Vance: One season down, more yet to come
One down, many, many more — I hope — to go.
I just completed my first high school sports season with the West Linn Tidings, and while I was clearly not the fastest, strongest or fittest, I hope there are many, many more seasons to come because I thoroughly enjoyed it.
Since I took over as sports editor here (and at the Lake Oswego Review) in mid-December, I covered more than 50 different games, matches and meets. I met and established relationships with a bundle of head coaches and athletic directors. I shot uncounted thousands of photos, posted nearly 70 online slideshows and conducted almost 200 interviews with local athletes.
In addition, I began to establish what the "other" part of my job looks like. In addition to working as sports editor for West Linn and Lake Oswego, I also serve in the newly created position of Prep Sports Editor for Pamplin Media Group. Pamplin Media Group is the parent company of the West Linn Tidings; it owns more than 20 weekly, bi-weekly and monthly newspapers, including more than 15 that cover high school sports on a regular basis.
What you see every week in the printed version of the West Linn Tidings represents the traditional sports editor part of my job. It's getting out the door of the office to see the great athletes of West Linn in action, to shoot their photos, record their words and tell their stories.
That "other" piece of my job — the Prep Sports Editor piece — is more evident on our website, where I produce and post a myriad of additional items every week, including league scores and standings, previews and overviews of big games and events, big photo galleries with contributions from PMG's many other papers, and aggregations — collections of our company's stories in boys and girls basketball, wrestling, swimming and more.
That said, my efforts as Prep Sports Editor have shown themselves in our paper product, too. One of my first priorities in this new position was to engender coordination (story and photo sharing) between our company's many papers. In addition to the Tidings and Review, our company also owns papers that cover every other school in the Three Rivers League. There's The Times, covering Tigard, Tualatin and Sherwood, the Newberg Graphic and the Canby Herald.
What that means to you, our valued readers, is that you'll occasionally see other voices in our papers, stories and photos created by my longtime friend Dan Brood of The Times, or from talented sports editors Seth Gordon in Newberg and Corey Buchanan in Canby.
What that means is that your teams from West Linn now have a better chance than ever before to be covered in person on a regular basis.
To make it work, when we cover an event that includes teams from two of our areas, our company's many sports editors (myself included) work to represent both teams in our stories, shoot images of both teams and interview athletes from both teams.
It's already making our company's presence in the world of Oregon high school sports coverage more significant, it's bringing thousands of new readers to our websites, and — I hope — it's making our print products more vibrant, too.
In my previous work life in Beaverton, I managed to hack my way through 60 high school seasons (three seasons per year for 20 years). While I'm old enough that I'm unlikely to hit that number a second time, I'm also healthy enough and interested enough in my job to give it a run.
I hope you'll read along.