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The Playbook

Building community engagement through Community Sports Reporting

The goal of this project is to build relationships in the community. We want to make it feel normal to interact with the local newsroom. This type of relationship will simultaneously increase your readership and the number of story tips received in the newsroom. High school sports are a good place to start because of how engaged community members are and most communities don’t have enough coverage.

So the first thing that we should do is a little bit of research. Each state has its own governing body for high school sports. A listing of those agencies can be found on the MaxPreps website.

Once you find the governing body, it is a good idea to contact the office to see if there are any local rules that need to be followed. It is also a good time to ask about issues as to what the major stories are going on at the state level. Many leagues in California are adding girls flag football and the participation and excitement around the sport is very high.

Second step: Contact schools

The first person we re going to be contacting at schools are the athletic directors or ADs. At this step we can simply cold call the school and ask for the AD. They are the managers of the sports program so they will be a good resource moving forward.

Points to discuss with the AD

“We would really like to get your program the local coverage that it deserves. We know that the community loves hearing about the teams and the student athletes and we would love to partner with you and your staff to do that.”

“We would like to start by offering a team page that will survive until these kids are grown unlike a school website. If they could send out an email cc’ing all of the coaches with an introduction to you and what the outlet is trying to do. “