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What are you, as journalists, looking for from a sports info department

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by UNCGrad, Oct 17, 2010.

  1. UNCGrad

    UNCGrad Member

    I've recently jumped from working a sports editor at small newspapers into a small college sports information department. I'm enjoying the hell out of the work, maybe moreso that I expected. And perhaps ironically, after years of the ever-shrinking deadline, I'm writing more often and enjoying it more.

    All that said, I came to the job with some preconceived ideas about what I expected as a journalist from an SID and have tried to incorporate some of those. But I was also hoping some of you might post some of the things you expect to get from an SID, what irks you about some, and maybe something that you've come across before that made you think, "That's great. That really helped. That person is really on the ball." Basically, I'm looking for more ideas and ways to benefit the media. That's my job now. I can schedule interviews and call people back on time, so I've got that part down. Give your best suggestions.

    Many thanks. I love this board, and I really think it could be a valuable resource even in sports information.
  2. Stitch

    Stitch Active Member

    Don't lie to the media or play games. And don't put some kid who doesn't have a clue about athletics in charge of stats.
  3. SoCalDude

    SoCalDude Active Member

    If you're supplying the media with info on a game it didn't cover, get the info in fast. The faster the better.
    We joke all the time when we know a team has played and we're waiting for an e-mail with the result.
    "Game's been over for more than an hour. Where is the info?"
    "The SID is probably still trying to get the jock straps washed and the towels picked up."
  4. apeman33

    apeman33 Well-Known Member

    Show the kids how to run the stats program sometime earlier than five minutes prior to game time/tip off.

    "Hey, Apeman, we're going to be able to get some stats for you tonight, so you won't have to worry about doing that."

    *Looks over and notices that the two baseball players are still going over the poor photocopy of the instruction manual*

    "Um, that's cool, but I've been doing mine for so long that I don't think I even know how to be at a game without doing them. I'll be fine."

    *Tells baseball players who carried/shot the ball two dozen times during the night*
  5. Baron Scicluna

    Baron Scicluna Well-Known Member

    Get to know your local media, and their needs.

    At my last paper, we had SIDs who would take forever with their results. We would wonder what the heck was taking them so long. Then we'd get the result, and it'd be this 1,000-word essay.
    And we were only devoting one or two sentences to the game anyways. And these were small schools that really weren't going to get much coverage anyways from us, or anywheres else.

    Also, learn when their deadlines are. They don't want to hear story pitches when they're on deadline.
  6. sgreenwell

    sgreenwell Well-Known Member

    Definitely this. It bugged the heck out of me.
  7. BTExpress

    BTExpress Well-Known Member

    Do not send in a story that is hopelessly written from your team's point of view when it looks ridiculous to do so.

    For example, say your team (State U) loses a baseball game 12-2 to Tech.

    Do not write the following (which I have seen ad nauseum).

    "State U. first baseman Joe Blow had two hits and drove in a run Sunday in a 12-2 loss to Tech at State U. field."

    The media will NOT put it in the paper like this. Instead, they will hunt for what REALLY happened (probably buried in the 8th or 9th graph) when Tech scored 8 runs in the fourth inning off State U. starter Lefty Koufax.

    You work for State U., but your job is to provide the media with a report it can use, not one so slanted that it cannot be used without great difficulty.
  8. apeman33

    apeman33 Well-Known Member

    If you're planning to hand out 10 information packs for press row, make 20 of them. There are always people showing up that think those things are freebies and walk off with them, leaving none for the people who need them. It also ensures you'll have some extra on hand just in case someone loses their stuff.

    I say this because this is one of the worst things that happens at games since the new AD took over here. Some weeks, he only brings up like 5 rosters. Except that there are 3 of the home team's coaches that want to look at one, 3 of the visitor's coaches that want to look, the clock operator who wants one to refer to, the PA announcer, home sports information, visitors sports information, home radio, visiting radio, me, and the visiting newspaper.
  9. TheMethod

    TheMethod Member

    A story idea would be nice once in a while. I don't expect SIDs to help me break news, but a soft feature story idea from time to time would be great.
  10. rtse11

    rtse11 Member

    Nearly every SID I work with emails me the same information he/she puts on the school website. I don't need that. I need an AP-style quick lede that includes information for both teams. You wanna send me your web story later? Fine. But on deadline, I only need 5-6 sentences.
  11. Ace

    Ace Well-Known Member

    From ADs a smaller school ....

    We want live game recaps that we get quickly the day/night of games that detail the action, who scored, any pertinent information and don't get bogged down trying to make a 7-0 loss by your team sounds like some heroic stand.

    If you have a release about a player of the week or other honor or something, put what high school the kids went to. I might be really interested in a player from my city who did something at your school but not so much if they are from Bolivia.

    I am open to doing stories from any schools, but don't take in personally and sulk if we don't bite. Keep at it. Some weeks are really busy and we don't have space or manpower. Other weeks we are looking for something to put in the paper.

    If you have a team doing really well, let us know. We probably don't have anyone assigned to your school specifically, so you are probably our best resource for news, story ideas. Likewise, if you have a good feature -- triplets, 40-year-old football player, Rhodes Scholar, whatever, pitch it.

    If you have a story, send a photo. Have at least high-res head shots available. Most of the ones on the web are too low-quality to work for print.

    Don't come with the attitude that we are obligated to write about your school or we are unfair or your players work just as hard as BIG STATE SCHOOL.

    But as a former sports editor, I am sure you would never do that.
  12. kmayhugh

    kmayhugh Member

    "Small" is relative. If we're talking a small Division I school, the expectations are higher than from a small NAIA school.

    I'm happy if I can get the following:
    A web site with usable mug shots, rosters, bios, up-to-date stats and team history
    Box scores in a timely manner, e-mail preferred over fax
    Press releases for off-season personnel moves in non-major sports. I'll know if your football coach leaves. I might not know if you have a new swim recruit, but I'd probably want to throw it in the roundup. And like someone said: Always list the high school.

    Anything else is gravy. Usable submitted photos and feature pitches are nice but not necessary.
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