Holy Readin’, Writin’, and ‘Rithmeticin’, Batman! How did school days creep up on us so quickly? Must have been some sort of time/space displacement phenomenon due to the total eclipse of the sun or something. Truly, I hope you all had fun-filled, productive summers. I, on the other hand, personally achieved nothing positive this summer.
It is back-to-school time and a good time, I reckon, to fill you in on a few things.
New moms to the district probably do not know this, but our #1 news beat here at your ever-lovin’ community newspaper is the “school beat.” Aside from running a profitable business, one of our most important goals is to get every kid who goes to school here, in our pages at least once before they graduate.
That’s a pretty stiff, or hefty goal, but gosh-darn it, I think we have a fairly high success rate! We do this by reporting on your kids academic successes, school events, extra-curricular clubs and athletics they may be involved with.
Since, well, since forever, we have helped moms fill their scrap books up with newspaper clips containing their kids’ names and pictures. (Even in this digital age, we have found it easier to fill scrap books up with newspaper clippings than computer screens.)
We love to share your kid’s successes with the community, and the community loves to read about those successes!
Recently, my heart was filled with warmth and joy when I read what the Michigan High School Athletic Association published (and you can read it in its entirety for yourselves on their website, www.MHSAA.com).
Here’s a bit from the MHSAA release.
“One of the things that defines high school sports as unique from all other levels of youth sports is the media coverage of our games.
“For most of our participants, this is the only time in their lives their name will be in the newspaper . . . for playing the games they love. As athletic administrators, we have a role in seeing that our student-athletes are recognized for their efforts by providing the details of our athletic events to the media, and by properly accommodating media when they attend our events . . .”
Hey, they get it! And, in reading the release that was good enough for me, but then they went on further addressing another concern of mine.
“First, it should be stated that no single school or single sport has a right to receive media coverage. Even in the smallest communities, automatic coverage is not a given. Media outlets are driven by advertising dollars, circulation, viewership/listenership numbers, and by providing coverage of what they determine interests most of the community they serve.”
Yup. It’s true. No matter how much I love the fact this community thinks of this newspaper as “their” newspaper, it is a privately, locally owned and operated business. A brick and mortar business in the community, paying local taxes, local wages, insurance for employees. So, we gotta’ make a dime now and again.
I appreciate what the MHSAA stated.
We want to get in EVERYTHING about ALL the groups, teams, kids — but there is only so much space in our paper each week. However, we also need to get in government news, police news, local obits, features, local business advertisements and classifieds.
MHSAA gave some tips for coaches and athletic departments:
• Be sure you provide a list of schedules, including starting times, for all sports for the upcoming season well in advance of the first event. Some smaller newspapers may also run sub-varsity schedules — check with your sports editor to see if the outlet is interested in the information. You should also check to see if e-mailing the information is preferred.
• Once team rosters are available, provide that information to your local outlets. Having a roster handy will increase the chances of your students’ names being spelled correctly in stories.
• Find out the timetable your local outlets have for receiving event reports on game nights. Be sure the individuals responsible for calling in results know the deadlines, and the consequences if they don’t meet them. Find out if submitting results for information-intensive sports like swimming and track can be done by e-mail.
And, they concluded, “The school-media partnership, providing student-athletes and teams with recognition for their once-in-a-lifetime participation in educational athletics, is what helps make our games unique. Cooperation and good sportsmanship on both sides of this partnership will give our youngsters memories for their scrapbooks which will last forever.”
So, coaches, parents, AD’s help us promote your kids. We will be respectful — after all, it’s all about the kids, right?