For the first time in 15 years, I won’t be covering prep sports this season. I learned this about a one and a half months ago.
When Gannett purchased the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel – thus NOW Newspapers – they turned the web sites and the Journal Sentinel sports pages into USA TODAY II. For example, their MLB page shows scores which are 2 days old because of earlier deadlines.
Then they fired some outstanding sports reporters and photographers at NOW. At first I was told it wouldn’t affect free-lancers and about a month and a half ago I received an email that said Gannett canned the free-lance budget. They seem to think ‘No one cares about prep sports.’ They compared the website ‘clicks’ on the Packers, Brewers, Bucks and Badgers to prep sports. Now they took away TMJ Prep Editor Mark Stewarts’ prep free-lance budget.
The bottom line is just that – the bottom line. Quality is no longer the most important thing. For example, they’re delivery service is worst than ever. I am 68 years old. I love the internet, but I still like my morning paper with my coffee. I went on vacation and when I returned my paper started up 10 days later than it was supposed to. I couldn’t get through on the phone and I emailed a generic website (heard back a week later). All I wanted was the paper I paid for already.
I want my paper, so every day I went to the gas station and bought one. They continue to miss me on some Saturday’s, so when I call, they deliver the Saturday paper with the Sunday paper. They seem to miss the point that I don’t want Saturday’s news on Sunday. I want credit.
When I retired June 30, 2016 I subscribed to the Waukesha Freeman, which does a good job covering prep sports, focusing on the Waukesha Schools, but also covering the other county schools.
If you’re reading this, you know I started a website called preps2pros.net and I did it for one reason – I wanted to write feature stories about some of the top prep kids and tell their stories. Last year I started on Aug. 18 – my birthday – and wrote 51 stories about athletes from Brookfield, Wauwatosa and New Berlin. I do this because these kids keep me young and every kid I met were great people as well as good kids.
So you might not see me covering a prep game, but I will be continuing my web site and will attend games when available.
After-all I am one of those people who still enjoy prep sports.