Originally created 08/20/05

We won't drop the ball on sports coverage

Covering high school football is one of the most important things The Augusta Chronicle does in the fall. Some readers would tell you it's the only thing they care about.

To give you all the coverage you want in the Saturday paper, we have to make some adjustments. I hope you will spend a little time reading this so you will know why your Saturday paper might be a little later than usual for the next 12-15 weeks.

We try to cover as many games as possible and get as many details as we can into the Saturday paper.

That presents a problem, especially because our coverage is spread out between two states. If you live in Aiken County, you probably don't want to see a game from Richmond or Columbia counties on the front of your sports section. And if you live in Georgia, you probably don't care about the Aiken games.

So we print three separate editions, zoned geographically. The first edition goes to our Georgia readers in outlying counties. The second edition goes to South Carolina readers. And the final edition goes primarily to Richmond and Columbia counties.

Because we have to stop and start the press three times and change printing plates for each edition, it takes longer to run a paper with three editions than it does to start the press and run it straight through without changes. So that means the papers get to the newspaper carriers later and to your doorstep or newsstand later.

There may be some debate about the truth of the butterfly effect. You know, that's the theory that says if you kill something as small as a butterfly, it could lead to the later elimination of elephants or corn or have some other effect you couldn't predict.

But there is no debate about the deadline effect. If we get the news on the press later, your newspapers get delivered later. And we know you don't like that. So we don't mess with deadlines if we can help it.

We think high school football is important enough to make an exception. So during high school football season, our guaranteed delivery time will be one hour later, 7:30 a.m. instead of 6:30 a.m. We think that's OK because most people don't have to get up and rush off to work on Saturday. Most people aren't on as tight a schedule as they are on a weekday or on Sunday, when they go to church.

Of course, everyone at The Chronicle will be working to get you the paper as early as possible. And everyone from Sports Editor John Boyette to beat reporter Jeff Sentell to the stringers who call in results will do everything they can to give you as complete a report as possible.

We even have joined with WJBF-TV to increase the scope of our coverage and provide some special extras on our Web site. We hope you like all the coverage.

As always, I invite you to let us know how we're doing.


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