Shane Dunaway: Planning ahead for Times-Journal local sports coverage

Published 9:00 am Saturday, March 12, 2022

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Now that I’ve had some time to settle in here and clear some early hurdles, I’m eager to dive right into the day-to-day aspects of my job at The Selma Times-Journal.

One of my responsibilities will be to design our paper’s Sports pages, and part of that process involves strategizing so I can provide as much local content in as possible to our readers.

When our high school sports are in season, my specific weekly goals for local coverage in the Sports section are the following:

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• Write a preview story for a game I intend to cover,

• Cover the previewed game unless the game is postponed. Rainouts are the biggest obstacle when it comes to Spring sports coverage,

• Produce an “Athlete of the Week” feature,

• Compile a roundup on the games I didn’t get to cover for the weekend print edition,

• Generate one sports-themed column, and

• Provide coverage of other sports-related events – coaching hires, scholarship signings and other relevant and timely local stories.

If time allows, I will do more, but there will be quite a few moments when my presence will be needed to create News content as well. Still, I feel this plan is pretty ambitious.

I encourage coaches to call, submit statistics via email or input your game information into MaxPreps, GameChanger or any app you use to track statistics if I’m not able to make it to your games.

When you do this, if you have a player who performed well during the week, let me know you’d like to nominate that player for our weekly feature.

The nomination is a crucial piece to this puzzle, coaches. I’ve been in situations before in my career where I wanted to write about a player who had a stellar week, but the coaches didn’t endorse the player due to disciplinary, academic or other concerns.

Putting the proverbial ball in your court ensures we’re getting a player who’s shining in all aspects of being a student-athlete.

As a coach, you should take pride in wanting your kids to be featured because it reflects well on what your school and your program is doing right.

Providing coverage for our local schools is a team effort.

Like Alabama head football coach Nick Saban says, “Trust the process.”

The plan is in place. Let’s work together to execute it.

Parents, if you’re not seeing teams get any coverage, feel free to encourage the coaches of those squads to be more cooperative with us and less combative.

More honey, less vinegar.