Time to re-examine high school football coverage

Growing up, I had a passion for writing very early in my life.

Back then, it wasn’t always sports, but it was usually something pretty creative. Sometimes those stories took on a life of their own and went a little longer than they probably should have.

Requiring a certain word count, even 1,000, was encouraged by teachers.

At the time, it made me believe the longer the story the better, but when I started writing for a newspaper, I realized that view needed to be adjusted.

Sure, there are still times when investigative pieces or extensive feature stories or passionate topics warrant extended copy, but the most important factor in a news story is getting the pertinent information to the reader as quickly and as concisely as possible.

Plus through social media, and shorter attention spans of some people, reader habits have changed over the years.

That is why we are tweaking our approach to covering high school football games this season.

Too often, some of our stories tried to tell what happened from start to finish without highlighting the game’s biggest moments and most significant players.

Our goal with the new format is to make it easier for readers who may normally just read their hometown game story to be able to enjoy perhaps each story from their hometown’s conference — or maybe every game we cover that night.

The first couple of paragraphs of each game story will look similar to what you have seen in the past. We’ll still have reporters out at each game keeping our own stats and interviewing coaches and players after the game.

But following that quick introduction, you’ll be presented with key moments like the play and player of the game, most important statistics and an unsung hero or heroes who may not have been written about in a traditional play-by-play game story.

We’ll still have comprehensive statistics following each game story and possible secondary stories — certainly for big rivalries or when the playoffs roll around or when something special pops up during the game.

The changes will allow us more freedom to use larger pictures of area athletes and do follow-up stories on some of the more feature-worthy aspects of each game.

Our coverage of high school football has always been important to us as evidenced by the 228 pages of preview information we provide between the Blitz magazine and our high school football insert published Wednesday.

We are committed to keeping and building on our status as the paper to pick up each Saturday morning for the most comprehensive coverage of each Friday night’s action.

We just want to make sure we’re bringing it to you the most efficient way possible, and sometimes when it comes to words, less can be more.

Michael Boytim can be reached at mboytim@altoonamirror.com or 946-7521