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"Write it again," i.e. playoff coverage philosophy

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Story_Idea, May 8, 2012.

  1. Story_Idea

    Story_Idea New Member

    They were killing the Chicago Tribune on the radio this morning for the following piece about Carlos Boozer's high-arcing shot:


    The point was that this story, at this point in the season, is a colossal reach and that no Bulls fan at this point cares about Carlos Boozer's arc. One of the hosts - both are sports writers - said his advice to other writers covering the playoffs was always - and I'm paraphrasing except for the three key words, "Whatever your best story was in the regular season, write it again. You have a new, larger audience. It may feel like you're running out of ideas, but don't scrape the bottom of the barrel. Just write it again."

    I remember this would always be a dilemma in prep coverage. By the time a team reached the state finals, you'd be featuring the fourth guy off the bench or the wide receiver with eight catches just because you were running out of guys. Always felt odd to me.

  2. Mark2010

    Mark2010 Active Member

    Shows the importance of planning ahead and who/what you are likely to do. Things can change, of course, some guy may emerge out of the woodwork with a big game here or there.

    I covered a hockey team that won a national championship two years ago, extending the season by six extra weeks! I couldn't have anticipated that, but I knew they were good and likely to make a deep playoff run. So I backed off during the part of the season when we had a lot of other stuff going on --- basketball, wrestling, swimming, etc. -- and saved my best features for the playoff run.
  3. SoCalDude

    SoCalDude Active Member

    Never thought "write it again" was a philosophy. It happens, I just never thought about it. But I have wondered why, now that we're in the third round, we're writing about the assistant equipment manager. Bigger games, more coverage, more interest. I guess you can write it again, but give it a littler different twist.
  4. JimmyHoward33

    JimmyHoward33 Well-Known Member

    Why is the story a reach? Its an off day blurb that might pull in a non-traditional basketball fan because its a little different. I have no issues with this story at all.
  5. Stitch

    Stitch Active Member

    Aren't most prep features "write again" stories? You change the athletes and coaches names, with a 'graf and quote interchanged. At least that's how most prep features read in my area.
  6. dirtybird

    dirtybird Active Member

    I don't think you need to write it again, but I imagine there's a different angle to take on someone you've already covered. And I say that having totally saved one player on a local playoff team just in case (I did a feature on him last season, and before the playoffs he seemed about at the same level).
  7. Mark2010

    Mark2010 Active Member

    Yep. Sometimes I wonder if reporters aren't writing a story just to fill up space, maybe justify their salary or meet a quota of some sort. I'll read a feature, particularly on some high school kid, and wonder "what's the point?', "what's noteworthy here?" The reality is that most teenagers, especially those who come from upper middle class American backgrounds, don't lead lives that are all that remarkable. If you get 1-2 per year, that's pretty good.

    As far as their athletic accomplishments, most are pretty pedestrian in comparison to other athletes in the games. I mean, is the fact that John Doe upped his scoring average from six points per game to 12, or raised his batting average from .250 to .350 really all that newsworthy? Sometimes I wonder if we're writing this stuff just so Little Johnny Bedwetter gets his name and picture in the paper and papa and grandpa buy an ad?
  8. Dick Whitman

    Dick Whitman Well-Known Member

    It's newsworthy to people who follow that sport, isn't it?
  9. Small Town Guy

    Small Town Guy Well-Known Member

    I thought the Boozer story was interesting, but I'm a jump shot junkie and love stories like this. The paper still had the stories on the team facing elimination, their struggles, etc. Now, Boozer's been incredibly disappointing since joining the Bulls, so maybe no one should be allowed to write about him? Or you can only write about him if you call him a failure and discuss his hair? But I liked the piece and don't see a problem with it.
  10. SoCalDude

    SoCalDude Active Member

    Now that I'm thinking about it more, what usually happens is the beat writer has written this or that, maybe more than once. Now, playoffs, important games, the columnist shows up and writes the same thing the beat writer has already written.
    It didn't happen until the columnist writes it.
  11. Mark2010

    Mark2010 Active Member

    Possibly. In the overall context of total readership, I'm guessing that's a pretty small percentage.

    The stories I remember are the human angles: two twin boys who escaped Liberia during a civil war and now starring as the only blacks on a high school football team; a swimmer who beat cancer; a hockey player with a rare blood disorder; a coach with a brother overseas in the military, etc.
  12. Alma

    Alma Well-Known Member

    The guy who wrote the story is primarily a Big Ten/Northwestern football/golf reporter, and a pretty good one at that.

    The radio hosts need to have a Coke and a smile.
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