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Taxpayers deserve JV coverage.

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by doctorx, Oct 1, 2009.

  1. doctorx

    doctorx Member

    Greeted one day by a voice mail left at 8:06 a.m. from screaming JV football mother, bellyaching that tiny Christian school varsity team gets too much coverage while public-school JV teams are snubbed. That was the gist of it; I deleted the voice mail in mid-rant.

    Husband is a serial complainer who is forever trying to get this school official or that thrown out. (Also wants us to be rid of our publisher and editor) He points out that paper accepts several thousand dollars in advertising (mostly legal) from taxpayer-supported school system and therefore has an obligation to cover junior varsity teams. He does get the point that it's all we can do to keep track of various varsity sports and can't staff the games, but goes straight to superintendent and demands that he direct JV coaches to call in. (Their kid was starting QB for first two JV games.)

    Best part is that JV team finally calls in after not having called on first two games -- and the kid loses starting job to demoted varsity backup, so he doesn't get his name in the paper after all.

    Anyhoo, anyone ever had a parent try this angle?
  2. RickStain

    RickStain Well-Known Member

    No, but I wish they would. I'm in a foul mood, and when that happens, I enjoy a good argument with an idiot.
  3. Smallpotatoes

    Smallpotatoes Well-Known Member

    A few years ago, somebody sent in a team photo of some youth cheerleaders who went to some national competition.
    The photo was so bad I couldn't even see the kids' faces. If the faces aren't visible, what's the point of running the photo, I figured.
    The guy calls and asks why it hasn't been published and I tell him. He says another paper ran it, get it from them. Before he hangs up, he says he pays a lot of taxes in the town.
    I just shook my head and bid him farewell.
    Then I asked the SE of the other paper about the photo and he said, yeah, it was bad and he couldn't see the kids faces, but he ran it anyway.
    Eventually, I relented. No sense in having some guy in town bad-mouthing the paper (and my boss told me I had to run it).
    I guess the only people who care about the photo are either in it or have a kid in it and they already know what their faces look like.
  4. Cosmo

    Cosmo Well-Known Member

    Some of these parents need to be fucking bludgeoned.
  5. doggieseatdoggies

    doggieseatdoggies New Member

    To hell with JV... I had an area varsity team HAVE to play another JV and beat the hell out of them so a JV mom calls and says "It's typical for the Daily Blab to go out and cover a game when they're playing a VARSITY team." Otherwise, we ignore them. The varsity coach was almost apologetic for being put in this position and promised the two-year reign of hell was over..no more JV scheduling issues.

    That out of the way I'll top anything JV.

    A second-grader's dad sent me this congenial email talking about the success of the WhipperSnapper Red Team which was the only undefeated team from our local league as they play throughout the region. "They really work hard and these coaches volunteer their time and I bet they'd really get a thrill out of seeing their names up there with those high school kids. They practice from 5-6:30 at the Bumpdille Elementary. Come on out and interview some of these kids. I'll help you in any way I can."

    I said thanks for the warm invitation and I'd get to it in about 10 years.
  6. Liut

    Liut Well-Known Member

    I always encourage JV phone-ins and e-mails.

    Insofar as the second-grade team, looks like a solid feature story to me. The tykes are in first place and travel to play other teams. The father was willing to make it easier by the arrangements.

    Might be opening a can of worms from the other locals wanting coverage, but you establish contacts.

    Look, I've blown off folks like this before, too, and I regret it. Youth sports can be news, IMHO.
  7. Baron Scicluna

    Baron Scicluna Well-Known Member

    Youth sports can be news. Problem is, there are only 24 hours in a day, and (supposedly), a sports journalist is only supposed to work 40 hours a week unless they (supposedly) get paid for OT. Something's gotta give.

    There has to be a major reason to give coverage to a second-grade team besides being in first place (unless you are a really small hyperlocal paper). Are they winning because a sick teammate is in the hospital (cliche, I know) or something like that? You don't just write something to put a bunch of names in the paper (unless, as I said, your paper is really small). If that's all they want, let them submit a photo and a brief write-up themselves.

    You have to give the readers who don't have kids on the team or any stake in it, to borrow a phrase from Moddy, something to read.

    Otherwise, you'll be swamped by every youth parent around. And I'm sure the second graders will be quite quotable too.
  8. Liut

    Liut Well-Known Member

    There are many, many small hyperlocal papers out there that would, or should, look into a story like the second-grade team, especially in the summer. The news hook is the team is in first place and travels to play out-of-league competition.

    I can relate to the other excuses, and have used them as I'm sure most of us have.
  9. Stitch

    Stitch Active Member

    I'm sure the town cares about the second-grade football team. Might as well cover each church picnic as well.
  10. doggieseatdoggies

    doggieseatdoggies New Member

    No that's not a news hook. All the teams in that league play that schedule. It's a 25,000 daily, so elementary age football is not a priority. We run the scores every weekend. That's it.

    I did some handicap kid plays baseball story one summer in the dead period and I had five parents call including one who said her son is severe ADHD and plays ball. They're out of control and if you let one out of the cage, you'll pay.

    And Stitch, you have a point. 100 people at the church picnic, 15 on the football team, two parents each. That's 45 people. Let's cover the church picnic.
  11. bmm

    bmm Member

    I encourage submissions from the community on league titles in the lower ranks (like JV, junior high, etc.) and stuff like that, but I really have no time to cover that, especially in the fall and spring. I have five schools and, except for football, have to write, shoot and build pages myself. Then comes the "free" time I give over the weekend to the paper. Just not enough time for JV, freshmen, etc. in fall and spring. In winter, we'll tack on a graph at the end of the high school story with the JV result and the top two or three scorers for basketball. We have more time with less sports.
  12. Liut

    Liut Well-Known Member

    News hook at a 25,000 daily? No. At a smaller paper? Yes.

    Always good to blow off readership, in a large market or small community.
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