. I think it was decent reading.

    This summer, I've been trying to get into our local basketball culture to explore the reasons why our city of about 100k people hasn't produced an NBA player in more than 30 years. Asking the question "Why aren't we producing basketball players?" opens a floodgate of story angles, from the lack of competitive summer leagues to the community's tendency to give local stars adulation to a fault.

    Other questions that are relevant in my community (don't know about yours), but just throwing out the ideas:
    * Why do people in town A (in our circulation) pass obscene taxes for parks and recreations and wind up with things like artificial turf softball fields, a publicly-owned water park and, in general, the best recreation facilities in the state, while the bigger and, seemingly, more resourceful town next door can barely keep the grass mowed on its little league fields?
    * Why is track and field in our state struggling compared to the neighbor state?
    * Our local indoor football team dominates the shit out of their little league and they draw well as a result. Is it time for them to look for new league affiliation. And if so, in what league?

    The point of all this is, at least theoretically, summer should give you the time to give justice to these kind of big-picture issues.

    Of course, that's unless you're in a situation like my paper is in where we try to stuff virtually all of our vacations between now and early August when the football teams start showing up for camp. We usually wind up with large chunks of summer where we have barely enough bodies to get a slot and an agate guy every day of the week, much less have people left to cover events and do enterprise...

    But it can be done.
  5. Twirling Time

    Twirling Time Well-Known Member

    I did one on helmet stickers a couple of years ago. I noticed one of our local schools had a trademark symbol on theirs, and that started me on a nice long piece about high-school licensing of logos.
  6. Ace

    Ace Well-Known Member

    Story you could work on this summer and maybe run late is how much it costs to participate in certain high school sports like football, baseball, volleyball, whatever. And how much of your time they demand/ask through the year.

    For example, a good local high school baseball team has a summer league team they expect players to be on. They have a fall team for players. They have conditioning every day over the winter.

    That all costs money, including perhaps a temporary gym membership. They also ask parents/kids to raise money by working concessions, working one day a week at bingo or something, selling raffle tickets, whatever.

    If you added it all up, it would be a lot.

    At the same school they first thing they do before the season is hold a "mandatory" meeting with parents to discuss all the money they need to raise for field improvements and such.
  7. TheHacker

    TheHacker Member

    Agree with Ace and Brian ... money stories and "what's wrong with ..." stories always work. Also check and see if there are new rules/regulations governing high school sports in your state. Most of the time these get enacted over the summer and kick in with the new school year.

    But here's a thing that's so simple and it seems like nobody thinks to do it: Get on the phone and BS with people about what's on their minds. Call your coaches and ADs and see what's going on. Just the simple act of calling and BSing with them should lead you to all sorts of story ideas. It may not all be big-time enterprise material, but it's probably stuff that's useful. And you're likely to score some points with them for calling them just to BS and not because you're chasing some story and need a quote.
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