|Testy Copy Editors
|From the cheap seats
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|Author:||J Kaufman [ Wed Mar 16, 2011 11:00 am ]|
|Post subject:||From the cheap seats|
As the old saying goes in newsrooms, every night is election night on the sports desk. The late-night deadline stress is enormous — especially when you’re trying to cover 162 baseball games in a six-month season. That’s one reason the Associated Press is adding a new dimension to its baseball coverage this year. After filing the traditional “game-over” story on the national wire, AP reporters will also file “hometown leads” — a.k.a. stories about the losing team — for the local paper that can’t staff an away game.[Nieman Journalism Lab]
The new offering is aimed directly at newspapers like The Chronicle-Telegram in Elyria, Ohio, with a newsroom of 30, including part-timers, and a sports staff of five. “When the [Cleveland] Indians or the Cavs play on the road and they lose, or they’re not the story that night, we’re scrambling on deadline — either to rewrite the lead or move quotes up,” Scott Petrak, assistant sports editor and Cleveland Browns beat reporter, told me. “It’s a big hassle.”
A good editor can handle a basic rewrite in 10 minutes, Petrak said — but those minutes are precious when it’s 12:20 a.m. and the paper has to be on the lawn at 6. Sometimes, if there isn’t time, an AP story is printed without editing, “and the readers aren’t getting what they want,” he said.
Petrak has worked at the paper since 1995. In the old days, when the Indians were good and the newspaper had money, the Chronicle-Telegram assigned a staff writer to most road games, he said. Then the coverage dwindled to just the opening road series, the Detroit and Cincinnati games, the Yankees games. (“We probably staffed 30 road games during the regular season, maybe, on a good year,” Petrak estimates.) Now the paper relies on AP coverage for all 81 away games.
Why stop there? Ask AP to open an Elyria bureau, and get rid of all your reporters.
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