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knoxhox

SPHL newspaper coverage

12 posts in this topic

I just went to the Evansville newspaper to read about the game. Guess what? They are now part of the USA Today Network and they haven't had an article about the Thunderbolts since October. What does USA Today have against minor league hockey? I haven't checked but have any other SPHL teams had the same problem Evansville and Knoxville have with no local coverage of games?

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1 hour ago, knoxhox said:

... I haven't checked but have any other SPHL teams had the same problem Evansville and Knoxville have with no local coverage of games?

Any USA Network web media outlet is going to favor regional & national content over local news/sports just for efficiency and for centralizing their news staff.  This is an increasingly common trend among small to medium sized news markets, as local newspapers face increased competition from 3rd-party social media sources and pressure to downsize "non-essential functions."  Even where SPHL hockey is the only pro sport in town or in the vicinity, amateur sports news will regularly dominate the paper & web content based on sheer volume and tradition.

More directly to your question: The Macon Telegraph's Mayhem content is spotty at best.  Ditto the Birmingham News/Huntsville Times coverage of the Bulls & Havoc on their shared AL.com website, whose sports content is dominated by football this time of year (go figger).  The Fayetteville Observer website seems to keep up with Marksmen game reports & the occasional player transaction news.  The DeSoto Times-Tribune web outlet does a decent job of updating readers on RiverKings activities, between all the high school basketball news that pretty much overwhelms their winter sports content.  The SPHL town newspaper outlets that have consistent on-line team coverage (during the SPHL season, anyway) are the Pensacola News Journal, the Peoria Journal Star and the Roanoke Times.  The latter has an RYD link in their Sports pull-down menu, indicating current relative importance within the local sports scene.

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This subject applies to the entire league. What are anyone else's thoughts?

Regarding the lack of coverage in Knoxville, the issue is further complicated by a Sports editor (Phil Kaplan - phil.kaplan@knoxnews.com if you're interested) who has always viewed the Ice Bears as Knoxville's red-headed stepchild and most recently claimed "if a feature story arises we will consider it if a staff writer is available." Of course, he also claimed they were stopping all freelance sports coverage and they haven't covered Smokies baseball in years - neither of which is true.

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Evansville has been fortunate that, outside of the paper, the local media has been much better this year in terms of team coverage. I imagine with most teams this simply comes down to the death of local reporting.

http://www.14news.com/clip/14004006/thunderbolts-take-on-ice-bears-at-the-ford-center?autostart=false

http://44news.wevv.com/bolts-win-5th-straight-mascot-night/

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3 hours ago, knoxhox said:

I just went to the Evansville newspaper to read about the game. Guess what? They are now part of the USA Today Network and they haven't had an article about the Thunderbolts since October. What does USA Today have against minor league hockey? I haven't checked but have any other SPHL teams had the same problem Evansville and Knoxville have with no local coverage of games?

It also boils down to this, local minor league sports will not sell papers. If the news in the paper is not juicy then it won't sell. Besides, a good majority of folks are not reading sports pages much anymore either with this snappy invention of the internet.

According to a Pew Research chart I have seen, has been on a steady decline for 30 years, since 1987, when the numbers apparently peaked at its highest. Of course, this chart is not the most updated, but from the numbers I have seen in it, from 1987 at its peak until 2014, newspapers took a 35.7% drop in subscriptions.

Based on the estimated total for 2015, the estimated decrease went to 44.8% decrease.

Smartphones and internet, there is no need for newspapers anymore. You have ESPN, Bleacher Report and all sorts of sports scores and news apps that keep you up-to-date with news and scores.

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8 minutes ago, ShaunS said:

I imagine with most teams this simply comes down to the death of local reporting.

I think you are exactly right. 

Huntsville went from having a morning and afternoon paper to only a single morning paper, then to a smaller-sized single paper, then to a paper published just three times a week in Birmingham, consolidated with others under AL.com.  The bulk of this shift was driven by the Internet, of course, as readership moved online and the ad dollars followed.  I can read AL.com on my desktop without paying for a dead tree or an aspiring paperboy.  Local television coverage survives, primarily because of its immediacy.  (And car dealerships.  Don't get me started.)

