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Youth sports (again)

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Smallpotatoes, Dec 13, 2009.

  1. KYSportsWriter

    KYSportsWriter Well-Known Member

    You won't know if you don't talk to them.
  2. Colin Dunlap

    Colin Dunlap Member

    An idea. Perhaps you could come up with a templated form, send it out to all the regular submitters, and let them know that is the parameter with which to send in their stuff.
    Unless you put hard numbers on things, people will always try to stretch submitted stuff.
    So, beat them to the punch.
    Come up with a template and strict rules:
    -XXXX photos that must be XXX size.
    - A write up of no more than XX words.
    - A deadline of XXXpm and no later.
  3. HanSenSE

    HanSenSE Well-Known Member

    So they submit it in narrative form? That doesn't mean you have to run the whole thing the way they put it.

    We had one juco soccer coach who started submitting what he must have thought were great gamers (and usually submitted a couple of days after the game) where he describes the field, the weather and how the bus ride was and finally gaves the final score about 500 words into a 1,500-word epic. A real headache to make into a four-graf brief. Compare that with the same juco's golf coach, who e-mails the scores after each match and updates league standings. It's cake, five minutes max on my end ... and when they need something a little more than that, like if they're hosting a regional, I'm more than happy to give them what they need because they get me what I need in the first place.

    That's part of the job, cutting through some of the parentspeak to make it into a workable story. As for team pics, I think the only reason I keep running them is that I didn't want that to be the second paragraph of my obit!
  4. playthrough

    playthrough Moderator Staff Member


    I'm on board with getting the names in the paper. But agate only. If the league champs want to submit a team photo, run that inside on your community day or page or whatever. If someone's in the Little League World Series or something truly notable that a reader with no allegiances would recognize, write a little about it. But you have to establish a hierarchy or you'll never satisfy anyone. The hierarchy at every place I've worked, big and small, is bare minimum or nothing on youth/middle schools, and tell the angry parents that high schools get the ink.

    You said "youth basketball is kind of big" in your town. Same thing my town, and many towns. But that doesn't make it news. Especially not something that should push other things off the page, like high schools, which can have an appeal past the 12 kids on the team and their parents. Look at the big picture.
  5. jfs1000

    jfs1000 Member

    This is simple. You run condensed as space permits. You don't ever double up because it creates more space issues. If it's on the website, it's on the record. I would consider zoning the teams by edition (if you have editions) or find a way to streamline copy.

    8 point type: Johnny Numbnuts scored 12 points to lead Maaco over Jiffy Lube 27-22. Julia Numbnuts added 6 points for Jiffy.

    AND THAT'S IT. It's youth sports, it doesn't deserve more than that.

    Plan ahead. It fits in this space by hook or crook every week. If you need to run it over two days, fine, but be consistent. AND DON'T dare let high school coverage get bumped.
  6. Baron Scicluna

    Baron Scicluna Well-Known Member

    As someone on this thread said earlier, you can make up a form to give to the coaches or league PR person that not only will simplify it for you, but for them as well. Something like:

    Score of Game:
    Winning team statistics:
    Losing team statistics:
    Highlight (like a half-court shot or a buzzer-beater):
  7. Mystery Meat II

    Mystery Meat II Well-Known Member

    Crap, I just read your post in a Southern Gentleman voice.

    SUUUUUUUUUH, that thar youth doesn't deserve a narrative form worthy of the great Robert E. Lee, who stood for the Almighty and the glorious cause against the northern aggressors ...
  8. Fredrick

    Fredrick Well-Known Member

    How about this, agate type
    Lane Tech middle school 17, Dont Know Much About History Tech 14
    Lane Tech highlights: Sam Cosby 11 points, Bruce Jenner 10 points, Kyle Thomas 11 rebounds. History Tech highlights: Sam Kinison 8 steals.
  9. murphyc

    murphyc Well-Known Member

    I'm not quite getting why youth leagues not submitting copy is directly related to a reporter being fired, unless you made promises to your boss(es) that a certain amount of space would be filled each week/day and that didn't happen.
    Also, who is saying this is an important part of your job? You? Your boss? The parents? I'm sure most here understand youth sports are kind of a big deal locally, but what makes the youth sports in your area important enough to require weekly recaps, potentially at the expense of HS sports?
    I don't know what your resources are like, but I'd say if you run anything more than names in agate, keep it 2-3 grafs max including mention of upcoming games (or run schedule of games for the following week). Try to get a picture or two in of game action (or team shots if a local team wins a big tournament/championship).
  10. expendable

    expendable Well-Known Member

    Got to get the bosses in on this. Deadlines, format... everything. Make sure everyone is on board on your end before you let anyone know of changes on theirs.
  11. BillyT

    BillyT Active Member

    Fredrick: That's a rather all-encompassing statement. I do not think it's true everywhere.

    What exactly does "deserve" mean?

    If you are serving the reader, that's the key.
  12. TheHacker

    TheHacker Member

    Hey SP, I feel your pain on this one because I work for a place run by a grandpa who insists we have youth sports so all the other grandpas can filling their scrapbooks. But we have a very large coverage area with hundreds of youth teams, so we've had to lay down the rules and stick to them. And that's what you need to do, as others have said here.

    The best a team can hope for out of us, if they win some tournament or league title or something, is maybe 150-200 words. Other than that, it's straight AP summary style: Team A beat team B on Saturday. Team A's So And So led the way with three goals and an assist ... etc.

    We stick to a deadline. Usually we end up printing the stuff that misses the deadline the following week. We're zoned several different ways, so we're able to do that. Not every item runs in every area. But if you're having space issues, I agree you need to lay down the law to people and tell them that if they miss deadline, it doesn't go in print. Distribute the deadline and the other guidelines to the leagues. Run it in print. Emphasize it when people contact you by email to ask how to submit: Here are our guidelines. Please note that items received after deadline will not appear in print. You must make the deadline in order to make the print edition.

    And don't be afraid to edit either. I had one kiddie football team that submitted 18 inches of copy, which is more than we run on a lot of high school games we cover. And it was past deadline. So I wrote back and told them they missed the deadline and it was significantly longer than we had room to run. I explained to them how to cut it down to meet our guidelines. They never responded, and we didn't hear from that team the rest of the season. There's no other local paper for them to submit the stuff to, so evidently they decided it wasn't worth it to them to do. Their choice. But you just treat everyone the same and stick to your rules.

    Is it what it is ... I can't stand youth sports either, but you can't change it. You can't make your management decide to drop the crap from the paper entirely, no matter how much you may dream of that. So you just have to make the best of it and not let it bother you. Firm guidelines that apply to every submission. Do it. It works. Trust me.
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