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Know your community

As journalists we’re expected to know the communities where we live and work. We’re supposed to find the good stories, keep people in power accountable for their actions and give people information that pertains to their lives.

Sometimes that information is movie times. Sometimes it is score updates to your local college/professional/high school team. Sometimes it is a story about a politician abusing power or a series of crimes in a certain neighborhood. There’s no secret formula on what classifies a story as a good one, but I think it starts with the basic idea of knowing your community and what’s important to it.

Here in Vegas one of the people adored by the community is former UNLV basketball coach Jerry Tarkanian. The “Shark” led UNLV to four Final Four appearances and one national title and he was, and still is a legend in Vegas. Tark writes a blog for our website, and it’s good stuff. (I’ll talk more about that in another post.)

Any kind of news about Tark gets people’s attention. It’s not much different than a story about Jim Tressel in Columbus. People read that stuff. One of the Home News (suburban arm of the Las Vegas Sun) reporters found a story about Tarkanian’s grandaughter, Dannielle Diamant, who is one of the top girl’s basketball players in Vegas. She’s on one of the best teams and is headed to Northwestern to play basketball next year. That’s an interesting story!

The reporter wrote a good article on Dannielle, a photographer put together a photo gallery and I produced a video with game/practice footage plus interviews from her and her coach. All of this stuff is viewable from the article page. It’s the total package for a high school sports story. I’m not sure how many newspapers in the country are giving a high school girl’s basketball story that type of coverage.

This story went online Thursday evening and ran in the paper Friday. On Saturday it was one of the top ten most read stories on the Las Vegas Sun. I think the headline, Jerry Tarkanian’s granddaughter continues hoops legacy, helped with that. Like I said, people in the community love to read and watch stuff about Tark, and this story grabbed some of that audience.

This story was ultimately hatched from the idea that it is imperative to know your community as a journalist. When you have someone like Tarkanian in the community who is an absolute icon, it’s critical for a news agency to capture that and make sure
they jump at the chance to share that kind of story in the best possible way.

Category: Internship Thoughts, Uncategorized

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