It was quite a first week for our restructured Sports staff at the Idaho Statesman.
Mike Lycklama told you that some high school football fields with artificial turf could become dangers — and one, at Eagle High, already did. Dave Southorn broke news that former Boise State quarterback Rathen Ricedorff tested positive for a performance-enhancing drug before he was removed from the football roster. And Rachel Roberts shared the stories of high school athletes who’ve won and lost in the controversial process of school transfers.
Those are the types of stories we’ll emphasize as we streamline our coverage in the coming months and I settle into my new role as sports editor.
At the same time, we’ll reach out to our readers in new ways to capitalize on the many forms of digital media available — an effort to grow what already is a large, loyal audience for our coverage. We’ll start a podcast, begin a series of Facebook Live broadcasts (Southorn and I will preview the Mountain West football media summit at noon Monday), continue to interact with readers on Twitter and refine our video storytelling.
The increased focus on our growing digital audience requires us to let go of some traditional newspaper content with low readership, such as holes-in-one, results of club events and daily recaps of minor-league games. That will give our reporters — and me — more time to produce the analysis that has been missing from our coverage in recent years and pursue the unique stories that you only can get from us.
Our coverage will focus on the topics that you have shown the most interest in — Boise State football, high school athletes, local standouts doing big things and the captivating people we find across the local sports scene. We know what people are reading, and what they aren’t, and we no longer can spend time producing content that’s of little interest just because we’ve always done it.
The changes in Sports mirror those happening across our newsroom.
This will be a difficult adjustment for some of our readers — and we understand that. But if we’re going to continue to produce the journalism you expect from us, we have to use our reporters where they can make the greatest impact.
I will work closely with them to hone their stories, plus write columns — a much-needed new ingredient to our coverage. Southorn remains our tireless Boise State athletics reporter. Lycklama will continue to find creative ways to cover high school sports. And Roberts will serve as our No. 2 Boise State reporter — helping with football and leading our men’s basketball coverage — and identify stories of interest from the Idaho Steelheads, Boise Hawks, University of Idaho, high schools and other local entities.
The changes we’re making are designed to allow us to serve the sports community of the Treasure Valley for many years to come.