February 2016 Cape Cod Times Roundup

After spending most of last month re-posting (or rewriting) old content, Goose’s Gabs is finally back on track with all of my February 2016 writing from the Cape Cod Times. And what a month it was! I got to cover a state swim meet, which I’d never done before, and then wrote my fifth story in less than a year about a local team winning a state championship when I covered Barnstable at the state gymnastics meet this past Saturday.

What made the gymnastics meet even better was an encounter with the mother of one of the gymnasts. I was put on the CCT “Innovation Team” a couple months ago, which is a small team of content-producers and editors who explore different apps, social media, programs and technologies that might be useful for reporters. In theory, our experiences are actually serving as a test case for the parent company, who’ll then come up with guidelines for papers across the country.

The two big technologies I’ve been playing with lately are Periscope, a streaming app related to Twitter, and SnapChat, the photo-sharing app. I’ve created two SnapChat stories so far – one from swimming, one from gymnastics – and during the gymnastics meet a mother came up to me and complimented the photos I’d taken so far.

It seems that a couple of the gymnasts had seen via Twitter that I would be doing this, spread the word, and most of the team followed the CCT SnapChat account so they could see my photos. Even better, they encouraged their parents and families to sign up as well, I think in a few cases even getting them to download an app they wouldn’t otherwise use.

Sure enough, when I looked at the final numbers, I’d gotten about 42 views – more than three times the number who’d viewed my swim photos – and many of them were either Barnstable gymnasts (including some of the best on the team) or shared a last name with Barnstable gymnasts.

We’ll never know if any of this drives traffic to the CCT website, though later we did embed the photos as a slideshow in the digital story. But instances like this, at least to me, are signs that a) we can use SnapChat to reach out to demographics that might not otherwise engage with a newspaper, such as teenagers, and b) promoting our SnapChat account ahead of a big event does generate additional followers and views.

Those are all good things. And as a final good thing in February, I won third place for a sports story at the New England Newspaper Association awards banquet!

Anyway, here’s everything I wrote.

Boys basketball: Canalmen too much for Rams

Boys basketball: Sandwich rallies to edge Falmouth

High schools: Sturgis schools to host “Sturgis vs. Cancer” night

Boys basketball: St. John Paul II defeats Sturgis West, captures C&I title

High schools: Snow wipes out Friday’s games

Super Bowl Predictions

School basketball: Fraser shoots Mashpee to win over Hull

Boys basketball: 33-point game by Ashworth doesn’t rescue Canalmen in loss to Apponequet

Sturgis East and West unite for cancer fundraiser

High schools: Mariners, Whalers meet with first place on the line

Girls basketball: Carly Whiteside scores 22 points in Barnstable’s first league win since 2013

Girls basketball: Clippers clinch league title with win

School notebook: Sandwich’s Collentro will get her kicks at Stonehill

Boys basketball: Happy berth day for Nauset

Girls basketball: Upper Cape’s Amber DiBona scores 1,000th point in 58-42 win

Hannah and Jack Johnson help Nauset swim team reach new success

Cape Cod Classic: Clippers settle for tie in regular season finale

High schools: Swimmers looking to make a splash

School swimming: Johnson leads Nauset at Div. 2 meet

High school swimming: Nantucket girls 10th, Nauset 17th at state meet

Doug Fraser named daily journalist of the year (I didn’t write this, but I’m mentioned for winning an award!)

Boys basketball: Ford’s 41 leads Mashpee to share of title

School basketball: Falmouth to host Endowment Game

School basketball: Falmouth High edges Falmouth Academy in MIAA Endowment Game

Wrestlers grappling for All-State titles

High schools: Barnstable readies for state gymnastics meet

Red Raiders win fourth straight state gymnastics title

Family ties bind Barnstable’s Spalt

Women’s defending champ conquers windy Hyannis Marathon course

 

November 2015 Cape Cod Times Roundup

Here’s everything I wrote for the Cape Cod Times in November 2015.

