Why don’t the Newsleaders (St. Joseph and Sartell-St. Stephen) cover a wider variety of sports on a regular basis?
That question was asked by a St. Joseph resident, Zach Meyer, in a letter to editor in this newspaper, Jan. 20 edition.
And it’s a good question.
The Newsleader management and staff would like very much to offer that kind of comprehensive sports coverage, but – unfortunately – it is an impossibility at this time and probably well into the foreseeable future.
The two Newsleaders are small, tabloid-sized newspapers, usually containing from 8 to 12 pages. That is because Von Meyer Publishing Inc., which owns and operates the Newsleaders, has long been a small company without the substantial financial resources of a big company.
In addition, we don’t publish daily or weekly; we publish on the first and third Fridays of every month, which compounds the lack-of-space problem.
The St. Joseph Newsleader was founded in 1989, and the Sartell-St. Stephen Newsleader in 1995.
The two newspapers do occasionally cover sports triumphs, such as when a team competes and/or wins at a state tournament. However, other than reporting on those highlights, it’s just impossible to do so in every news edition. The two major reasons why are these: a lack of space (limited amount of pages); and not enough reporters to cover all sports. It would take probably about five reporters to accomplish such comprehensive coverage, and even if there were five such reporters on staff, it would be a futile effort because that many sports stories could simply not fit into an 8- to 12-page paper.
Those reasons are exacerbated by another factor. For example, let’s say a Newsleader reporter wrote a story about a high-school volleyball game. Other parents, students, coaches not connected to volleyball would want to know why we did not cover the latest tennis match or softball game or hockey game or soccer game or . . . We would likely be accused of favoritism, one sport over another.
That kind of discontent happens even at large papers in which, according to some sports enthusiasts, enough coverage is never “enough.”
We totally sympathize with those who are unhappy and discontent with our spotty sports coverage. We also understand completely how sports of all kinds play such a key and important role in the lives of so many, many people; how sports can foster character/leadership skills in young people, not to mention how much fun it is for proud parents, friends and relatives to go to a game and cheer on their teams.
Sports are an all-American preoccupation and passion. If it were possible for the Newsleaders to reflect that kind of passion in stories in every edition of the newspapers, we would surely be eager and happy to do so.
We hope our readers understand there is just no way, under current space and staff constraints, that we can offer comprehensive sports coverage.