Every once in awhile I get inquiries as to why we cover one thing or another, and not something else. I also get letters and phone calls concerned about why we give such great coverage to some sports and not others. We even have had correspondence and phone contacts about that we give more preference to womens sports than we do to mens.
There are a number of factors that lead to why one thing or another is carried. First and usually foremost is whether the games concerned were home games or sports held here in the area. That is due to the fact we literally have no travel budget to cover games on the road. Sometimes we do travel if the game is in Emery County or we happen to be somewhere where a contest is being held. Photos are important to a story, and away games are often hard to get photos of, although we are working with papers in other areas that also cover their sports at home to get us photos via e-mail more and more.
The other exception is if we can make it to a state tournament. If more than one game is going to be played or if it is not too far away we try to cover it.
The other factor is win-loss records. We try to cover all sports, regardless of their records. But winning teams that are playing at home almost always get the top of the page. In addition, if the game is a pivotal game, like for a region championship or even a state ranking game, we will try and give it large coverage.
Just like everyone, those of us that cover sports have those types of sports they prefer over others. But as far as giving more coverage to a team because they are girls or boys is thinking that goes back to the 1960's and 70's when it was women's sports that always got the short end of the stick.
In the past year and a half we have had, at Carbon High, a great high school football team (fall 2000, boys), a very good wrestling team (this winter and last winter), a championship baseball team (first place in the state) and an American Legion Boys baseball team that went a long way. We have also tried to cover the boys excellent baseball program in East Carbon as much as we could too. If there are any of those sports where we didn't give the coverage I would have liked it was the wrestling teams. We need to work on that next year.
In the same period of time we have had an eighth and second place finish in girls volleyball from Carbon High, a basketball team that made the first round of the playoffs last year and the third place finish at state this year, and a girls diving team that finished high in the state too. The girls basketball team from East Carbon also went to state for two games a couple of weeks ago.
All these teams deserve attention, and we have given them that. If one thumbs through certain seasons they can find what teams are featured more, largely because they are winning programs, not because the sport is played by either girls or boys. In fall 2000 football dominated our sports pages because they were winning so much, while this past fall it was volleyball. Last spring the boys baseball team dominated our headlines almost all the time, while the girls softball team that didn't have as stellar a record got few big headlines.
That doesn't mean these kids don't work as hard or care as much. It also doesn't mean we don't care or want to favor one thing over another. What it does mean is that we only have a certain amount of room and we try to cover the highlights as best we can.
It's a difficult balancing act to keep everyone happy and we have learned one thing, we can't.
But we will continue to try.