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Youth sports and a shrinking sports section

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Smallpotatoes, Jan 7, 2009.

  1. Mystery_Meat

    Mystery_Meat Guest

    The big problem with first-come, first-served is that it can penalize folks who are trying to get the stuff in as fast as they can, but end up being the fourth entry when there's only room for three. Obviously someone who gives you week-old copy isn't in that boat, but it'll look arbitrary to the people outside the sausage factory if the North End rec league results get in, but not the West Side rec results.

    sp: How much editing do you do with the submitted copy?
  2. micke77

    micke77 Member

    we edit the youth stuff and reports that are turned in very closely. and it can be an absolute pain at times. until we finally said, "enough is enough", we would actually have folks drop off handwritten reports and we'd type 'em in. and the names would invariably be wrong because a four-degree grad of The Eye Institute would have cussin' fits to try and interpret said names or chicken scratchin. now, it's very rare if we don't get reports emailed in or dropped off in legible hand-written form.
    and we have had trouble at times maybe running, say, a shorter report from some league over another who might have turned his in before but it was so long that space wouldn't allow us to run it quicker. and yes, we do get the calls when such things have happened. i've had parents, coaches -- mainly parents-- claim we have a vendetta against their team if it isn't run quickly. if i have told them once, i've told them 1,275 times: every team is equal in our eyes. i could care less who wins the most games, etc. but they're tough to convince.
  3. Smallpotatoes

    Smallpotatoes Well-Known Member

    Not as much as I do with high school copy. There's just so much youth copy and so many hours in the day. I'm a stickler about chopping out nicknames, complaints about officiating, inside jokes among the parents, stuff like that (I swear people put stuff like that in just to test you). I try very hard to avoid cutting names out of the story because that's kind of the whole point.
  4. KYSportsWriter

    KYSportsWriter Well-Known Member

    No offense, but you ran a picture from the fall?

    We have a 45-day rule after someone turned in a two-year-old hunting picture last fall.
  5. hondo

    hondo Well-Known Member

    Gee...if they cut back on youth sports coverage, what are the soccer league officials going to tell the parents after they promised every kid would get his name in the paper at least twice a season.

    "Also playing well on defense ...... "
  6. TheHacker

    TheHacker Member

    Hey SP, rest assured you're not alone. I'm at a weekly too and at my place we're fighting the exact same battle. There's less space for our prep copy too. We haven't made any changes yet in the way we handle the youth stuff, but I've had a few ideas.

    First, I want to go Web-only with anything that's not a game result. And then we can add to the info box that runs with our youth copy directing people to the Web for registration/tryouts, camps, etc. We tend to zone that stuff (we have multiple editions) and we often get people pissed off that their announcement didn't run everywhere. So let's put it on the Web. Problem solved.

    We're also going to have to limit the length of game reports. In the past, sometimes I've let some games run as long as six inches if someone sends in that much, but the days of letting teams list off every kid's name in every writeup are over. You just have to edit tighter and hold the stuff to the same standard you'd use for prep copy. If a reporter came back from a prep basketball game and listed off six kids who played garbage time and scored two points each, you'd chop it out of the story. Too often we let stuff run in the youth copy that we wouldn't use elsewhere, and that has to stop. Not as easy as it sounds. At my place, management long ago decreed "thou shalt have youth sports" so there's always been some trepidation about cutting it. Last thing you want is a pissed off youth parent complaining to your boss about something you did or didn't do. Trust me, I speak from experience.

    I've toyed around with the idea of running the stuff in smaller type -- not quite agate, but not regular body copy either. Not sure how that will go over. But like someone else said, times are tough -- people have to realize that a lot of things are going to change. Hell, tonight I went to Quizno's and found out they shrunk the size of their sandwiches. They had signs all over the place about "new lower prices." They knocked a few cents off the price because they decided to make the sandwiches smaller ... how considerate!
  7. Smallpotatoes

    Smallpotatoes Well-Known Member

    We have a 250-word limit per story. I usually just sort of eyeball it and if it looks long, I cut, though as I said, I try hard not to cut names. Where it gets tricky is when you have these weekend tournaments where people are sending write-ups about multiple games, 250 words per game.
    Then you have the people lobbying you "It was a really big game, can we go longer"?
    There was once one joker who sent in little league stories where he started with the first batter in the game and went through the whole game, every single play, no matter how inconsequential. Try to cut it down was tough because it was all in chronologial order, sometimes without the final score in there and you'd just get lost in the middle of it.
    In that case I did the only thing I could do: e-mailed the guy asking him to knock it off and boil it down to the key plays.
  8. jfs1000

    jfs1000 Member

    We run a ton of little league at our shop and lets say we are over 30000 circ.

    Anyhow, type and fonts are your friends. Find out what people like, the names, and then run two lines per game,max of 3 names, and 7pt type. Problem solved.

    You say people love it. I doubt it, the people who call love it and the parents do. If you don't have a kid, you aren't reading it. You just won't call the local paper and complain about it.

    Remember that. People who call to complain or say they love things are motivated. Be vary wary of the vocal minority.
  9. Mark2010

    Mark2010 Active Member

    This, my friends, is the future of "citizen journalism".
  10. Mark2010

    Mark2010 Active Member

    Thanks for the laugh! I feel your pain, though!!
  11. KYSportsWriter

    KYSportsWriter Well-Known Member

    Buck, you're right. Wasn't thinking of the different climates when i posted that.
  12. micke77

    micke77 Member

    KYSportswriter...yep, ran one from the fall. I say "fall", it was turned in to us second week in December. should have clarified by date, but was thinking fall sports. anyway, we ran it as part of a year-end youth sports wrapup page...
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