Sports

'Palo Alto Sports Online' launches

Interactive Web page devoted exclusively to local Palo Alto-area sports

An online sports page devoted to local sports is being launched Friday, Sept. 7, as part of Palo Alto Online, the Weekly's community-based Web site.

The site will feature video interviews with players and latest scores, stats and contributions from student journalists, players and fans, Weekly Publisher Bill Johnson announced. It is designed to respond to "passionate and tech-savvy" local sports fans and participants.

The interactive site will feature innovative use of video technology and databases to provide everything from late-breaking news about games to technology that allows any sports team to create a "team page," with game schedules, results, stats, videos and photos.

"Parents, coaches and players may submit game scores as soon as a game is over -- or even during a game -- and they will immediately appear online, along with comments or stats from the game," Johnson said of the new feature, which has been under development for several months. The site is at http://www.PASportsOnline.com .

Photos and short videos can be submitted by the public and will appear on the site via YouTube. Videos will also be posted by Palo Alto Weekly and Palo Alto Online staff members.

Parents will even be able to post sideline photos.

The site already includes a complete schedule of local sports events, including high school, Stanford and any other games that users choose to enter, as a further extension of the "citizen journalism" concept being explored on Palo Alto Online, he said.

Middle school and recreation leagues may add their information to the site as well, and even private club teams can post information on team tryouts.

This fall, high-school correspondents will use video cameras to cover Palo Alto and Gunn football games and prepare video highlights of the games, as well as video interviews with players and coaches. Other sports will be added over time, Johnson said.

"Our local sports community is passionate and tech-savvy, and we are excited about providing a rich and interactive way to report on sports in the Palo Alto area," Johnson said.

"Unlike traditional newspaper reporting, where space is limited and we don't have the resources to cover all levels of sports, PA Sports Online will have unlimited space -- and the possibilities and opportunities are almost endless with active participation by the community," he said.

Keith Peters, the Weekly's longtime sports editor who this year is observing his 41st year of covering sports in the Palo Alto/Stanford area, said the new sports Web site "is like nothing we've ever done before."

It represents "the next age of journalism -- and I've seen it all" in terms of technology, from an ancient Underwood typewriter to a primitive "Portabubble" remote computer (a suitcase-size combination laptop and typewriter with a tiny screen), Peters said.

The new site "gives us the opportunity to cover sports better and in a more timely way, and on a daily basis," Peters said. Peters wrote for the Palo Alto Times from 1967 until it became the Peninsula Times Tribune in 1979. After the paper was closed down in 1993, he joined the Palo Alto Weekly as sports editor.

A group of student interns helped develop the site over the summer and provided valuable feedback about the approach and content, he emphasized.

Johnson said high-school juniors and seniors interested in becoming part of the online sports-reporting team (requiring a commitment of 10 to 15 hours a week) should contact Online Editor Tyler Hanley at editor@paweekly.com.

— Palo Alto Weekly staff

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