1. Welcome to SportsJournalists.com, a friendly forum for discussing all things sports and journalism.

    Your voice is missing! You will need to register for a free account to get access to the following site features:
    • Reply to discussions and create your own threads.
    • Access to private conversations with other members.
    • Fewer ads.

    We hope to see you as a part of our community soon!

Two-paper town

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by LoveinGreenBay, Sep 24, 2006.

  1. LoveinGreenBay

    LoveinGreenBay New Member

    I love this vibrant business. Those of us in the profession are some of the luckiest people alive. We create and control the flow of information. We're part of a unique team, and every player has his/her job to perform to make the team thrive.

    My predicament is that I work in a relatively small region with two newspapers less than two miles apart. One is a weekly and one is a daily. So much of the same stuff gets covered. Different voices and different photographs but same events. Different events with unique voices, too. People in the area adore both papers for different reasons. Each serves its purpose.

    Competition doesn't scare me. Our sports section has kicked the other paper's sport section's butt time and again, and vice-versa. However, it's occuring to me after a period of between three and five years that coexistence is wearing thin on this sports department, which doesn't have the same resources as the other sports department. Not even close.

    I'm at a point in my career where I want to run a department yet still have visibility in the community by writing and photographing occasionally. I want to assign sports reporters to cover games and stories and photographers to shoot games and events, and for a desk to put the section together.

    I know that I've answered my own question by penning this and what I must, and probably will do, at some point in the next six months.

    Just wanted to vent a little bit because the other sports department is stepping up. That doesn't scare me. I hold my own and put out a damn fine product. It's just that going head to head 1 against 7 has taken its toll. If I had another person or two it wouldn't be an issue, but I don't see that happening.
  2. dixiehack

    dixiehack Well-Known Member

    A weekly isn't playing in the same game as a daily, nor should it. Your niche is in going hyperlocal, going towards the feature/explainer approach, or both.
  3. Tom Petty

    Tom Petty Guest

    why would you vent because someone other than you is attempting to make a better product?
  4. Frank_Ridgeway

    Frank_Ridgeway Well-Known Member

    Maybe it's different elsewhere, but at no daily I've worked on have we paid any attention to any weekly. Didn't read it, didn't consider it competition, even when I was covering high schools. And on metros, I did sometimes read daily suburban competitors because I like newspapers, but I'd say I was probably one of a handful of staffers that did. I think journalists tend to read the paper that's higher on the food chain than they are, not lower. So it's possible this competition you feel is only in your eyes, not theirs.
  5. LoveinGreenBay

    LoveinGreenBay New Member

    With all due Frank to your insightful post, I disagree. I've been told by higher-ups at the daily that they read us to make sure they didn't miss anything, and that if they did they chased the stories I broke.

    I don't have an issue with the other paper improving its product, either. With the size of its staff, the department was overdue for pulling up its slacks. They do a good job. I think the weekly component is getting to me.
  6. greenthumb

    greenthumb Member

    Love, to better articulate what Frank is saying, I offer the following anecdotal piece of information:

    In most cases where a weekly or bi-weekly co-exists with a daily, nearly everyone who gets the weekly also subscribes to the daily. However, only a small portion of the daily newspaper's readers also subscribe to the weekly. The end result is that the daily does check the weekly (any good daily newspaper subscribes and reads every other publication in its coverage area) but does not consider it competition.

    It's not a slam on you. It's just that you aren't stealing any bread out of their mouths so they don't feel they are in competition with you. It sounds like you are winding yourself up too tight trying to beat out the daily. You are what you are. Do the best work you can, try to give your readers an interesting and compelling product, and forget the 'competition' aspect of things. Think only about serving your reader and you'll be fine.
  7. Sxysprtswrtr

    Sxysprtswrtr Active Member

    Well said, greenthumb.

    One of my mentors, who is an editor at a national weekly pub, believes wholeheartedly you can break news with a weekly -- it ain't easy, but it's achievable and when it does happen, it's an accomplishment because for the very fact you are a weekly and you broke news!

    In the same vein as dixie's post, weeklies serve a niche readership and a niche purpose. That shouldn't pigeonhole your publication, however, it should add focus and vision to your publication's goals.
  8. Frank_Ridgeway

    Frank_Ridgeway Well-Known Member

    If you work in or near a big city, that is going to be impossible. No one has time to read 50-100 weeklies every week. In my first full-time job covering preps I had four other local dailies to read every day. I never looked at any of the weeklies. None of us did.
  9. greenthumb

    greenthumb Member

    Roger that, Frank. I was addressing it from the standpoint of a mid-size, since Love said that the daily competition had a seven-man staff. I'm guessing that means they are a 30-40K, which means they probably have 2-3 weeklies in their extended coverage area, perhaps more.

    If you are based in a major metro, reading every weekly and niche publication in your coverage area would be all but impossible. But the biggest and best of the bunch still get perused on a regular basis (edit add: by someone, though not necessarily anyone in the newsroom).
Draft saved Draft deleted

Share This Page