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Wichita Eagle bails on Saturday print

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by BurnsWhenIPee, Aug 14, 2019.

  1. SoloFlyer

    SoloFlyer Well-Known Member

    You have a 9:30 deadline on Friday night? How are you even getting content from football games in on time as it is?

    Think about that for a second. If you're truncating interviews because you have to rush up to the press box or your car to squeeze in a few quotes to a running gamer just to file in time, are you really serving your readers well?

    Here's what I'd advocate:
    - Friday night, file the second the final whistle sounds. Nothing longer than 250-300 words. No need to mention every touchdown or every event that led up to a touchdown, especially if it's a high scoring game or a blowout. Condense. "Already up 14-0 after two quick rushing touchdowns from Joe Smith...."That kind of thing. You're done with this story before the teams even get to the locker room. No quotes. The version you filed at the horn is what goes in the paper.
    - Tease additional Sunday coverage in your Saturday paper and online. In your "Podunk routs East" story, include a tease of Sunday's coverage in the kicker. Or in a refer. Do the same on the web.
    - This frees you up to do longer interviews with the coaches/players to ask more in-depth questions. Those questions, plus details from the game, create the backbone of your second story. Write the second story for Sunday that night.
    - Have your stringers do the same thing. Pay them an extra $40/50 for a second story.
    - By doing this, you're not reworking anything or calling coaches for a follow-up. It's all done right there. The desk isn't doing anything more other than proofing a second story, and they don't need to spend a lot of time on the quick gamer that you sent at the final whistle. Those should be up, on the page, and socialed before your second story is in.
    - In my opinion, round-ups and agate serve the same purpose. So why do you need both? The agate tells the story through the box score: Who scored, when it happened, and who finished with a particularly good night? The round-up does the same. Eliminating the round-up might save you some time. Just because it's what you've always done doesn't mean it's the right fit moving forward.
    - Examine your Saturday coverage. Does every event in the other fall sports require a gamer? Could you cover some of those in a different way? Are they driving traffic/subscriptions? Some places, if you're not covering soccer, you're really missing out. Other places couldn't care less about soccer, to the point where even the parents don't read the articles. If your staff is killing itself to cover something in-depth that doesn't matter to readers, that doesn't make sense.
    SFIND, BurnsWhenIPee and Fredrick like this.
  2. Fredrick

    Fredrick Well-Known Member

    Great post. Let's face it people can't sympathize about high school coverage that are in the business. It's been deemed the first to go or de-emphasize by the suits and that's that. Another very very poor decision leading to the state we are in. No Saturday paper. LOL. (BTW this is to stick the knife completely in Friday night football coverage; it's way too difficult to attempt to cover Friday night football in a non-embarrassing manor with all the layoffs.
    Paul_Bowker likes this.
  3. Fredrick

    Fredrick Well-Known Member

    I stopped reading here. You do understand some teams go right to the bus? By the time you send they are pretty much gone. Covering preps is a major hassle now because of the suits and the decision was made to scrap the preps except for stories on recruits and maybe the most accomplished athletes once a year plus any scandals at schools.
  4. Fredrick

    Fredrick Well-Known Member

    The right questions? Good luck covering a prep game thoroughly especially if it's raining or snowing. The right questions ... sure.
  5. Fredrick

    Fredrick Well-Known Member

    Yes, somebody suggested giving 40 to 50 dollars for a second story. Cmon. That money isn't there. Most news outlets aren't even paying mileage. It's not the sports editors or writers fault, people. Please start accepting the fact the suits have ruined the business. And upper management certainly doesn't care there are problems in covering preps. Since they get few page views it's a no brainer to the suits to tell everybody to shut up and just de-emphasize preps. 40 to 50 dollars for a second story?? Ha.
    SFIND likes this.
  6. maumann

    maumann Well-Known Member

    Didn't mean to stir up a hornet's nest, but very interesting answers. I've worked in places where high schools were the center of activity and others were there weren't 200 people at the game. Especially with college/NFL needing space at any paper of any size, I can see where high school coverage gets the squeeze.

    Remember, I'm from a land where the Internet, social media and even e-mails and texts weren't available in 1993-99. So I'm thinking differently than any of you would.

    If I'm transported to the 2019 Rocky Mount Telegram and have no Saturday print edition, as sports editor, I'm orchestrating everything from the office (or my house). Every reporter and stringer is reporting to me at that point. I'm in charge of a cohesive social media presence -- handling facts and score updates and keeping my staff free to watch the game -- then writing quick-hit briefs for online publishing -- 6-8 sentences -- as soon as I get the final score, or for any coaches who call/text/email from the road, linking to "complete coverage in Sunday's Telegram!"

    And I want my people to concentrate on a feature lede for Sunday rather than a straight gamer. Anybody who cares knows the score. Tell them something they didn't know.

    Is that feasible? Maybe not. You all know where this business is now better than I do. Know that all of us old-timers have been there, done that.

    Take names and keep kicking ass!
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2019
  7. SoloFlyer

    SoloFlyer Well-Known Member

    I think your statement about scrapping preps is inaccurate in many areas across the country. There are still quite a few resources being applied to cover preps in SEC country, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, etc., especially high school football.

    I covered preps for over a decade. Yes, a few teams went straight to the bus. But I knew that in advance, caught the coach on the sideline before the game to let him know I was there, and was down on the field within moments of the clock hitting zero. Sometimes that was after filing immediately (and I mean immediate - hitting send when the horn sounded). Some of that was not having to file at all.
    maumann likes this.
  8. SoloFlyer

    SoloFlyer Well-Known Member

    Of course the resources aren't there for everyone. But SFIND mentioned their outlet's extensive coverage and the fact that the outlet is already using freelancers. So the question becomes how to use those resources more effectively. If they're spending money on a freelancer to cover a soccer game that no one cares about, why not use that money instead to boost their football coverage? Or if football isn't big, why aren't you pooling that money to cover soccer or volleyball or wrestling or whatever is?

    Also, in my previous stops, preps was routinely one of the top five drivers in traffic in the entire newsroom, not just sports. I think your experiences with preps are different from others in other parts of the country.
    maumann likes this.
  9. SoloFlyer

    SoloFlyer Well-Known Member

    Covered one in the remnants of a hurricane. Covered them in multiple blizzards. Adapt and overcome.
  10. SoloFlyer

    SoloFlyer Well-Known Member

    maumann likes this.
  11. LanceyHoward

    LanceyHoward Well-Known Member

    McClatchy is going to six days a week because they are desperate. Newspapers have been raising subscription rates but they realize that their subscription base and heece attractiveness to advertisers has declined. I read the transcript of a Gatehouse earnings call where they came out and publicly said they had to stop raising rates and invest in retaining subscribers.

    So if you can't raise rates the next strategy is to cut out editions while maintaining the same rate, which is what McClatchy is doing. It ill be interesting to see how much circulation they lose. If McClatchy pulls this off and is able to cut the Saturday paper while only losing subscribers at the same rate as other chins then the Saturday edition will be gone at virtually every paper in the country inside of two years.
  12. Sam Mills 51

    Sam Mills 51 Well-Known Member

    I'm still trying to figure how newspapers are getting away with spiking - not increasing ... spiking - prices for the dead-tree edition while cutting sections and then the size of the sections that are left.

    So ... they want more money for clearly less stuff. How have more readers not told newspapers where to go?
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