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Time for a New Approach in Local Sports Journalism

By Mike Drago

Time for a New Approach in Local Sports Journalism

Time and space.

Those are the dual enemies every sportswriter faces in a daily battle that is almost never won.

When you’re covering sports for a daily print product there’s never enough space to fully tell the story … never enough time to tell it just right.

Those are the painful truths in the business.

Bill Conlin, the late scribe for the Philadelphia Daily News, once boasted that he had never missed a deadline. What he failed to point out was that the Daily News, Philly’s afternoon tabloid, had a deadline sometime around 4 a.m.

For the rest of us it was never quite so easy.

In my early years at the Reading Eagle, in the 1980’s and 1990’s, space was rarely an issue – the Sunday sports section went on and on for pages, with special sections for Coal Region football and the Ches-Mont League. Our deadline was more generous than most dailys; if the Phillies were playing in Dodger Stadium on a Saturday night we could still get the box score in the Sunday edition.

That gradually changed over time to the point, after the sale of the newspaper to a hedge fund two summers ago, where it became impossible to put out a relevant sports section. The carpetbaggers who took over management of the once proud, award-winning newspaper knew nothing of Berks County sports and couldn’t care less what does or does not get into the paper.

The staff was cut, and then cut again. The news hole shrunk dramatically. (Can you really call it a “sports section” if there’s only one or two pages?)

And then there are the deadlines, which are simply unrealistic.

There’s got to be a better way to do business, I kept telling myself.

So, that’s why we’re here.

On there are no time and space constraints. That’s the wonderful thing about writing for the web: You don’t have editors screaming that you need to cut your story or, worse, telling you not to write it at all because there’s simply not enough space in the paper.

And you’ll get the full scoop, not just what happens to fit.

The internet is a news platform that’s perfect for both writers and readers. You can read about today’s games today, not tomorrow morning — or two days later. And you’ll get the full scoop, not just what happens to fit.

My hope is to be able to continue to chronicle stories about Berks County football and basketball and other sports and local athletes the way they should be told. To go in depth when needed. To write multiple stories about a subject when warranted.

Web reporting is no longer the wave of the future; it’s here now, running at full speed now. It’s prospering across the nation on sites such as The Athletic, DK Pittsburgh Sports and the Boston Sports Journal. Those sites, and others, have changed the way we report and follow sports.

I’m hoping to do the same on a local level with Take a look and tell me if you like the site and the content. If you’ve liked my work in the past you’ll find even more of it here in the future.

For the next few weeks this site will be open to all; after that you’ll need a subscription to continue reading. My hope is you’ll find it worth a few dollars a month to support old-school sports journalism in a new format.