Nauset, Nantucket earn No. 1 rankings in boys soccer

FALCONS MOVE ON in girls soccer playoffs

Football ties a family tradition for Deshaun Dias

School volleyball: Storm serve up playoff win

BLUE CRUSH: Mashpee dominates Blue Hills

School field hockey: Sandwich wins to gain semifinals

High school volleyball: Sturgis East, Sandwich eliminated

High School Football Preview: Mashpee faces familiar foe

Shibles headed to Fairfield, Megnia to UMass

Barnstable sweeps Concord-Carlisle in semis

School Football: Offensive line key to Falcons success

Schools: Three more local athletes sign letters

Barnstable volleyball team ready for battle

Football: Mashpee vs. Essex Tech preview

Barnstable wins 17th state volleyball title

Video: Moment Barnstable volleyball team wins title

Canalmen face Vikings for 85th time

Falcons, Knights play in Cranberry Bowl

For Jamiels, Thanksgiving is D-Y football and family

Sandwich 7, Mashpee 6: Blue Knights edge Falcons with extra point

Girls hockey: Defending state champion Clippers open new season with new coach

September 2015 Cape Cod Times Roundup

Here’s everything I wrote for the Cape Cod Times in September 2015.

Volleyball: Barnstable’s seniors ready to lead Red Raiders toward state title contention

Deflategate reaction: Cape coaches, players rally around Brady

Football: 1 week from opener, Falmouth displays muscle and quickness in scrimmage vs. Middleboro

Girls soccer: New coach Jennifer Peterson building program at Monomoy

High school football: Barnstable, D-Y ready for tonight’s season opener

High school volleyball: 700 wins began in 1988 for Turco

A RUNNING START: Jamiel leads D-Y past Barnstable

School roundup: Dolphins volleyball too big for Lions

SEEMS LIKE HOME: Ratches takes over SJP II volleyball

High school football: Mashpee ready for neighborly game against Falmouth

POWER GAME: Falmouth football beats rival Mashpee

PIKNICK TIME FOR RAIDERS: Barnstable wins field hockey battle

High school football capsules, 9/25/15

August 2015 Cape Cod Times Roundup

Here’s everything I wrote for the Cape Cod Times in August 2015.

Sweeps day: Harbor Hawks advance in Cape League playoffs

Team Cape Cod ready for another run at World Series

Cape League: Hyannis strikes first in West finals

Spiking for the USA: Olympic volleyball player Megan Easy makes Cape her home

Cape League: Y-D swings early, strikes often

Cape Cod Baseball League: Red Sox cement dynasty with second title

Nauset duo runs for Cape Cod

Cape League: Former U.S. ambassador Bill Richardson pitches for ballpark

High school football: Preseason kickoff is Monday for Cape teams

Running and sliding for charity

Preseason football opening-day sessions attract big numbers

New coach Alfredo Alvarenga focused on developing boys program at Sandwich

All-State cross country runner Callie Schadt hopes to lead Nauset to another ACL title

Mary O’Connor has D-Y field hockey targeting 3rd straight league title

 

Final McAlester News-Capital Roundup

This will be my last roundup of stories for the McAlester News-Capital. I summarized my thoughts on writing and working in McAlester pretty well in the last story listed here, so no need to repeat myself.

Instead, let me talk about how writing professionally affects blogging recreationally.

I moved to McAlester planning to continue regularly blogging on Goose’s Gabs. Maybe I wouldn’t match the five or six stories I wrote each week between the end of grad school and the start of my job in June 2012, but I figured I’d blog at least three or four times a week.

When you’re paid to write and spend all day doing it, the last thing you want to do is come home and then do it for another hour or two. For the most part I don’t even spend my hours watching sports, let alone writing about them.

The sports journalists who get off work and then go home and watch ESPN for another three hours astound me. I check ESPN.com daily and watch the occasional Patriots or Red Sox game, but that’s it.

I devote most of TV viewing to science fiction, superhero and fantasy shows. It’s how I create a clear line between work and home, and I’d like to think it leaves me more energy for the writing I get paid to do.

I started out blogging News-Capital roundups every week. Within a year that number dwindled to once a month.

I also soon realized ideas that would make for good blog entries would also make for good columns. My blogging creativity went down as my professional creativity went up.

I watched a lot of the 2012 Summer Olympics and blogged about them, but those occurred just two months into the job. Covering the Olympics is also one of my career goals, so it behooves me to watch as much of them as I can now so I’m better prepared when I get the chance.

But even that urge couldn’t rouse me to blog when the 2014 Winter Olympics aired. It also didn’t help that a) the United States didn’t do that well at Sochi; and b) Russia decided to invade Ukraine on the second-to-last day of the Olympics, killing any interest I had in watching two more days of Russian self-adulation.

