Monday, November 29, 2010

Headlines and College Sports

Having never worked in the newspaper world, I never have had the experience of creating the headlines, editing a story that is rushing to be printed or designing a layout. To be honest, I never truly thought about headline placement until moving to Texas.

The subject that brought up the topic? Football.

Don't get me wrong, I love football, or at least the NFL. But it wasn't until recently that I realized just how different growing up in California was from growing up in Texas (partly understood by a marathon viewing of Seasons 1-4 of 'Friday Night Lights'). I went to a High School where you had to play sports to fulfill your Physical Education credit and attended a UC that doesn't have a football team. This plays a role into my outlook on the obsession with college football in Texas.

But, when I have a hard time actually finding the news on a newspaper's website because the webpage is splattered with headlines about the latest loss or win of the college football team, I get a little frustrated.

Who decides that football is still important enough four days after the game to still be a headline? Why is the score of the game in bigger letters than information about the latest robbery or crime or even scandal within the police department? When did sports start to overshadow investigative journalism and reporting?

This can't be said of all newspapers, I realize, as I am an avid reader of the LA Times and rarely see news about USC or UCLA football, and if I do, it is in the Sports section, where it belongs. I understand the need to report about sports, but if it is going to be a headline, do we need to see the score of last Saturday's game the next Thursday? If everyone cares so much - don't they already know the outcome?

What do other Editing Working Girls feel about this issue? How do we decipher what is headline worthy and what isn't? Do you deal with college sports taking over the headlines of your local paper? Does it affect you positively or negatively?


Nancy said...

Sports, especially college football is a good thing but I totally agree that dragging a headline for four days after the game gets frustrating. It's overkill....

Anonymous said...

Well in Michigan, that's pretty much a big deal ... I was mad when MSU didn't get a chance to the Rose Bowl ... it's a big deal! But is it more important than being frisked and violated by TSA at the airport. LOL

Bailey said...

Amen, sister.

Our society really does focus on the wrong thing (sports, celebrities) when there should be focus on things that would benefit our society (education).