My welcome to Lewiston and the Valley moment came a couple of Fridays ago.
I was sitting in the office preparing for a hectic night of high school football calls when our sports line rang and I was transferred a call. It was a gentleman who, let’s just say, had a lot to get off his chest.
I couldn’t get a word in edge-wise. He was complaining about the fact that we basically had no baseball results in the paper that day. I tried to assuage the caller by explaining to him that with our space the way it was that particular day, and the amount of local content we had in the paper, it forced me to make decisions that were going to be hard.
He wasn’t having any of it. If you remember the George Carlin bit, “7 Words You Can’t Say on TV,” that’s where the conversation headed. The whole day was weird because I also received at least two emails, and several co-workers said there were a couple of other calls.
All of this is to say I understand your complaints. When I interviewed to take over former sports editor Matt Baney’s position, he and managing editor Craig Clohessy were very frank with me about the issues having to do with this, and how much of a hot-button topic it is within our readership.
The main reason the Major League Baseball box scores went away is not as simple. We changed our front-end system around this time a year ago, and it made putting box scores into the paper a bit of a challenge. The decision was made, before I arrived, to forgo boxes except for Seattle Mariners games.
With the challenges facing the business of journalism in general, and newspapers in particular, most places have seen fit to do away with these types of things. Most places are hyper-local in their coverage, which is positive and negative at the same time.
I can tell you this: I’m no suit from on high. I’m a fan, just like many of you. My favorite baseball team is the Cleveland Indians. (Yes, even some journalists who can be objective still have some rooting interest, although I probably would have to recuse myself from covering any Indians games).
A little about me: I come from 2,000 miles away in Toledo, Ohio. At my previous stop, The Blade, we ran box scores, with a first deadline of 10:30 p.m. Eastern. Not only that, but we also ran a relic that hardly anyone does anymore: the weekly Sunday MLB statistical package. Can you imagine?
So with that, I’ve tried, and will continue to try, to make a conscious effort that the baseball coverage in general, and MLB in particular, will get better. Once the playoffs began this week, we began running the full postseason glance as well as box scores for every game, and tried as best as we could to give you, the readers, as comprehensive coverage of the playoffs as possible.
Which leads me in another direction. Since I’m not very familiar with the area, and I’m not sure what everyone’s tastes are, I came up with a survey that asks nine questions about what you would like to see in the Sports section, on the website lmtribune.com, and on our social media networks Twitter (@LewTrib_Sports) and Facebook (TribSports). The survey is nothing scientific, but it is an opportunity for you to help me shape our coverage, give some feedback and help us improve the product.
While I can’t guarantee all the changes will come to fruition, I want you, the reader, to know I will take any and all suggestions seriously. I hate losing subscribers, and in particular those readers who want to see something as, some might say, “simple” as box scores in the paper. On that front, I will promise you I will look into any and all ways to improve our coverage, not just with baseball, but with all sports, be it on the high school, collegiate, or professional levels.
The survey will be up on our website, Twitter and Facebook platforms for two weeks, starting at noon today.
I’m also possibly considering a town-hall style meeting, where I can interact face-to-face with those in the community who are passionate about and love sports. If it goes well, this could be a recurring event.
My door always is open to hear from you. I already can tell this is a tight, close-knit community that takes its sports very seriously.
I appreciate the vigor and zeal some of you have brought in my brief interactions around the Valley so far. I look forward to serving you and making the section the best it can be.
Walden is sports editor of The Tribune and a member of Associated Press Sports Editors. He may be reached at (208) 848-2258, email@example.com, or on Twitter at @waldo9939.