Hey, here’s a battle I’ve fought before: Can we expand the kinds of things we print in our sports sections?
This week I had the distinct pleasure of being part of Wick’s Budget Review Team. As each publisher would begin to discuss the 2016 budget, I made it a point to leaf through a couple editions of the newspaper in question. I saw an awful lot of thoughtful hard work. To restate the cliché, your newspaper is a daily (or weekly) miracle.
One thing I noticed again and again (including in my own Half Moon Bay Review) is what I consider an over-reliance on high school sports. I would say 90 percent or more of our locally generated sports coverage concerns high school sports and the great majority of those stories are gamers rather than features that illuminate the humanity of players, coaches and fans.
Why is that? When did we get the stone tablet decreeing that community newspapers shall cover high school games to the exclusion of all else?
You know the problem already. If you don’t have some tie to the school or team, you are turning the page. It is a rare sports fan who cares about a high school water polo game unless her teenager is in the pool. …
We need to attract more people to our sports pages. Some ideas:
You don’t have to cover every game. I know you will tell me you don’t. But I mean be much more selective. If there are 10 high school football games this season, give us full gamers on … four. The opener, the playoffs, the rivalry. The rest can be briefs. Get the coach or the team mom or manager to call it in. Get a dad with a camera to send you a photo.
What do you do with all that time you spent covering games? Get off campus. Where are the bowling scores, the holes in one at the course, the columns on the new bicycling club, stories on the health benefits of walking at the mall, outdoors features? I know, I know. You say you are doing those too. But I say not nearly enough. I think it would be an admirable goal to cut our high school gamers to 30 percent of our sports coverage.
And look for quirky, nowhere-else coverage from the high schools. Feature the transfer from Canada, the tennis star who made a name for herself 30 years ago, the proper way to sling a curveball…
I know you will tell me you already do these things. Then you’ll tell me you’ll do them again … right after football and basketball season. You’ll tell me folks will complain if you aren’t at Friday’s game. That’s like telling me everyone in your family will be mad if you don’t come for Thanksgiving. That may be true, but the rest of us will be somewhere else. It will be good to see you from time to time.
Oh. And Happy Thanksgiving to all the sportswriters out there!