By: Andrew Phelps | Niemanlab.org
As the old saying goes in newsrooms, every night is election night on the sports desk. The late-night deadline stress is enormous – especially when you’re trying to cover 162 baseball games in a six-month season. That’s one reason the Associated Press is adding a new dimension to its baseball coverage this year. After filing the traditional “game-over” story on the national wire, AP reporters will also file “hometown leads” – a.k.a. stories about the losing team – for the local paper that can’t staff an away game.
Terry Taylor, the AP’s sports editor, said editors have been asking for this for at least 15 years. “This is not new,” she told me. What is new: smaller newsrooms and earlier deadlines. “Deadlines have been creeping up and up and up,” Taylor said. “We said, would you be satisfied if you just had a quote from a player or a quote from a manager?” The answer from members was a resounding yes, she said. “They were more concerned with just getting it fast.” Taylor said the hometown story will still be balanced, just framed differently. Readers can expect more clubhouse quotes from their own team, not the other guys.
Say the Red Sox beat the Royals at Fenway. The lede of a traditional AP game story would focus on the Sox. But the hometown version for Kansas City AP clients would put the emphasis on the other dugout: “The Kansas City Royals continued a six-game losing streak last night, falling to the Boston Red Sox 6-2…”