If you want coverage of your local sports team these days you often have to generate it yourself.  The Havoc went from providing a space for the local beat writer to plug in her laptop post-game, to having their own staff writer for the recaps, to having a pair of dedicated media guys for articles, video, website, and other needs.  That approach unfortunately leaves much of the information "siloed" with each team.  If you're not already a team fan and following them on TweetFace, you'll miss the coverage.

However, there's no shortage of freelance writers who can flog your team on paper or on the web.  The problem is finding a site with broad reach to carry their articles.  With the decline in general ad dollars and public unwillingness to pay subscription fees, sites like AL.com will publish primarily regional sports that garner the largest clickership.  What may be needed is an admission that coverage of your local team -- good light or bad light -- is still coverage worth paying for.  If the teams want general exposure, the solution could be to pay for carriage.  Advertising under a different name.  A package where a team pays for guaranteed coverage during the season: recaps, bios, promos, and other commentary.

The content is there.  The readers are there.  We're arguing over pay-to-read versus pay-to-publish.

 

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6 hours ago, TwistedBrass said:

I think you are exactly right. 

Huntsville went from having a morning and afternoon paper to only a single morning paper, then to a smaller-sized single paper, then to a paper published just three times a week in Birmingham, consolidated with others under AL.com.  The bulk of this shift was driven by the Internet, of course, as readership moved online and the ad dollars followed.  I can read AL.com on my desktop without paying for a dead tree or an aspiring paperboy.  Local television coverage survives, primarily because of its immediacy.  (And car dealerships.  Don't get me started.)

If you want coverage of your local sports team these days you often have to generate it yourself.  The Havoc went from providing a space for the local beat writer to plug in her laptop post-game, to having their own staff writer for the recaps, to having a pair of dedicated media guys for articles, video, website, and other needs.  That approach unfortunately leaves much of the information "siloed" with each team.  If you're not already a team fan and following them on TweetFace, you'll miss the coverage.

However, there's no shortage of freelance writers who can flog your team on paper or on the web.  The problem is finding a site with broad reach to carry their articles.  With the decline in general ad dollars and public unwillingness to pay subscription fees, sites like AL.com will publish primarily regional sports that garner the largest clickership.  What may be needed is an admission that coverage of your local team -- good light or bad light -- is still coverage worth paying for.  If the teams want general exposure, the solution could be to pay for carriage.  Advertising under a different name.  A package where a team pays for guaranteed coverage during the season: recaps, bios, promos, and other commentary.

The content is there.  The readers are there.  We're arguing over pay-to-read versus pay-to-publish.

Not to mention that the Havoc and Ice Flyers have mobile apps that can give you news and updates!

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The Ice Bears have one as well. But the news is whatever the front office puts there - usually whatever they write themselves and post on the website.

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41 minutes ago, MacGuy said:

The Ice Bears have one as well. But the news is whatever the front office puts there - usually whatever they write themselves and post on the website.

It's funny, back 20 years ago, coverage in most markets, especially in the South was pretty good but the popularity of the sport was not there yet. Now, the popularity of the sport in the South is gaining and the coverage has disappeared.

Oh wait, that's right, we have more important news to focus on like destruction of monuments and people crying over hurt feelings.

When the Greensboro Monarchs were in existence, we had front page coverage on the sports section after game days, with full box layouts with game stats and all the sorts. I miss the good ol' days!

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What I miss about the newspaper articles whether it was Nick Gates or Kathy Gierer or even what Eminian is still doing in Peoria is stories beyond who scored when. I know what happened at the games. I either watched in person or on SPHL live. I don't want a recap which is what you get with brief TV coverage or press releases from the team.  I realize I'm a bit of a dinosaur in that I still subscribe to 2 print newspapers . There are some interesting things done at the Sin Bin. Where else can we find in depth stuff on the SPHL?

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11 minutes ago, knoxhox said:

... There are some interesting things done at the Sin Bin. Where else can we find in depth stuff on the SPHL?

There are occasional SPHL-related feature articles on the Pro Hockey News website.  Otherwise, it's either The Sin Bin coverage or the rare hometown sports beat writer's piece.

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On rare occasions, the Maryville Times has a good in-depth story on the Ice Bears. Other than that, it's TV coverage anymore.

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