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Youth sports stories?

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by ouipa, Nov 7, 2007.

  1. ouipa

    ouipa Member

    All I hear about these days with the small, community papers is how journalists need to write about youth sports.

    Since I'm still a student, I'm a little clueless as to how journalists should go about covering youth sports. It's interesting, to say the least, because I'm intrigued by community sports and the different writing opportunities they present, but I still only have intuition to go on.

    What kind of youth sports do smaller papers cover? How do they cover them? Why is this such an important movement in small-paper journalism?
  2. mike311gd

    mike311gd Active Member

    I've been at papers where Little League is really the only youth sport covered, and they were covered just like the sports from the high school level. And the movement was important at those places because covering those sports helped sell papers. Though we never did see the "actual" figures.
  3. Batman

    Batman Well-Known Member

    For smaller papers, especially non-dailies, it's an untapped market. The big dailies cover stuff on a state and national scale, while the smaller papers do the community-based stuff that parents buy to see Little Johnny's name in the paper. Like mike said, it helps sell papers -- which, as a paycheck-drawing drone, I'm all for.
    And from a journalistic standpoint, it has its place. There are all-star tournaments that draw huge crowds, bring lots of people to a city, and are legitimate events. Stories about league decisions like outlawing metal bats or new age rules also affect people's lives. They'll get read. So will nice features about the half-blind kid who gets a game-winning hit. That's how youth sports should be covered. Do those kinds of stories and throw a sentence or two about the league games into a weekly roundup or community calendar, and you'll get lots of praise, sell some papers and keep your sanity.
  4. Batman offers some good advice -- actually, I think it's good advice for almost anyone. Write about people first. There are good people stories everywhere. That's the kind of stuff people like to read -- and (most) reporters like to write.

    I read a story the other day about a former NFL lineman who is a volunteer coach at the high school in town. The reporter loaded it down with statistics, missing the point completely.
  5. td truckers

    td truckers Member

    We are a 12,500 circulation and cover six youth football games (one per Sunday), a few local YMCA events (Karate, 3-on-3 tourney, Gymnastics) and a heavy dose of Pony League baseball in the summertime.

    Our three guys that make up the sports department tend to think we are overkilling it to a point, but we don't have much say in the matter. I don't mind it, but I do see both sides of the coin on what is always a hot topic conversation in our area...
  6. Ace

    Ace Well-Known Member


    As a paper, you could cover youth sports by having teams/leagues send in results, standings, maybe leaders, photos, etc. Key is to put the onus on them.

    As a writer, you could do maybe mini profiles of players (let them submit kids for consideration, though.)

    You could look for news/trends (Ex.: Is it good for 12 year olds to play on 2-3 youth baseball teams simultaneously? How do families afford costs of soccer travel teams? Why do parents who don't coach complain so much about coaching? Etc.)

    I would not go and cover games unless they were playoff games of some sort. But you may go to watch and get ideas.
  7. Batman

    Batman Well-Known Member

    We're not much bigger than that, td, and we don't do that much. I would say that is a bit of overkill. We usually dispatch the photographers once or twice a year to a YMCA afternoon and run a photo package on a slow news day.
  8. td truckers

    td truckers Member


    We have an entire "community page" once a week and that is when we get sent out to the YMCA to fill that with a story along with stand alone photos, etc.

    We have our theories on why we get sent out to cover so much youth sports, but at the end of the day we don't have much say in it. There is a fine line between how much local/youth and national sports and I think we've crossed it at times...for example, we are told if it comes down to space, no Ohio State/Browns/Indians/Cavs/etc are to be kept on Page 1 over a Youth sports story...
  9. Batman

    Batman Well-Known Member

    I can understand that, td, to a point. You always want to play up your local stuff over the bigger stuff. And I guess if your market likes it, you give them what they want.
  10. wickedwritah

    wickedwritah Guest

    Wow. Are your people spineless?

    So you bump a story off the front that thousands care about in favor of a story that maybe 100 people, if that, care about?
  11. expendable

    expendable Well-Known Member

    Of course, they work just as hard. :D
  12. Barsuk

    Barsuk Active Member

    Look, wicked, there's no room in this business for that kind of logical thinking. This ship isn't going to sink on its own.
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