March Newsletter

Football pages (final installment) March 2, 2010

This long-awaited, months-in-the-making installment wraps up the series on football sections, looking at those sections that participated in the second annual football preview exchange.

Hopefully, it’s better late than never if you’re looking for some ideas on this year’s football section, like how to package all that information into tighter spaces. The first two entries in the series were about themes for some high school football sections from this past fall and section covers. This final installment covers some inside pages.

The key to completing a good football preview edition goes beyond developing a theme and slapping together a cover with big art. Producing interior pages that are informative and interesting make the sections something readers will keep around througout season.

Table of contents
caption goes here
The Worcester Telegram & Gazette’s Hometeam section (left) and The Daily Record (right) of Morris County, N.J., published sections in a tab format with a very magazine-like feel, which carried over to table of contents on full pages, with good use of art and an airy feel.

Statistics/standings from 2008

The Peoria Journal Star placed its table of contents — on the top right— on an information page that also included the previous year’s standings, top statistical returning players with mug shots, a list of all-area returning players and cumulative standings from three years.

The Post-Tribune of Northwest Indiana also packaged the previous year’s statistical leaders with photos, using four action shots of returning players.

Sauk Valley Newspapers featured statistics from the 2008 season with several mugshots and bold on the returning players.


Almost every preview edition includes a presentation of schedules, either with the team pages or in a large package with graphics.

Sauk Valley’s tab had a full page with a week-by-week schedule that appeared opposite of a page with career and single-season records for schools in the coverage area.


The Peoria Journal-Star mixed some color and logos into its schedule chart. The information on the bottom left allows readers to know what games are being played in two of the stadiums used by multiple schools.

The Sandusky Register’s full-page of schedules in a tab is a chart that includes reader-friendly information: Radio broadcasts for each game.

The TimesDaily of Florence, Ala.. had a clean grid page in its tab for the high schools. …

And a full page of schedules for every Football Bowl Series school. Not every football section still has the space to include this.

The Daily Record of Morris County (N.J.) ran a full page of schedules with week-by-week matchups.

The Virginian-Pilot section included a full page of schedules divided by district, and the opposite page featured 2008 statistics and all-time records.

The News-Register of McMinnville (Ore.) schedule page appeared with bold white type on a black screen.

The Morning News of Northwest Arkansas published a full-page grid for the regional conferences, the SEC and Big 12. …

It used that same format in color for high schools, including school names as well as logos for readers who wouldn’t know all the schools the logos represented.

Team preview information

Of course, the main ingredient in football preview sections seems to be the pages that have all the information on the teams in the coverage area.

The Virginian-Pilot packed plenty of information in its one page on Virginia Tech football. Surrounding the feature on the team’s receivers are a rail down the left with 2008 results, stats leaders and the 2009 depth chart; and a rail down the right with the schedule and analysis, including the don’t-miss game in reverse. Across the top are four impact players and one emerging star. And a by-the-numbers breakout has interesting facts like the number of TD catches the previous season for Va. Tech receivers (2).

The Morning News of Northwest Arkansas features a comprehensive “At a glance” box with capsule information (coach, record, last year, returning starters, formations), projected starters, schedule, why the team will win or struggle, crucial games, by the numbers, roster and preview analysis broken by areas such as running game, passing game, line play, special teams.

The Post-Tribune of Northwest Indiana included a feature shot in its two-page spread that also included rosters and other breakouts.

The Peoria Journal-Star’s tight team packages included charts with a five-year bar graph of victories and a format with last season, notable players, season outlook, a factoid, a quote, the big game of the year and the schedule.

The Citizens’ Voice of Wilkes-Barre, Pa., included a lot of information a tab page with 2008 schedule, 2009 results, breakdown by area of the field and full roster.

The Worcester Telegram & Gazette’s Hometeam section included capsule information rather than preview stories, with departed players and newcomers listed among the short items.

The Sandusky Register’s team pages included graphics with information at the top of the page, including big games, key players, strengths and weaknesses. Also included at the top is the number of varsity players.

The Southeast Missourian had plenty of color placements, allowing each of its six schools to have colorful preview pages. Breakouts included 2008 results, 2009 schedule, rosters and the decade record for each team. The house ad on one of the preview pages was attention-getting with its unusual stack.

The Daily Mining Gazette had team photos, schedules, the previous year’s standings.

The Florence (Ala.) TimesDaily’s preview page for North Alabama included a roster, 2008 results, 2009 schedule and five keys for the team to succeed.

The Daily Record of Morris County (N.J.) also had color to work with in its tab.

Some added wrinkles

A few finishing touches worth noting.

The Sandusky Register noted the 50th season of the Firelands Conference with factoids that included the list of champions, state titles and other championships won by member schools, including a breakdown of regional champions.

The McMinnville (Ore.) News-Register quizzed its readers on football rules and trivia both nationally and locally. Question 20: Teams in the state championships are required to exchange at least how many videos with their next opponent? The answer is two.

The News-Register also did its preseason team in the doubletruck with full color.

And lastly, a couple of papers published results of player surveys, which seemed a good way to mix in things like photos of pop culture icons and attractive women. The Morning News of Northwest Arkansas had a double-truck package with interesting questions such as “Who gets yelled at most by Petrino?” and “Who’s the biggest trash-talker?” as well as “Who has the hottest girlfriend?”

Toby Carrig is a former third vice president of APSE. You can reach him via e-mail at tobycarrig@yahoo.com.


Mary Byrne

Mary Byrne


Tommy Deas

Tommy Deas

First Vice President
The Tuscaloosa News

Jack Berninger

Jack Berninger

Executive Director
Richmond Times-Dispatch

Bill Eichenberger

Bill Eichenberger

Bleacher Report

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