What newsrooms can learn from sports departments

In my last post, I urged newspaper staffs to pick up the pace. Since I’d like this blog to offer ideas at least as often as it points out problems (hopefully more often), here’s one thing every newspaper can do today to move forward and make some progress during these challenging times (at least on the editorial side).

Run the entire newsroom like the sports department.

OK, I’m biased since I started my journalism career in sports and fully subscribed to Frank Deford’s idea that even the best sports journalist would be seen as the world’s tallest midget. But those shorts-wearing, junk-food-eating dudes in the corner can teach the rest of the newsroom how to get maximum productivity – and maximum impact – out of their work.

Write something every day.

If something happens on your beat – no matter what day or time – personally cover it.

Blow it out. Preseason special sections and postseason tournament coverage almost kills them. But they continue to do them because readers love them. And they still put out the regular section.

Run photos with almost every story.

Blog like crazy.

It’s a long-running joke in sports departments that “every night is election night,” a not-so-veiled reference to the special recognition bestowed on the news side a couple times a year when reporters work off-hours and the editors order pizza to recognize the extra effort.

What if every day were “election day” in the newsroom? (Without the pizza, of course.)

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