Thursday, December 16, 2010

Where are the late scores?

Deep into the second week of our production move to Troy, the biggest complaint is the one we knew from the first days of planning that we'd be getting: How come no late sports scores?

We now go to press at 9:30 p.m., right around the time many of the evening's contests are drawing to a close. Some results are immediately posted to our website. Some go up before dawn the next morning. But none are in the print edition, which understandly doesn't sit well with those relatively hearty few who enjoy scanning the box scores with their breakfast.

As a former sports editor, it pains me to admit that for years independent research has revealed that a sports section traditionally ranks among the least-read in a newspaper. But those who do read it are loyal.

Naturally, the last thing a publisher wants to do is alienate loyal readers. But, as noted in my recent blog, the newspaper world is changing and our company is on the front lines of the digital conversion. In adjusting to and taking a lead role in this brave new world, we've had to make a series of financial efficiencies and print content compromises, not the least of which has been closing our pressroom and having our sister company in Troy print our paper, which in turn has meant going to press a lot earlier. Thus, no late scores in print.

Our sports department continues to publish an interesting statistics page (or pages) each day. Meanwhile, scores and stories (including local events) that aren't in today's paper will be in tomorrow's (hopefully, with more depth).

It's not perfect, I know, especially for those who want their box scores with their Wheaties.

It does, however, fit into our Digital First philosophy, one which we believe will serve our readers and advertisers well today and well into the future.
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