I’m leaving the News-Capital for the Cape Cod Times, a paper that puts its digital product first in a way I think McAlester wants to but doesn’t yet do. And without a sense of how much actual writing I’ll be doing on a daily basis, I can’t predict if I’ll blog less, more or the same amount.

So maybe I’ll have the free time to start rebuilding this blog’s audience, which I’d guess has shrunk dramatically over the last 2.5 years. Or, maybe I’ll just abandon this blog entirely save for three or four Best American Sports Writing reviews each year.

All I know right now is that I’m about to begin my second job as a professional sports journalist after an almost three-year, extremely prolific and successful first job.

I’d say I’m on the right track.

Frink-Chambers to host ORES Area tournament

Krebs approves new fields for Pittco Youth Sports

Midweek Update: Red Oak teams second and fourth in Class B

Class A and B brackets released

Buffs edge rival Cougars

Wells leads Lady Cougars past Lady Buffs

Three Buffs, two Miners sign Letters

Cowgirls beat Haileyville, win Pitt 8

Cowboys double up Warriors

Senior Spotlight: Joseph Johnson makes one point count

Classes 2A-4A districts announced

Seven ORES teams still in playoffs

Midweek Update: Miners clinch conference title

Osife leads Miners blowout

Pocola’s defense stymies Lady Miners

Clift, Cowgirls beat Lady Warriors

Cowboys top Pirates, win District

Brackets released for Classes 2A-6A

Midweek Update: Ten teams make Regionals

Dawkins’ 37 fuels McAlester win

Hugo girls top McAlester

Boys and Girls Club joins PONY

Senior Spotlight: Chase Shearwood just keeps shooting

Ardmore sweeps McAlester hoops

Tigers too fast for Buffs

Lady Tigers shut down Lady Buffs

Davis, Savages win District

Lady Savages top Lady Eagles

Midweek Update: Cowboys, Hornets to play for State

Buffs tennis expects greatness

Know Your Foe: Lady Buffs face Grove at Regionals

Grove knocks out Lady Buffs

Know Your Foe: Buffs face Comets in Tulsa Regional

Buffs golf starts Monday

Buffs soccer goes coed

Weekly Update: Snow postpones basketball tournaments

Buffs baseball ready for new season

Young Buffs track team starts Friday

The journey continues

 

Monthly McAlester News-Capital Roundup

So we’re in our weekly staff meeting Wednesday, talking about the ways in which we’re going to start prioritizing our digital product. At one point in our discussions, one newsroom person loses it and begins to rant about how we can’t neglect our older readers, many of who don’t use computers and are nowhere near digital-first news consumers.

Another person responded that print will always be our anchor, but there’s a larger point that should’ve been made: if we don’t start prioritizing digital now, the newspaper could close in the next decade.

Yes, we have a portion of our audience that only reads the print edition. But our newspaper has followed a print-first approach up until now, and in the last 10 years that’s resulted in a shrinkage in our overall circulation, not growth.

To make money, we need digital readers. No matter how great our print product is — and it is pretty great considering how few reporters we have — quality doesn’t seem to raise print subscriptions.

McAlester isn’t so different from the rest of the country. The largest demographic here is people my age (or even slightly younger), and it’s no secret that my generation just doesn’t buy newspapers.

Many of my generation also seem to think that because information should be free, the news should be as well. To survive in this world that grows more digitized with each passing day, newspapers have to convince younger readers to pay for the news. And the first way to do that is to present the news in their preferred format.

Maybe some old people will suffer slightly, though the majority of our content does print eventually, and that’s unlikely to change soon. But if our readers are that heavily skewed towards the elderly, then at some point soon we’re looking at a massive dropoff in subscribers.

The only way to replace that loss is to already have in place a strong base of paying digital readers.

I’ve been a full-time professional journalist for just over two years. I don’t think the News-Capital will be the only stop in my career, and I know whatever job I get next will either require me to have these digital-first skills or at least look more favorably upon me for having them.

I get that people who’ve been working here a lot longer are more deeply set in their ways. I’d hope a desire to best serve our readers would trump that inertia and inspire people to put in the extra work, but unfortunately I don’t think that happens in real life in any industry anywhere.

Like it or not, print is quickly becoming (or has already become) the least popular form of communication. If newspapers had been a little bit smarter 15 years ago, they might’ve realized that and jumped into the digital age before it crippled the industry.

Instead, both our industry and my paper is very close to a cliff. And if some of us have to learn a few new skills to keep our jobs, then frankly we ought to do it.

