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Youth sports and a shrinking sports section

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

  1. highlander

    highlander Member

    We get tons of youth sports for one of our weekly papers in a very affluent area.

    Of course there is a need to edit and tighten the copy. The first that is usually mentioned after what the team accomplished is who were their coaches. Just my opinion, but the first thing to go is the coaches names. What did they do really? The kids did most of the work and half the time never get mentioned in the email other than where they are standing in the photo.

    Also in our papers we request team sports stories and team photos. According to our note - these run on space available basis. Everyone seems to understand that.
  2. micke77

    micke77 Member

    how many of you out there are also having to write sports stories that will go on the very front page of your paper/ we're a small daily ( 6 DAYS A WEEK) and the news room folks have taken the lead in giving our sports even more play by putting it on the front. it's usually feature stuff or whenever a local team reaches state playoffs and with a feature-type angle. or say former local athletes who might be going into a hall of fame (and we've got a lot of those.i bet i have had probably 25-30 sports stories on the front page since last summer. at the same time, i'll also write a different angle on the same story for sports and in even more detail. the response has been good.
  3. Smallpotatoes

    Smallpotatoes Well-Known Member

    I've only been fired from one job in my entire life. It was a very small weekly, owned by one guy. I was there for about a year and a half. The first 15 months, I couldn't do anything wrong, I was doing a great job, etc., etc. etc. The last three months, I couldn't do anything right. It was as if I started doing all my work in finger paint.
    One of his issues was that I couldn't persuade youth people to send results. Never mind we didn't have a fax machine (it was the early 90's, pre-e-mail). He was trying to have me get youth coaches call us and leave results on our voicemail.
    I never got much help with it so eventually I was out the door.
    At my current job, we had somebody cancel a subscription because of the "unfair and discriminatory" way we published Little League results. Naturally, the EIC took that very seriously. Never mind that you can't be unfair and discriminatory when you receive dozens of Little League writeups and you can't even tell one from another.
    Youth sports are the 800-pound gorilla at small papers. Short-change them at your own peril.
  4. micke77

    micke77 Member

    SmallPotatoes...amen. let me count the number of times i've had irate parents, coaches or league administrators fuss because we didn't print some of the illegible reports they dropped by..as mentioned here before, we're a small six-days-a-week daily that runs tons of youth stuff and particularly in the summer with softball/baseball...it's almost the lifeblood of our sports section at that time of the year...the problem of being in a smaller city and having been here a good while as I have is that I can't make a freakin run to Wal-Mart or somewhere without bumping into somebody who can't understand why Little Joey's name didn't get in the paper (the coach left it out, sir)...they know me or have seen my column mug...so many will invariably be hell-bent to start a conversation seconds after meeting us such as, "why didn't you mention....yada, yada."
    it's very, very seldom the players. i've had some to tell me they were flatout embarrassed about their parents calling us.
    and honest to goodness as Red Smith is my witness: i used to have a father whose son was a pretty dang good pitcher on the local prep team call me after every game to give his own tabulated stats on the boy; oh yes and seldom would his jive with the official scorer; surprise, surprise...he was pushing for his son to get a scholarship (which he did) and wanted to make sure the writeups reflected how good his son was when the colleges came calling.
  5. Smallpotatoes

    Smallpotatoes Well-Known Member

    This week I was able to get in all 85 inches of youth basketball. At least I thought I was able to get it all in. Sure enough today I received an e-mail from somebody who said their piece didn't get in the paper.
    I can't for the life of me understand how it's possible to have 85 inches of youth basketball (enough that I had to jump it) and still have one thing fall through the cracks.
    It's happened a lot with me.
    And maybe this is an attitude problem on my part, but I'm getting a little annoyed that making sure I publish youth sports and free advertising (such as AAU tryouts notices) is as important, if not more important, than covering high school sports or writing features.
    I once had a guy call my boss because his AAU baseball tryout notice wasn't published and it was the same week I had two teams playing in state finals and some pre-Thanksgiving football stuff.
    It was all I could do to keep from calling the guy and telling him to go fuck himself.
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