February 5th, 2013 by Matt Goisman
(Yippee! Post no. 700!)
I’ve started wondering over the past few weeks where the McAlester News-Capital’s readers actually are. The obvious answer is “in McAlester,” but with no other local papers, we also have readers throughout all of Pittsburg County, plus a few towns on the outskirts of other counties, such as Wilburton and Stuart.
My question is how our readership breaks down. What percentage of our readers live in McAlester, and what percentage live outside of it?
It’s an important question, because I’m responsible for 10 different schools in Pittsburg County, plus Wilburton and Stuart. And lately, I’ve taken a lot of flack because I haven’t covered McAlester sports as much as I have the neighboring smaller schools.
I normally just avoid answering coverage questions, because no matter what I do, I know I can please everyone. But when a woman comes to the newspaper to ask me to my face why I didn’t cover a recent McAlester road tournament, I kind of have to answer.
So I told her the truth: if the team is playing more than an hour away, and it’s not football or the playoffs, I’m not going to cover it. I didn’t get into all of the bureaucratic reasons behind that policy — no need to air the paper’s dirt laundry — and I think she walked away satisfied, if not perhaps happy, with my answer.
McAlester has been on the road a lot since the new year began, making it hard to cover the Buffaloes. Meanwhile, the Pitt 8 Conference Tournament happened right down the street from where I worked, so I covered the heck out of it.
Unless someone shares a readership map with me, I’m going to assume that serving eight different small communities in our area by choosing the Pitt 8 over the Buffs was the right choice. And I know from the Pitt 8 coaches’ feedback that they appreciated how comprehensively I covered their tourney.
I also think several of these smaller schools could actually go pretty deep in the playoffs, whereas I don’t have the same confidence in the Buffaloes. That, in my opinion, makes teams like the Stuart Hornets and Kiowa Cowgirls more newsworthy.
Anyway, here’s everything I wrote this week.