Here’s everything I wrote this past month.

Midweek Update: New school year kicks off Thursday

The Firm scoring relentless against Downtown Detail

Say I Won’t overcomes Late Comers

Local CrossFit trio returns from competition

Hartshorne wraps record travel baseball season

Lady Hornets edge Warriorettes

Tubbs repeats as Hartshorne 5K champ

Friday Night Lights 5K medalists

Lady Buffs softball starts today

Midweek Update: All schools start fall seasons

Lady Savages beat Lady Miners

Lady Buffs volleyball ready for new season

Savanna Alumni to host softball game Saturday

Lady Hornets sting Lady Cougars

McAlester alum named OKC Thunder Girl

Midweek Update: Latimer Co. teams off to hot start

Lady Buffs crush Lady Eagles for first win

Senior Spotlight: Vhitney Garner keeps eyes open

Senior Spotlight: Clarissa Salinas prowls the back row

Lady Panthers topple Cowgirls

Know Your Foe: Buffs head to Wagoner for scrimmage

Buffs fast and physical in Wagoner

Porum wins Robbers Cave Shootout

Coffeyville wins Eastern soccer debut

Midweek Update: Lady Hornets, Lady Bulldogs and Lady Eagles ranked

Demons come back, beat Hornets

Buffs cross country season starts Thursday

Senior Spotlight: Breeze McLaughlin feels right at home on court

Savanna wins Pitt 8 fastpitch tournament

Know Your Foe: Buffs hosting four-team Classic

Pitt 8 Tournament results

Buffs shut out Classic opponents

Lady Buffs sweep Lady Chargers

WSL “Choctaw Casino Classic” tournament results

Buffs eighth at Early Tiger race

 

Monthly McAlester News-Capital Roundup

There are all kinds of sports groups in and around McAlester. There’s a Little League baseball league, plus teams representing several other youth baseball and softball leagues. There’s a softball complex that hosts leagues multiple nights a week and has been home to several larger tournaments.

There’s the Boys and Girls Club. There’s a bowling alley with its own dozen or so leagues. There’s a group of fishermen who compete in a weekly tournament series.

There’s at least one gym that sends people to mixed martial arts tournaments, and a tae kwon do studio that travels for competitions as well.

And on top of that, there are 12 high schools  and junior highs — 13 if you count Lakewood Christian’s small athletics program — all of who compete in anywhere from three to 12 different sports throughout the school year.

Every one of those groups wants as much sports coverage as they can. I get that — I don’t think less of any of those groups for that. And no matter which group it is, chances are at least a few of its members think it is the most important athletic activity in Pittsburg County and should therefore be covered more than all the others.

I learned pretty quickly that you can’t please everyone. Every time I choose to cover one thing, I do so knowing I’m sacrificing covering something else and risk angering that other thing’s fans.

So every day I make choices about what I want to cover. And one of the criteria I use to decide on my coverage is how much information the group I’m covering has provided.

If a group takes the time to send me information, that sends the message that they want coverage. If a group doesn’t, that sends the message they don’t want coverage.

I’m the sole member of our sports department. I don’t belong to a church or any social organizations in town, and I have a very, very small group of friends I see outside of work.

I try to know as much about what it’s going on around town, but there’s a limit. Contacting me is the only way to make sure I know about a particular event.

When I came into work Tuesday morning, I’d discovered that other members of my newsroom had been harassed over our lack of coverage of a certain team. Once I got to my office, I found a press release from another group, which was also mad about a lack of coverage.

The people harassing my boss and colleagues hadn’t tried to get in touch with me once in the last month. Now they were mad an event of theirs wasn’t covered despite alerting us to it just two hours before it happened.

There are people in the newsroom who have seniority over me, but no one knows or cares more about the local sports scene than I do. Trying to go over my head to get coverage is a bad strategy — the people you’ll wind up talking to a) are less likely to think your event matters; b) have had a lot longer to develop the journalistic backbone necessary to tell people to piss off.

If you want sports coverage and you don’t want to buy an ad in our paper, I should always be your first call. I can’t always say yes, but I promise I’m your best chance to get anything in the paper at all.

So when I got in Tuesday morning, I prioritized the group that had sent me a press release. Here’s my story on that, plus everything else I wrote last month.

