Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Reading Up

The most common question that TigerBlog hears in casual conversation asks whether or not he has to go to work in the summer.

Obviously, the answer is yes.

It's just that in the business of intercollegiate athletics, the No. 1 all-consuming endeavor is to have athletic events, and there aren't any of those in the summer.

So yes, it's much calmer around here from June to August. Still, it doesn't mean that nothing is getting done.

Essentially, Princeton's Office of Athletic Communications is in the website business, and it's important that information constantly be updated, or else the audience dries up.

The 600+ sporting events per academic year provide the bulk of the stories for the webpage, with a preview story and game story for each. This summer, the OAC types will be discussing what the future of game stories should be, if traditional game stories have any value - you know, the usual stuff TB always wonders.

As an aside, it appears, judging by the vacation calendar, that that meeting will be Aug. 16, which is the next day that everyone in the office will be here on the same day.

Meanwhile, before next year comes upon us, TB thought it'd be interesting to see what the most-read stories on the website were for the academic year of 2011-12.

As he is writing this, he has generated the report that will have the answers, but he hasn't yet looked at it. In his mind, he's trying to figure out what would be up there.

And, of the top 20 most-read stories, how many fit into each various category. He's saying that game recaps account for five or fewer.

Okay, time to look.

And ...

He was wrong.

Of the top 20 stories, seven were postgame stories. This list, by the way, only includes articles, not video, audio or anything like that.

The No. 1 story of the year was in fact a postgame story. Did you want to guess what it was?

Also, only one sport had more than one postgame story on that list. Four sports were represented once each, while the other sport had three of its recaps in the top 20 for the year. Want to guess that as well?

TB will give you a few paragraphs.

Doing the math, if seven were postgame stories, then 13 weren't. Does that mean there's almost twice as much interest in reading about games before they happen or reading feature stories or reading general news?


And if so, is it because there are so many ways now to find out who won the game that reading about it becomes unnecessary?

If that's the case, what should a college athletic communications with that information? Not do stories after games? Write some shorter text with a bunch of notes? Just do video from games?

 The top five stories in terms of readership for 2011-12?

No. 5 was the men's basketball win over Harvard.

No. 4 was the EIWA wrestling page that was set up.

No. 3 was the advance story on the Sam Howell Invitational track and field meet.

No. 2?

That was TigerBlog's feature on Nick Bates, Chris Bates and the men's lacrosse players after the death of Ann Bates.

And No. 1? Give up?

It was the men's squash win over Trinity to win the national championship.

There are some interesting numbers on the list.

The question is what are they telling the Princeton OAC about the work it does and possibly what other directions if any should be emphasized.

Big questions.

Coming Aug. 16, maybe there'll even be some answers.

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