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the growth of local-local

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by PaperDoll, Oct 17, 2007.

  1. PaperDoll

    PaperDoll Well-Known Member

    Gannett has purchased HighSchoolSports.net, a website that allows high schools to enter their schedules, and also links to related game results, stories, photos, video, etc.

    Do you think that's a positive sign in the age of cutbacks and sell-offs? Or is it just a way to get even more local content with a smaller staff?
  2. My paper is trying something like this right now. It's failing miserably. Supposedly user-generated to cut out our end of the grunt work, but two of 25 football coaches have ever uploaded anything. We've had to do it all. It also doesn't help that there's MaxPreps and a state-wide independent site to compete with.
  3. Update: Our site has been hacked a few times to post false scores. Naturally, the most paranoid of the coaches have accused us of conspiring against them and the players. Yes, coach. I have nothing better to do with my life than post false scores on a Web site to discourage your team.
  4. 2underpar

    2underpar Active Member

    we can hardly get coaches to fax in schedules and rosters, let alone encourage them to post them online. I'm not even sure most of them can even open their email, if they have it.
  5. We used to use a program called Preps Factory, where we would input stats. I guess it's good for if you have four or five high schools, but when you had 40 to worry about like we did, that was a bitch.

    Three-quarters of coaches wouldn't do that anyway if you had them do it, such as maxpreps.
  6. Walter Burns

    Walter Burns Member

    Oh, I hate PrepsFactory with the white-hot fury of a thousand suns. We're using it now, and the start up is killing me.
    That said, I have a problem with local-local coverage, in that we're essentially saying that nobody reads the paper for wire news, and we're going to drive away anyone that does.
    Of course, at a Gannett paper, this makes me a voice in the wilderness.
  7. TheHacker

    TheHacker Member

    There are a bunch of these kinds of sites popping up. It's sort of interesting how many major media companies are jumping into prep sports. This one was Gannett, but Sports Illustrated has Takkle.com, Maxpreps is a CBSSports.com thing, Yahoo has Rivals. Two TV station chains, Belo and Hearst-Argyle, have sites like this too. Apparently they all heard "hyper-local" was in this year and jumped on the bandwagon. The problem is who's really using this stuff or reading it? But nobody seems to think about that.

    Like others have said, we can't get the coaches to send in rosters and stats at my place, much less go out of their way to do anything beyond that. We cover about 30 high schools at my place and we have three or four coaches using Maxpreps to enter their stats and it works like a freakin' charm. They enter everything and click one button and it e-mails us a full stat report on every game. I just wish we could get the rest of them to do it.
  8. silentbob

    silentbob Member

    It's a fine idea.

    Don't see a downside to it at all.

    But I do find the phrase amusing.

    No, it's not Local.

    It's local-local.

    And in a few years newspapers will be local-local-local.

    And a few years after that coverage will be local to the fourth power.
  9. Frank_Ridgeway

    Frank_Ridgeway Well-Known Member

    In fact we will localize house by house. Every day's issue will be like those letters tucked into Christmas cards. It will be all about you. And your dog, Spot.
  10. We have 25 football teams, and only one posts its own information. Management wanted me to do it if the coaches wouldn't, then I wasted a whole shift updating stats. Needless to say, they didn't like the "lack" of output on my beat. In other words, it was a shift without a byline. I don't have to post stats anymore, but I put up the scores.

    I think the biggest issue is that there are far too many stats for football. Too time consuming for people who barely want to call a box in to begin with. Now, basketball ... I could see more use because at minimum, it's points or shooting percentage. Maybe work in rebounding average, free-throw shooting, but it's still far less to do than football.

    Of course, a rival company from the next market over is moving in. That site features user-uploaded photos and video, like a myspace or youtube, and it gets a ton of content from our district. Naturally, my warnings have fallen on deaf ears.
  11. StaggerLee

    StaggerLee Active Member

    To the other people using Preps Factory, you have my deepest sympathy. I hate that with the utmost passion. It never works as intended and has screwed up our stats for two years now.

    Anyway, when the idea of local-local struck back in the day, our publisher and editors (all 18 of them, just kidding) were convinced that sports was the catalyst to get it all started. We would tell parents, coaches, players, grandparents to go to our site and input their stats and everything would be super-duper awesome. When we brought up the fact that parents and grandparents can't be trusted to porvide correct information, they said "OK, well, we'll just stick to coaches for now."

    So, they decided to throw this big supper/social one night and invite all of the area coaches and their statisticians down to the office so we could unveil our new master plan of covering high school football on the Internet. We sent out invitations to some 50 high schools, letting them know that plenty of food and adult beverages would be on hand. We went out and purchased enough food to feed 150 and enough adult beverages to keep Keifer Sutherland occupied for 24 hours. Guess how many people showed up? 12. Yep, that's right, 12. Of those 12, only 8 schools were represented.

    The funny thing is that before they started planning all of this stuff, I tried to tell our publisher, editors and anybody else who would listen that it wasn't going to work. But they said "Oh, it's going to be great, we expect probably 85-90 percent turnout." The first year of our "new" high school site on the web, maybe 40% of the teams had their rosters. Of that, maybe a handful actually had stats. I tried to tell them that if they really wanted to do it right, they'd have to hire someone full-time just to do that site. They said it could be done with minimal staff effort, as long as we mainly relied on coaches/statisticians to report their stats. Yeah, that worked out well.

    Two years later, that part of our website doesn't get any hits and doesn't get updated other than each team's schedule. Most of the rosters are wrong, because they wanted us to do them in spring to get a headstart on it (and everyone here probably knows how much rosters change from spring to fall). They gave up on putting stats after that meeting with the coaches. They also nixed the idea of allowing each player access to his personal page so he could do a daily blog, update his personal info and whatnot. All it took was showing them a few of the myspace pages out there for them to realize they didn't want to travel that road.
  12. Fucking hilarious, yet also sad.
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