The Bellevue sports blog
The ever-changing world of a sports sectionDecember 22nd, 2011 at Thu, 22nd, 2011 at 4:36 pm by Josh Suman
As you know by now if you’ve read Kevin Endejan’s column, the sports sections at the Bellevue and Issaquah-Sammamish Reporter newspapers are getting an overhaul.
Kevin is joining the news side of things and also picking up some higher level editorial responsibilities and I will be splitting my time between Bellevue and Issaquah-Sammamish in sports. I don’t anticipate it will be easy and I can only promise I will do the best job I can to keep the coverage at the level Kevin has worked at.
But there will be some changes.
The Powers That Be have decided to place less of an emphasis on live prep sports coverage and focus on profiles, features and issue stories that can be related to our local community and readership. So what does that mean in terms of what you see on your computer screen or in the print paper on Fridays?
No more live game coverage: As a weekly paper that goes to deadline 24 hours before hitting news stands, it is difficult to get pertinent game coverage that is still news by the time it prints in the paper. For football, we are left either printing a game story that will come out a week after the game was played or not printing anything more than a quick score recap. Since the main aspect of our publication (financially if not philosophically) is print coverage, spending time covering a game and writing a story that will only live online is obviously not the best option, especially considering our limited resources in terms of man-hours.
The situation will be different come playoff time and I will do everything I can to get as much live state coverage as possible, but understand that some of that will be out of my control. For the regular season, we will get all the scores and highlights we can for all the prep sports in any given season and put them in daily roundups online (just as we do now) to keep the information flowing, even if it is without some of the deeper context we currently try to offer in game stories.
Features and profiles, sometimes prep, sometimes not: This is one of the smaller changes and is really something we already try to do in sports coverage: featuring and profiling characters in our sports and recreation community that have a great story. I’m going to continue to try and find youths, preps and adults in the community with great stories to tell and tell them in our paper.
The main change here is that we will no longer be running complete previews for every school during every prep sports season. Currently, the goal is to get to each sport at some point during the season, write a general story about the team’s prospects for the year and then revisit those who are still playing when the postseason rolls around.
Moving forward, features and profiles will have a broader reach and will more often include community sports figures and others in the community that may not participate with a prep team.
More issue stories: This is the part I’m most excited about, the chance to take a regional, national or even international issue and bring it down to a local level. The goal is to put together one piece ever month or two that is similar to the two-part series I did on the issue of concussion protocol and the impact to local student-athletes in our area. When something is grabbing headlines in the sports world, it will be part of my job to make that issue relevant in a local way.
That’s the gist of it, at least for now. The situation is always a fluid one and nothing is set in stone for all eternity, but this is the plan we are looking at moving forward after the first of the year. It will be different, but hopefully it offers an opportunity to reach a broader audience and give regular readers of sports a different look at a topic they already know and love.
Without a doubt, readers of sports are some of the most passionate and involved of all and hopefully this new approach offers a take on sports that continues to feed the desire for well-reported coverage of sports and recreation in the community. Please feel free to call or email me anytime with questions, concerns, suggestions or for any reason whatsoever. If you love the new ideas, a pat on the back is always welcome. If you hate them, everyone needs to remain humble and I’m no exception.
Thank you all for your continued support and I look forward to the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead for sports coverage in both the Bellevue Reporter and Issaquah-Sammamish Reporter.