Sports Editor’s Playbook, Monday, Nov. 15, 2010

Patrick Newell

– As Jeff Genung noted in his Friday blog, I used Thursday and Friday last week as vacation days. Vacation is a relative term to me, and the mere fact I did not have to set my alarm for 5:30 a.m. is almost as good as actually having a full day off.
Thursday evening, I called Greene head field hockey coach, Sue Carlin, for a story in advance of her team’s state playoff game on Saturday that appeared in the Friday edition of the sports section. Fortunately, I never needed to leave the confines of my home, and I e-mailed the story to Jeff – who added a nice team photo to dress up the sports page.
In case you missed it, check out today’s sports story on the Trojans, who again are playing right up to the weekend before Thanksgiving in a bid for another state championship.

– Keeping with my Jeff Genung-themed blog, Jeff lamented the designing of our sports standings and statistics page (the agate page for those in the know). I feel his pain. It is this page alone that has me arriving to work 15 to 20 minutes earlier each day over the press seven or eight years.
Around June of last year, the Associated Press news service changed the way it sent sports information to its customers – primarily us, the daily newspapers. For years, everything the AP sent to us was organized. All of the box scores and game statistics were grouped by sport, and for all sports except baseball, all of the game summaries were together as one file. The standings for each professional sport were easily viewable as well, and typically stacked one file after another. As for the story summaries, too, together and easy to find.
The easy access and organization was tossed out the window when the AP decided to streamline and cut costs. Sports content is now sent to us after the individual games are finished. When all of the games of that particular sport are completed, we receive the updated standings. Of course, every sport has different finishing times, and with as many as 1,500 files to look through, if you’re not intimately familiar with the starting and finishing times of major sports, you’re looking for a needle in a haystack (cue Jeff on my days off). Jeff will admit to anyone who will listen, he is not a sports aficionado. Being that he has to design the news pages in the morning as well, I commend his effort in putting together the sports pages.