The two fronts of the NCAA-players war

Softball Complex ready for WSL Qualifier

Firm beats Swag in extra innings

Rain cancels Downtown Detail blowout

Ultimate slowly growing in McAlester

The Firm splits first WSL games

Nothin’ Personal wins WSL tourney

WSL “Bash for Bats” tournament results

US finally catching on to soccer

School board certifies MHS adjunct coaches

The Firm wins men’s league tournament

Schedule released for Little League Regional

Volleyball camp wraps in McAlester

Photo gallery: McAlester volleyball practice

Kiowa’s Doyle signs with St. Gregory’s University

Williams looks back on Hartshorne coaching era

Ramsey wins Eagle Hill tourney

Thomas key to McAlester disc golf growth

Ex-Buff Fernandez reaches golf semifinal

WSL returning to McAlester

Softball Complex field crews hard at work

Disc golf takes local overseas

Lady Hornets edge Lady Buffs

Lady Miners come back against Cowgirls

Locals bowl for charity

Two McAlester Sluggers head to Florida

Local duo wins night-fishing tournament

The Firm wins softball season-opener

Big first inning propels Swag

Buffs’ Sistrunk sweeps All-State matches

Great Balls of Fire announces fall bowling leagues

Buffs, coach win at All-State

Texas-East beats Oklahoma in Little League Regional

Wednesday’s storm floods Softball Complex

Texas-West beats Oklahoma in Little League Regional

Louisiana beats Oklahoma in Little League Regional

Monthly McAlester News-Capital Roundup

I’ve got a complaint, and for once it has nothing to do with my newspaper. Instead, it concerns The Oklahoman, the Oklahoma City-based daily that has the largest circulation in the state.

For those not following the National Basketball Association, the first round of the playoffs just ended, and the Oklahoma City Thunder are still alive. But earlier in the series they were getting their asses handed to them by the Memphis Grizzlies.

Ever since Michael Jordan took over the league in the early 1990s, the NBA has morphed into an entity in which a team can win with basically one superstar and a bunch of B+ role-players. Having a second A-level athlete helps, but it’s not essential.

For the Thunder, that superstar is Kevin Durant. He’s probably going to win MVP later this week, but through the first five games of the Memphis series, he was inconsistent at best.

The Oklahoman recognized that, and after a Thunder loss published a headline calling Durant “Mr. Unreliable.”

A little unkind? Maybe. But justifiable based on his previous few games? Absolutely.

Problem is, Durant’s mom didn’t see it that way. After Mrs. Durant screamed at The Oklahoman via Twitter, sports editor Mike Sherman issued an apology.

Wow. Talk about cowardice.

Continue reading Monthly McAlester News-Capital Roundup

Two-Month McAlester News-Capital Roundup

Sportsblognet.com. the hosting website for this blog, was recently sold. In the process, everything I’ve posted since Sept. 30 has been erased.

I’ve tried to get an answer as to whether this content will at some point be restored, but so far nothing. Almost everything I’ve posted has been McAlester News-Capital links, and those are easy enough to replicate.

Everything I’ve written in the past week appears before the cutoff. See the full article for older links.

Midweek Update: Buffs prep for Championship

Alexandria Williams makes the most of MHS

Boyle leads McAlester boys past Hugo

Hugo girls pull away from McAlester

Free throws help Lady Diggers past Lady Cats

Errors cost Canadian against Tushka

McAlester soccer placed in District 5A-4

Eastern postpones High School Invitational

McAlester season/postseason stats

Continue reading Two-Month McAlester News-Capital Roundup

Weekly McAlester News-Capital Roundup

Sometimes I have weeks where I’m kind of scrounging for stories for certain publication days — Tuesday mornings year-round and Thursday mornings when it’s not fall being the best examples. But this past week I had no problems filling the week’s worth of B sections, even submitting some decent content for Thursday, which should’ve been a light day due to a furlough.

Always nice to have a lower-stress week, and with two player interviews not yet used, I should I have no problems keeping the streak going this week as well.

Here’s what I wrote!

Weekend update: Crowder baseball goes 4-1

Nick Porter works his way back

Cowgirls wrap regular season with win

Buffs Replay: McAlester vs. Booker T. Washington

OSSAA announces district baseball and softball locations

Know Your Foe: Buffs host Zebras in first 5A game

Okla. State report flawed, still revealing

Buffs run away from Zebras

Box score, McAlester 59, Claremore 35

Region Roundup: Bulldogs overwhelm Diggers

Photo gallery: MRHC Mustache Run 5K

McAlester cheer qualifies for State

Saturday scores for McAlester United games