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Youth sports stories?

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

  1. td truckers

    td truckers Member

    Hey I hear ya wicked...just wish some other people did sometimes. Like I said, it's a fine line and its very frustrating sometimes but when its getting handed down by the owner of the paper, our opinion seems to matter little.

    As far as giving the market what it wants, I'd say it's probably split down the middle in terms of praise/complaints for youth sports (at least the ones that actually make it to us)...
  2. mike311gd

    mike311gd Active Member

    When I was paginating last year, I caught a lot of heat for putting a local photo -- a stand alone, JV basketball photo -- below the fold and playing a national story on the center.
  3. Cansportschick

    Cansportschick Active Member

    ouipa, I am the Assignment Editor for the publication that I write for. Therefore, I make the decisions on what stories get covered.

    We cater to what our readers want to read about. In terms of sports, there is a big soccer, football, hockey and basketball following; therefore, we dedicate the sports sectionfour times out of the year (Sept for Football, October for Soccer, November for basketball and December for Hockey) to the popular sports.

    Now if we get wind of a hot story, we go and cover it, whether the sport is popular or not. Just recently, we covered a volleyball story on a transfer student who got their ineligibility overturned to the provincial athletic association. Therefore, we covered it because of the effects of this ruling for other sports. Also, we did a piece on baseball playoffs because of an issue that took place with scheduling. And even though basketball is common to cover, there is a story that is currently being worked on about 5-6 kids who left one private school to join a big public school and we had to uncover the reasons because it was quite shocking.

    Also, we tend to do different player profiles than the ones you see in newspapers. We do profiles on shining stars who excel on the field/court and off it as well (school, extracurricular activities, jobs, student council...etc)

    Our major goal is to be a positive paper and promote positive stories for all youths. However, we know that at times it is not possible.

    However, with that in mind, we try to gravitate to what the readers want to see more of and what sports they are most interested in reading about.
  4. wickedwritah

    wickedwritah Guest

    Heat from whom, Mike? Your boss(es)? The community?

    Define "national story." Was there a local hook?

    Sounds like TD is in Ohio (he semi-outed himself by mentioning Browns, Buckeyes, etc.). If I were in northeast Ohio and I had to hunt for a Browns story since a biddy basketball tournament story was on the front, I'd be pissed.
  5. Mystery_Meat

    Mystery_Meat Guest

    Maybe at the highest levels of management there's some hoary sense of working to grow the brand with increased coverage of youth sports, but in the trenches they get covered to shut up the squeakiest wheel, which inevitably is spinning about one of the most insignificant story ideas.

    It'd be nice to see exactly WHAT youth sports parents want out of the newspaper in terms of youth coverage. From my experience, I doubt they'd care one way or another about big-picture stories or long features about other people. They're in it for the glory of their kids1. And sometimes their neighbors' or siblings' kids. And sometimes their kids' friends. But that's about it. Run the Little League team photo that has their son in the front row or a story about how their daughter's U-11 soccer team needs donations to get them to Fresno for the Raisin The Roof Soccer Festival, and you've covered all the youth sports they want to read. Until the daughter's team finishes third in the Golden division, of course.

    Here's the question I think we need to be asking SEs and/or SEs need to be asking the next layer of management: Are we chefs or cooks? Chefs set the menu based on what they think works for their customers that night. Cooks wait to get an order and fill it accordingly. Is small-paper sports reporting going to devolve to the point where stories are parsed out and written on a first-demand, first-serve basis? In many ways, it already is; it just hasn't been spelled out explicitly yet. But we've all written features or covered games because one parent made the right call to the right person. If it makes that squeaky wheel happy2, then it's easier to do it, right? And since nobody calls to complain about the wire coverage, that means nobody reads it. Has to, right?

    1 -- And by "the glory of their kids," I of course mean "the reflected glow directed towards them from the glory of their kids." But I'm not telling you anything you didn't already know.
    2 -- You'll never make them happy, you know. The more you write about them, the more they expect it and the more they'll expect the next time. Writing those stories is equivalent to spraying gasoling to put out a fire because it's liquid.
  6. wickedwritah

    wickedwritah Guest

    Youth sports belong at the weekly level.


    Maybe a page once each week in the daily -- the Nashua, N.H., paper does a decent job with something like this -- but that's all.

    My opinion on this has evolved quite a bit, mostly as I've worked my way up from weeklies to dailies.

    When I was at an urban neighborhood weekly, we covered the crap out of Little League, etc., just because we had nothing else, and the kids at the local high school were mostly bussed in from out of the area.
  7. ouipa

    ouipa Member

    Ha. That'll be a small miracle. We can't even get high schools to send in stats before our Thursday stat page.
  8. mike311gd

    mike311gd Active Member

    Heat from the ME and publisher. I forget what the "national" story was, but it was an NFL feature on the "local" team, about three hours away. It was nothing breaking, but on a slow news day, I thought art with a story was a better centerpiece than unidentified players on a JV basketball team.

    Apparently I was wrong.
  9. wickedwritah

    wickedwritah Guest

    Your ME/publisher ... pandering folks, they are.
  10. Barsuk

    Barsuk Active Member

    Time to polish up the ol' resume, Michael.
  11. mike311gd

    mike311gd Active Member

    I prefer to use the words "Stupid, homer motherfuckers." I think it has a better ring.

    That was one of many, many, many things we disagreed upon. I left that shop a little less than a year ago, and that wasn't even close to what fueled the fire.
  12. Tom Petty

    Tom Petty Guest

    here's the answer: find out before you accept a job if the paper offering demands youth coverage. if it does, you can tell them to go fuck themselves. if it does and you take the job, tough shit.

    it seems pretty simple.
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