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The future of agate

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by luckyducky, Dec 18, 2006.

  1. luckyducky

    luckyducky Guest

    Ok, so I searched for another thread in hopes of not D_Bing this topic, but I couldn't find anything...

    So can we discuss the future of agate? Primarily, the siphoning out of the agate duties to writers and desk folks. I can't think of a single major metro that would consider getting rid of it or at least modifying it...as in, who takes it, if there's an "agate person" to do that page, etc. Along those lines, how many major metros have prep writers taking the calls every night instead of being out covering games and/or the desk guys doing their own boxes for the NFL page or MLB page. Smaller papers do all the time, I realize...but 100k-plus circulation papers? Since when?


    A 100k-circ paper with about 70 high schools, two FT prep people and a handful of stringers. (A small prep staff to begin with. imho...). I'd be interested to see the revolt when suddenly games don't get covered anymore because the two FT prep folks are in the office every evening, answering calls and writing roundups.

    Thoughts? STFUs?
  2. BillySixty

    BillySixty Member

    As long as the photographers are out shooting the games and not taking the agate, I don't think anyone will really notice.
  3. shotglass

    shotglass Guest

    We've had a full-time agate man at our 100K my entire career. And I don't see any chance of that changing for a long, long time. It's often the job of choice for those who are winding down toward the end of their career.

    Any chances of the job winding up in the hands of a "clerk" pretty much ended when the pagination of agate began. There's enough specialized skill in that, that it's an editor's job.
  4. Frank_Ridgeway

    Frank_Ridgeway Well-Known Member

    On my first full-time job I would cover an afternoon game and then answer phones while I was writing the gamer, a couple of roundups and usually a short feature, too. We had two FT preps writers and two PT, and it was rare for more than one of us to cover a night event on any given night. I found that working the phones had me more connected than writers from competing papers who didn't have to work the phones. I talked to most coaches on a regular basis, and even though I didn't meet many of them, I had better sources than competing writers did. All of this did no lasting good for my career because basically I was a writing machine who churned out about 60 inches of copy per night. But I don't think having preps writers work the phones is a bad thing for the paper or the schools.
  5. shotglass

    shotglass Guest

    Oh, I thought he meant the actual job of agate editor. My bad.
  6. luckyducky

    luckyducky Guest

    A little of both, shot.
  7. wickedwritah

    wickedwritah Guest

    Ironically, agate would appear to be the one thing that could be cut in the Information Superhighway age, yet it's one of the most read things in the paper -- the sacred cow that's hard to change, too, since everything's been done the same way for so long.

    At my college paper, there was much debate about chopping out the (small) agate page we had. IMO, our problem was that we were running way too much wire crap that you could find in the cross-town daily.
  8. leo1

    leo1 Active Member

    wicked, i'd think that in the online era we'd actually want more agate although i can see where it may eventually go online instead of in the paper. whereas you might not have been able to get all the agate in the paper in the past, surely there's some demand for agate from every volleyball, gymnastics and swim meet.

    otoh, local agate is something papers could eventually charge for because no one else will the have podunk high-pudonk high swim meet agate.

    i, for one, love to read box scores on line but i'm kind of a dork that way.
  9. wickedwritah

    wickedwritah Guest

    Agate is akin to obituaries -- sports geeks usually check out the scoreboard pretty quickly, older folk pick up the paper to see if Melma passed.
  10. NoOneLikesUs

    NoOneLikesUs Active Member

    I happen to think in this Internet age, most prep/local agate will be delivered to the paper in a more standard form. Say for instance, your newspaper gets a box score generator page that a local coach/stat person enters stats into. The box is converted into your style and eliminates data entry, phone work by desk personel.

    Or on a simpler level, the box score or agate is delivered to you in the appropriate AP style (or whatever your paper uses) in a digital format. I deal with some wrestling meets which do this now. There's no reason people reporting stats or results can't follow a template. Track meets often report huge amounts of results, yet it often needs to be re-entered by a desk person. Why can't the meet software convert that into a style newspapers can use? My thinking is it will happen eventually.
  11. dixiehack

    dixiehack Well-Known Member

    What? And outsource Vicki, the post-menopausal librarian with the basketball scorebook, the No. 2 pencil, and the fuck-off death stare when you ask for first names because she was too lazy to write them in?
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