Across the Universe: March madness and sports – to a local flavor (opinion)
Back in November, I made a couple announcements — one meant to be permanent, the other interim — about the future of the Sierra Sun and North Lake Tahoe Bonanza.
First, for my “fans” — a tongue-in-cheek way to politely label those who dislike (hate?) me or our operations — don’t worry, the part where I’m stepping down as editor is true, and come April 1, there will be someone else with whom you can engage.
The interim part is relative to sports coverage. Whether it’s preps like Incline basketball, Truckee wrestling or North Tahoe skiing, we stopped publishing local sports content last November.
Likewise, we’ve cut back other sports coverage that we’ve traditionally devoted plenty of “ink” to, whether it’s youth ski racing, local X-Games athletes, World Cup ski racing and any other sort of adventure racing.
We’ve made a point to continue publishing features on outdoor recreation and adventure, because at the end of the day, having fun outside is one of the main reasons why we all live and play (and visit) here, and no competition is needed.
Still, since around Thanksgiving, there’s been a noticeable omission from our content, and it’s been sports coverage. Without belaboring the point, the simple reason for this is because we’ve been amid a period of staff transition within the newsroom, and prior to the turn of the new year, we were down 66 percent of our news staff across both the Bonanza and Sun papers. In reality, that meant one full-time reporter instead of three.
Nowadays, we’re up to 66 percent of our staff filled, and we’re benefiting greatly from the hard-nosed news and environmental reporting from Amanda Rhoades, and our more recent feature-focused entertainment and health & wellness coverage of Cassandra Walker.
As Meatloaf would agree, two out of three ain’t bad. But, while on the subject of metaphors, we’re still missing the third part of our newsroom coverage tripod.
Originally, our goal was to have a new hire on board by January, but due to issues beyond on our control — coupled with the momentum-crippling challenge of running a business during these power-draining, rain-soaking, traffic-stunting winter storms of recent weeks — we’re still down 33 percent of our staff.
So, the recruitment continues, and our goal remains to fill that position as soon as we can — with the best candidate.
In the meantime, as a sports nut myself (notably, I am a former sports editor, and I’m a life-long Detroit Lions fan, so you can’t question my commitment), it’s not been an easy pill to swallow to not devote time to getting sports coverage online and in print.
So, my pledge to you all is this — starting the month of March, we will re-introduce regular sports coverage in the Sierra Sun and North Lake Tahoe Bonanza. Will it be as robust and in-depth as years past? I will be honest and say “no.” Did we miss pretty much an entire winter preps season for our three local high schools? We sure did. Have we missed out on the great accomplishments so far this winter from local winter sports heroes like Travis Ganong, Stacey Cook and others? Yes, unfortunately, again.
But the past, as unpleasant as it might be for some, is what it was. Moving forward, we’re committing to spending time with local parents, coaches and friends to publishing your photos and story submissions. So please, for those of you who have not already, start blowing up my email inbox, and in due time, we’ll make sure we get you published.
Kevin MacMillan is managing editor of the Sierra Sun and North Lake Tahoe Bonanza. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call his desk at 530-550-2652.