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The age old question -- to cover cheerleading or not?

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by bigpern23, Jan 8, 2008.

  1. bigpern23

    bigpern23 Well-Known Member

    So I got a voicemail from the local cheerleading coach the other day, requesting coverage for their first competition of the season.

    I had a feeling this call would come again sooner or later. Unfortunately, the reason I figured it would come is that our state association decided to recognize it as a varsity sport, thus spoiling my previous reasoning for not covering it.

    Personally, I don't believe cheerleading is a sport, nor do I believe it appeals to many of my readers outside of the especially perky and the especially pervy.

    However, it's also hard to simply say, "I don't think it's a sport, I won't cover it," when the state's governing body recognizes it as one. I think it would be like saying the same thing about any of the other sports I dislike covering.

    Ideally, I'd like to ignore it completely. However, the fact that it's now a varsity sport makes that much more difficult.

    I know my competition will be there, but that's not really weighing into my decision. They will like that paper more, but I doubt I'd be losing a ton of readers over missing out on cheerleading (especially when there's only something like five teams in the state to begin with).

    I'm contemplating sending a photog to the meet (match? meet? game? tilt? I don't fucking know) and letting her submit results. Maybe do a feature and/or cover the state championship meet (God, I feel dirty just typing that).

    However, I fear opening the can of worms we're all familiar with ... a little coverage is never enough. You give them one article, they want two. You give them the inside page they want the front. You get the idea.

    So the question I put forth then, would I be doing my readers a disservice by not covering this team the way I would any other varsity sport? Would I be doing them a disservice by reducing coverage of other sports to give cheerleading coverage? Can I legitimately ignore them, or am I letting my feelings for competitive cheerleading cloud my editorial judgment?

    This sucks. I liked being able to say, "Sorry, it's not recognized as a varsity sport by anyone else either."
  2. awriter

    awriter Active Member

    The age old answer: No. No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no.
  3. KYSportsWriter

    KYSportsWriter Well-Known Member

    No. A thousand times no.
  4. mike311gd

    mike311gd Active Member

    I don't think you'd be doing the readers a disservice. In order to cover a cheerleading event, you'd have to cut back coverage on another sport, correct? I would imagine more of your readership will want to read the basketball or wrestling story than a cheerleading story.
  5. KYSportsWriter

    KYSportsWriter Well-Known Member

    There's a hierarchy to this., at least in our area, this time of year: 1. Basketball; 2. Wrestling; 3. Everything else.
  6. forever_town

    forever_town Well-Known Member

    I would simply remind readers that you have limited space and that is allocated to all varsity sports. Now, cheerleading included.

    Just hope you don't have a crotchety old publisher who barges into your office screaming that your competition has a story on cheerleading that you don't have.
  7. Pete Incaviglia

    Pete Incaviglia Active Member

    In a word: No.

    P.S. "especially pervy" is an awesome term.
  8. mike311gd

    mike311gd Active Member

    Or a publisher whose daughter is on the squad.
  9. HejiraHenry

    HejiraHenry Well-Known Member

    I'm going to argue that it belongs in the paper. I'm not going to argue, though, that it belongs in sports. It's an activity, not a sport.

    Just like other high school activities that are probably sanctioned in your state – debate, perhaps; in our state, band/choral and cheer/dance are sanctioned, right along with football and the rest – there should be a place in the paper to give some attention to these kids.

    I'd try to peddle it to the "life" section or even to your regional/local news second front or whatnot. But I would not reflexively reject the notion that it belongs in the paper.
  10. Colton

    Colton Active Member

  11. FishHack76

    FishHack76 Active Member

  12. Um, let me think about this one . . .

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