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Who are weekly newspapers covering high school football games for

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Mr. X, Nov 19, 2006.

  1. Mr. X

    Mr. X Active Member

    When covering high school football for a weekly newspaper, who is it being covered for -- the fans at the game or people who are not at the game?

    I realize the answer is a mixture of both, but I want to get the best answer possible as I continue to write the story on the final game of the season for the lone high school the weekly I work for covers.

    The game ended with the high school the paper covers losing by one point in overtime on a blocked extra point attempt.

    (I am mentioning the kicker's name because that is the professional thing to do. I realize that could draw me criticism, especially with the health challenges he has overcome, but it is the professional thing to do. I'm not making fun of him or singling him out for criticism, just mentioning that the game ended as a player on the opposing team (whose name I am including) blocked a kick by that kicker.)

    The team our paper covers rallied from a 15-point fourth quarter deficit to tie the score, then escaped losing in overtime when the opposing team's kicker, whose name I am mentioning, missed a 30-yard field goal with two seconds remaining in regulation.

    As the story stands now, I've written about the overtime, the comeback, the missed field goal and the earlier scoring. I will conclude the story with a two-paragraph quote from the coach of the team the paper covers.

    The way I have written the story now, people who were at the game won't learn much more about it, but people who were not at the game will learn a lot about it.

    It is my gut feeling that most everyone interested in the game came and very few people who did not come to the game are interested in it.

    I am wondering if I should include more mediocre quotes from the coach, such as explaining the first-half game plan? (Only about five pass plays were called in the first half, which ended with the team the paper covers trailing, 7-0.)

    The other complication is that the more I write about this game, the less space there is for other sports, which should also be reported.

    What I might just do is include a longer version of the story on the Web site, with more quotes from the coach. How does that sound for a plan?
  2. Sxysprtswrtr

    Sxysprtswrtr Active Member

    Um, first of all ... if you are writing for a weekly, by the time the story comes out - most anyone and everyone who cares will know the play-by-play details.

    No need to bog down your writing skills with useles back-and-forth ramble about what the QB did on the second series of the second half.

    Use storytelling to your advantage here. Dissect the flavor and the environment of the game. Give readers information they can't get from the mundane facts such as Joe Smith 9-yard run (kick failed).

    If you feel compelled to keep more game info in - go with your internet option. Though, I hesitate to suggest that because I believe most internet readers want quicker, shorter-hitting stories unless it's just Pulitzer-type writing.
  3. Mr. X

    Mr. X Active Member

    This paper does not run agate, so they would not know that fact from reading the paper.
  4. Sxysprtswrtr

    Sxysprtswrtr Active Member

    A paper that doesn't run agate; are you working for a communist paper?
  5. Smasher_Sloan

    Smasher_Sloan Active Member

    To answer the questions:

    For parents and grandparents keeping scrapbooks.
  6. WS

    WS Member

    all the weekly guy who covered last Fri's playoff game (with the away team) was bitch at how a TD for "his team" was called back because of a penalty. I was covering home team, which was an unbeaten team about 30 miles from my town's 32K daily, and he was covering the team that was 200something miles away

    Said guy had his team's high school sweatshirt on, is a member of the school board, and was hugging players after the game.

    Really gave weekly writers a bad name.

    So, I guess this guy was covering the game for a free ticket.
  7. Clerk Typist

    Clerk Typist Guest

    Mr. X, you keep noting you're mentioning players by name.
    Do you usually leave the players anonymous to your readers? Have you not mentioned the kicker's health challenges during the season -- presuming they have affected his play, or ability to play at all?
    And do you always bury the quotes at the end of a story?
    Just wonderin'.
  8. Ledbetter

    Ledbetter Active Member

    In other words, of course you should mention who was involved in the most important plays in the game.

    And use quotes throughout the story, not just a giant quote from the coach at the end.
  9. Tom Petty

    Tom Petty Guest

    and we just stumbled across a new, relevant avenue in which we can navagate the jaguar named journalism of the future.

    instead of calling ourselves journalists, we can become known as scrapbookians, living for the sole purpose of filling the scrapbooks of the seven kids whose mothers are collecting our scrapbookianisms. but hell, why stop there? if we are to become future scrapbookians writing scrapbookianisms, why not expand what we're doing and become scrapbookianism constructionists? shit, not only can we write the stories and the agate, but we can start cutting out said copy and photos. with scrapbookianismist items in hand, we can drive to little johnny crabdick's house, meet his mother mildred and begin pasting the daily shitbucket's "news" into the book johnny will treasure far into retirement.

    i bet the tips would be awesome, not to mention nibbling on mrs. crabdick's cherry pie.
  10. Mr. X

    Mr. X Active Member

    I always mention players' names.

    There are some theories that the names of players who miss kicks, have passes intercepted or lose fumbles should not be included in high school game stories, but I don't believe that. If people complain, I imagine the best defense is to say the professional way of reporting is to mention players who miss kicks, have passes intercepted or lose fumbles.

    I incorporate quotes throughout my stories as merited.

    I have not dealt with the kicker's health issues this season as I have not asked about them. He's playing, so they don't seem to be an issue. They have been reported in the past.
  11. Mystery_Meat

    Mystery_Meat Guest

    I think you'll be fine with the kicker anyway. He had his kick blocked, right? It's not like he shanked a 19-yarder from dead on.
  12. Personally, I'm just not sure about mentioning the names of players who have screwed up, especially in girls sports. These are, for the most part, fragile teenage esteems you're dealing with. My rule of thumb: In preps, you're fully positive. You mention negatives by team or, at worst, position. In colleges/WNBA, you're in between. You report those who screw up by name and everything that happens as is, but you don't get on someone's tails. In the pros, it's open season.
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