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Archive for April 23rd, 2012

Sports coverage is a great match for community engagement because engagement is about conversation and sports fans love to talk. We boast when our teams are winning, whine when they are losing and trash-talk with fans of rival teams. We analyze statistics and strategy and fantasize in games that involve both.

I’ll be discussing community engagement in sports coverage at a meeting of the Great Lakes Region of the Associated Press Sports Editors today. Here are tips I’ll be sharing:

Talk with fans. Twitter and Facebook are great tools for monitoring and joining the fans’ conversation. Follow the popular hashtags for the local sports teams and follow individual fans as well. Pose questions to fans on your Facebook page (individually or a branded page). Join the conversation on fan groups or fan pages on Facebook.

Live-tweet and liveblog games. Fans expect live coverage of all events at all levels now. Whether you live-tweet or use CoverItLive or ScribbleLive to liveblog, you should provide live coverage of every event you staff. (And if you live-tweet, you should feed those tweets into your site using CIL, Scribble or a widget.) If high school or small-college writers need to keep their own stats, they won’t be able to tweet or update as frequently, but they still should post major developments live. (And they should explore ways to get schools to provide reliable, timely stats, so they can liveblog more aggressively.) The approach may vary depending on whether a game is televised. If fans are likely to be watching TV while they read your live coverage, don’t bother with play-by-play. Do more analysis, color and commentary. Same if most of your readers are likely to be in the stands or reading after they’ve watched the game. But if the game is not televised, especially if it’s a road game, be sure you’re reporting what’s happening, even if you don’t do actual play-by-play. (more…)

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