Sports

With new print deadlines, BND sports coverage shifts to the digital age

Madison’s Artavius Stepney carries the ball during a Sept. 2, 2017, game in Madison.
Madison’s Artavius Stepney carries the ball during a Sept. 2, 2017, game in Madison. For the News-Democrat

You may remember the announcement made back in May: The BND is moving its printing and packaging operations to its sister company in Kansas City.

That all begins with Monday’s print edition. It’s a decision that was made well above the pay grade of this sports editor, but generally has to do with the business of newspapering in an internet age.

There is no skirting the fact that, if you are among those who remain loyal to the printed newspaper, this will have a significant impact on our coverage of sports. The print deadlines will be moved up hours before scores are final and standings can be updated.

Beginning with Monday’s edition, you will no longer see the previous day’s scores printed in the newspaper. You will be able to find them at bnd.com.

There is a hard fact at play here: The world has gone digital. What Zuckerberg and Facebook have done for the spread of information is every bit as world-altering as what Guttenberg and his press did centuries before.

As a business, the BND and other so-called “legacy media” outlets must adjust. My boss, BND General Manager and Executive Editor Jeff Couch, will have a fuller explanation of our future soon. What seems very ominous at the moment is actually very promising.

For now, I can tell you what BND sports coverage looks like in the digital age:

LOCAL PRIORITIES: Through the miracle of web analytics, we know exactly what our online visitors read and what they bypass. Their habits break away from superfan coverage of individual teams and results, and focus on broader, issues-driven subjects.

Our coverage will follow their lead.

Reporter Dean Criddle (dcriddle@bnd.com; 618-239-2661) will continue to focus on telling the stories of our student-athletes’ accomplishments, following college recruitment, providing analysis and previewing meaningful games and playoffs.

I will continue to write regular columns on subjects of local sports interest, with occasional commentary on the Cardinals from Joe Ostermeier, my long-time predecessor who, thankfully, can’t seem to retire entirely. Baseball blogger Scott Wuerz will remain a fixture on the website with a fan’s view from the cheap seats.

Others from the BND newsroom will follow player-safety issues, rule changes, coaching changes and other sports-related news issues. We’ll also keep an eye out for those stories that show us time and again why sports matter so little, but mean so much.

LIVE LOCAL SCORES: The BND has partnered with ScoreStream to track local high school and college sports scores from the start of the game through its final live at bnd.com. On Friday nights, you’ll find up-to-the-minute scores from high school football games across News-Democrat coverage area. A separate scoreboard will feature schedules and results from all other high school sports the rest of the week.

Better still, you can download the companion app to your smartphone and participate in the reporting yourself by providing updates and uploading photos and video. It’s easily shared on your social media accounts as well.

Watch for a more detailed article on how to join the fun, coming soon.

THE E-EDITION: It looks and reads like a printed newspaper, yet is available to subscribers digitally at bnd.com. Because we’re not limited by the expense of newsprint or advertising support, we were able to publish 32 pages of sports in today’s e-edition. This includes all the box scores and standings you want and then some, plus in-depth features on MLB, PGA, NFL, NCAA, NBA and MLS to go with all our local offerings.

Dial up www.bnd.com, scroll to the gray tool bar at the bottom of the homepage and under the heading “Subscriptions” you’ll see the e-edition link. The log-in page will ask for your email address and password. If you don’t remember your password, hit the prompt and follow the directions for creating a new one.

BND.COM: Everything you see in print and more is available to you on your computer, e-reader or smartphone at least one full day in advance of home delivery. Local staff focuses on regional sports while wire services stock our site with state and national offerings.

You can find it all simply by dialing up bnd.com and clicking on the three lines in the upper left-hand corner of the screen. You’ll get a menu of the entire website. Scroll to the “Sports” header for another drop down menu of 11 sports channels sorted topically (Cardinals, high school football, basketball, etc.).

Looking for something in particular? On the same menu, click the magnifying glass icon to search the site for articles by topic.

PRINT: Yes, we will still be printing a sports section. It will be built on weekly polls, game-of-the-week previews, top performances, the aforementioned columns, plus the most interesting and relevant sports features of the day.

All of these options will give readers a varying taste of the sports news of the day. But if you’re among those waiting for your morning newspaper to get all the scores, you will be disappointed. You will also be hours behind the widening majority that gets this information in real time with a ping of a smartphone and a visit to bnd.com.

And there’s no way to skirt this, either: To get the most out of your subscription dollar, hardcore Southern Illinois sports fans are best served by joining the world that’s changing around them.

That world includes bnd.com and the e-edition.

Todd Eschman is Sports Editor of the Belleville News-Democrat. He can be reached at teschman@bnd.com or 618-239-2540.
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