You may have noticed a transformation under way at Lancaster Newspapers. We are in the latter stages (probably) of a change from three newspapers (the six-day-a-week morning Intell, six-day-a-week afternoon New Era, and the Sunday News) with three separate staffs, all owned by the same company and working out of the same building, to one, seven-day-a-week morning newspaper with one staff.
Among the less important implications of this is that my title has changed, from Assistant Sports Editor to Sports Columnist. Although my actual duties haven’t changed too much, Sports Columnist is closer to what I have always done, and what I have wanted to be, assuming the NBA or PGA Tour or hosting the Tonight Show weren’t happening, since I was about 13.
That said, Sports Columnist is a much different job now than it was then. I’m feeling my way in what is a new and fluid environment. But I wanted to share with you some of what I hope this gig becomes, in the hopes that you’ll share with me what you would like it to be.
Remaining the same: The one thing I will continue to cover as a beat will be Penn State football, which is really now nearly a year-round deal. If anything, there will be more off-season Penn State stuff in the paper, particularly involving recruiting, which is obviously now a bigger story than ever.
It’s looking like I will continue to have features, and usually cover something live, for Sunday’s paper. Not sure how we’ll handle the Barnstormers when the time comes.
Starkie and I will continue to do the Low Post video every Tuesday.
What’s new: At least once a week (in addition to Sunday) I intend to have a column in the daily paper. Ideally, this will include me going to a local high school or college or Barnstormers game and doing a column for the following day’s paper, whether or not someone else on our staff is covering the game. It could also include takes on breaking national news or issues, and all the usual things a columnist weighs in on.
Something that has already started: When a story breaks during the day, I’ll write a take on it, post it here on the blog, and then it will get posted on the sports section front at Lancasteronline.com. This happened, for example, when Bret Bielema took the Arkansas job, and with some of the Bill O’Brien/NFL stuff. Then the newspaper editors at night may use it, or an excerpt from it, or request an a expanded version, etc.
I have been an indifferent blogger, but as you’d guess from the above, BPR is going to have to take on a much bigger role. Simply because of space limitations in the print product, at least half of what I write will appear first, or only, online, and most of what I write online will show up here. Perhaps elsewhere, but definitely here.
My Twitter feed is @Mikegrss. LNP’s sports department’s feed is @LancasterSports. I have started using my feed to link to most of the stuff I write, plus each edition of the Low Post, in addition to the usual snarky comments. I like Twitter. It’s great to monitor while, for example, watching a big game on TV. When Alabama-Notre Dame got so obviously out of hand so quickly Monday, so many funny people turned to Tweeting that it immediately filled the entertainment vacuum. And when Brent Musberger started oogling AJ McCarron’s girlfriend, well, I’m sure you can imagine.
I’m on Facebook but, since I have little interest in your itinerary for this afternoon and no interest in pictures of your kids and/or pets, I don’t like it or really get it. Efforting that.
I’d like to get into podcasting, and learn to employ video much more extensively. The eventual goal is to produce multimedia versions of features we’ve done in the past. Example: Each year I spend the week of the district basketball finals and semis at Hershey’s Giant Center and produce an online diary, excerpts of which would appear in the paper the Sunday after districts end. Imagine how the on line version of that could be enhanced by video, live chats, etc. This tends to be the kind of thing I imagine doing but never follow through on, but this time I honestly hope to push through.
One more thing: Almost every day, at least during the week, I plan to post a kind of morning briefing on BPR, including stuff I’m working on, random thoughts, predictions, links to interesting things, etc.
That starts tomorrow. I am very interested in your suggestions, comments, ideas. The e-mail is email@example.com.
Here we go.