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Youth Football

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Madhavok, Oct 13, 2006.

  1. Madhavok

    Madhavok Active Member

    As in Pop Warner, midget/pee wee — how do you handle the coverage?
    Large (read 15-20K+) pubs can stop reading right now but for the smaller ones like myself, how can get some coverage in to get football-crazed parents off your back? Games are Saturdays and Sundays, typically my 'days off' and playoffs are looming (they might be this weekend, can't remember). Anyhoo, I'm not a fan of going out on a Sunday to snap photos, but I did a few weeks ago (hungover as all hell) and ran some big photos and standings. Sure enough parents loved it. However, the last two weeks I've been busy with some other stuff and my freelance photogs aren't really jumping for joy to do it.
    Plus it doesn't help when NONE of the coaches call in their scores. I tell my boss I'm not hunting them down, if they want it in the paper bad enough they can pick up the phone. Bad attitude? Probably.

    rant over.
  2. patchs

    patchs Active Member

    Funny, at my paper, Pop Warner was the best youth sport to deal with.
    The folks who ran the league met with us and asked "How we can get our games in the paper and make it easy on your staff?"
    I almost fell out of my chair.
    Seriously though, we sat down and created a game reporting form that listed the offensive info in an organized way that made it easier for us and also gave credit to linemen (which made them happy).
    Once in a while we get a coach that tries to list every kid (c'mon, 6 linemen for good blocking?) but we call the league pres and he takes care of it.
    We don't shoot games, which they understand, but we do staff (writer and photog) a team if it wins the league and goes to the state level or beyond (one year we had a team that missed the nationals by 1 game).
    Usually this happens when most of our fall HS stuff is done so we have the staff to pull it off.
    It's worked very well.
    So my advice is to call (maybe for next year) the league pres. and meet with him and establish deadlines (like Mon at 7 p.m.) for submitting games and create a form that works for both of you.
  3. Madhavok

    Madhavok Active Member

    Thanks for the help patchs. Problem is, I work in a football-crazed town where they treat youth football like it's the NFL. We're talking 2'x4' foot stickers with their kid's name and team on their car, eight coaches to a team...it's pretty ridiculous if you ask me. I try to do my best but the parents don't seem to understand I'm out covering/shooting other sports monday-friday and the last thing I want to do is spend a weekend covering youth football. It's as if they demand coverage like the high schools get and that can't happen. Next weekend (second round of playoffs) I'll be out of town for my cousin's wedding so photos are out of the question.
  4. Trey Beamon

    Trey Beamon Active Member

    Roll submitted game reports into ball, step back about 10 feet and aim for the wastebasket.

    Seriously, when people ask for pee-wee coverage, I have to say no. There's such a thing as limited space -- a concept most readers can't understand -- and if you cover one sport, you're merely opening the floodgates for the soccer, gymnastics and cheerleading crowd.

    You have to draw the line somewhere, right?
  5. Canyonero!

    Canyonero! Member

    patchs is right on the money. Before the season I talked to the league president, every week she emails me some photos and short round-ups writing by the coaches. Once a week when I need to fill space I'll run the stuff. It works for me because it's something local and it works for the league because they get in the paper.

    Unless the people you are dealing with are total knobjobs (in which case I'd just say fuck 'em) they'd probably be happy to help if it means getting the league in.
  6. Madhavok

    Madhavok Active Member

    I'm at a very, very small paper (five day daily) and my boss even told me I had to get them in because he/she was hearing complaints from parents. Which is sad, he/she says they sell papers but honestly, I could give two shits because you're right, it opens the floodgates to all of the other youth sports. I don't like the idea of running stuff because parents are complaining, if it comes down to that, I'll just walk out the door. I know this is going to sound like I'm being a bitch, but when do I/we get any free time if I'm spending Saturday and Sunday going to youth football events?

    We'll see what happens this weekend. If I make it to a game, I do..I'm not traveling more than 20 minutes to cover one of these. And by cover, I mean spend 5 minutes there: get a pic and leave.
  7. 21

    21 Well-Known Member

    Your only hope is to relocate immediately.
  8. Cadet

    Cadet Guest

    Not to be a total bitch, and I certainly don't advocate covering peewee football, but do you really think you're going to get free time on weekends in this business?

    To say "I don't work Saturdays" is like saying "I want to work in PR".
  9. expendable

    expendable Well-Known Member

    I have a guy who reports prep football results for the area, and has been doing so for years.

  10. Chi City 81

    Chi City 81 Guest

    Best advice is to go around to the coaches, give them your information (fax, phone, e-mail) and ask them for submissions. Most of these teams have team moms in charge of taking photos, so it shouldn't be on you to do it.

    If youth football is so important to these people, then they shouldn't have a problem with submitting stuff for publication. The problem with covering a team is once you cover one, you have to cover them all. But it sounds like you've already opened Pandora's box, so good luck.
  11. Madhavok

    Madhavok Active Member

    Oh don't get me wrong. I understand how we never really have any days off. I've worked weekends the entire three years I've been at this paper. It's just youth football on the weekends that is bothering me. Covering a regional/playoff soccer or (fill in varsity/college/pro) even here on a weekend is fine. But youth fooball...come on now..

    eidt: I guess it's just this weekend that's bugging me..that's all.
  12. Crimson Tide

    Crimson Tide Member

    Well, my ME had the Kiwanas winning the fifth-grade championship on A1. He serves on the board. These things happen.
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