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Website Game Day Coverage Overkill/Underkill

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by daytonadan1983, Aug 28, 2011.

  1. Need some advice/feedback from you sages here at SJ

    As the lead writer for my FCS school's web site, I've pitched to my AD that we can outcover the local media on gameday with no problem and that it was time to market our coverage and our talent.

    So I created the following gameday budget for 2011. I'm not suggesting that it's Dallas Morning News' Monday coverage of a Cowboys game -- loved doing HS football for them BTW -- but I think it gets the job done and meets our goals.

    Here goes:
    Twitter: Update after every change of possession or scoring play
    Facebook: Upadate after each quarter

    1) 500-word gamer + 300 words of notes
    2) Sidebar(s) -- 300 worders written by Student Newspaper Staffers
    3) 500-word column
    4) Photo Galleries -- One of the game and one atmosphere
    5) Complete stat package
    6) Analysis Video -- Two minutes of breakdown from radio talent
    7) Highlight package

    What do you think?
  2. HejiraHenry

    HejiraHenry Well-Known Member

    I would be a little hinky about the column, as I wonder how opinionated your bosses will want the columnist to be, and if it's just shilling for the home team it aint gonna get any traction.

    But ... you are on to something. This is where a lot of schools, of all sizes, will be headed pretty soon.
  3. JimmyHoward33

    JimmyHoward33 Well-Known Member

    Whos writing the column? Does your school employ someone to be the face of the dept and write columns? Some of the bigger ones do and it reads like you're big. If so, looks fine. If not, if all you're putting up now are unbylined recaps, its a radical change that needs more exploration.

    What of the student newspaper staffers? Are they paid by you? Dont they have their own stuff to write for the st paper? Would you expect fresh content, or is this content sharing with the student ppr?

    Same questions vis a vis radio....but usually radio folks are contracted by a U's athletic dept so that should be a much smoother crossover.
  4. Smash Williams

    Smash Williams Well-Known Member

    A column only works if you have the freedom to be negative about the team or the game if the circumstances dictate it, and many ADs would have issues with that. They're of the "all positive, all the time" coverage idea and work furiously to play up the positive while playing down the negative.

    What is the goal of the school's site? Is it to become the No. 1 source of information about the teams? Or is it to portray the teams in the best light possible while still giving timely information? The two goals conflict, and you have to know which side of the divide you come down on.

    For instance, what happens if a key player is arrested and suspended. Do you mention that in your game notes? Do you write a column about how much his loss hurt? Or do you ignore it completely? You need to figure all that out.

    All that said, it's not a bad idea at all. You just need to hash out some of the logistics of what you want this website to be.
  5. LongTimeListener

    LongTimeListener Well-Known Member

    To what end are you marketing your coverage and your talent? Are you trying to make money by selling ads off your school's website? That seems odd. And if you aren't selling ads off it, what difference does it make how many hits you get on game day?

    If you were a journalism outlet, that would be a worthy plan. But you aren't.
  6. Simon

    Simon Active Member

    Whatever you do, don't tweet play by play. Make a separate account and advertise that account.
  7. Small Town Guy

    Small Town Guy Well-Known Member

    The 200-word sidebar on how the game affects New York City seems like overkill.
  8. Versatile

    Versatile Active Member

    I disagree. No one coming to the school website for coverage expects negativity. Realism, sure. But I would hope that if all this effort is going into an FCS school's website, that the team is at least on the level of a Villanova or Delaware or one of the other good FCS schools where being positive wouldn't be obvious fraud.

    Dan, here are my thoughts:

    Twitter: Update after every change of possession or scoring play
    Facebook: Upadate after each quarter

    As Simon says (snicker), you want to avoid being intrusive. But that particular plan seems reasonable. The people who follow you will either: a.) love your school, or b.) follow enough other people tweeting on football Saturdays that their feed won't be too clogged.

    1) 500-word gamer + 300 words of notes

    I think this qualifies as a bare-minimum at a lot of FBS schools, but at an FCS, it's a great way to upstage the local media. Complete and total coverage of everything that happened.

    2) Sidebar(s) -- 300 worders written by Student Newspaper Staffers

    The student newspaper I worked at was independent and wouldn't have went along with this idea, but I know most would gladly get the exposure. One would be enough, though.

    3) 500-word column

    I would advise staggering this. I think it's a great idea. Hire a freelancer, perhaps a recently laid off decent journalist, to cover the game and write a column to be published Tuesday or something. And, as I said above, you can absolutely say "Don't be negative and don't write about this, this and this." An athletics website is not by any means a journalistic institution.

    4) Photo Galleries -- One of the game and one atmosphere

    Absolute must-have, and I don't know why anyone wouldn't have it. Staggering these in promotion could be a good idea to fill out the week.

    5) Complete stat package

    I imagine you already have these online...

    6) Analysis Video -- Two minutes of breakdown from radio talent

    Idea: Make this a preview thing. Do this Thursdays to better flesh out the week. It's definitely an excellent, and probably cheap, idea.

    7) Highlight package

    If you can do this well on your budget, more power to you. Sounds like a great Monday item.

    So, if I were planning this, I'd say you post the stats as soon as the game ends, the gamer and notes on when they're done Saturday, the action photo gallery Sunday along with the sidebar if you go that route (it's the obvious thing to cut, if you ask me), the highlights Monday, the column Tuesday, the atmosphere photo gallery Wednesday (gets people excited for another game), the radio thing Thursday and your normal preview notes Friday.

    Then you do it again 11 more times.

    It's an undertaking, but if your fan base merits it, there are obvious dividends.
  9. Versatile

    Versatile Active Member

    Hits to your website mean more merchandise is sold and the fan base is better cultivated. Many ADs are very big on developing the website. It's the reason they're hiring so many of us. They view it as a way to extend the brand, sell merchandise and develop loyalty. In a way, their intentions are more pure than most of our bosses (at least at the publisher level), who are looking for ad revenue.
  10. Johnny Dangerously

    Johnny Dangerously Active Member

    I can see a tweet after every scoring play. Every change of possession seems excessive.
  11. dixiehack

    dixiehack Well-Known Member

    Will you have enough staffing to also cover the volleyball, soccer, cross country, etc. that also inevitably crops up on Saturdays?
  12. fishwrapper

    fishwrapper Active Member

    This budget, while without many holes, ain't exactly breaking new ground.
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