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on Nov 23, 2008
Is this Palo Alto Online Sports, or is this Woodside/Atherton/Menlo Park/Other Private Schools Sports?
Look at the items on the site now. Palo Alto's 48-0 victory last night sits below Menlo Atherton's win in the same playoffs. MA's win garners a picture, a bylined article, and 20 paragraphs of text. Paly gets no picture and 8 paragraphs, cryptically written. The article about Sacred Heart beating Menlo is a bylined article with far more substance in it than the Paly article.
The rest of the major topics are private school sports; Menlo this, Castilleja that, Sacred Heart wonders, lots of Stanford stuff. Water Polo, Voilleyball.
The Sports Video is about Sacred Heart, and the Athletes of the Week are from Sacred Heart and MA.
What's wrong with giving Palo Alto football decent coverage? The last two weeks have been by far the best games of the season, and it seems like the Weekly treats it like an afterthought.
I think there is far too much focus on the private schools in this Online Sports section. I bet the overwhelming majority of your readers and advertisers are from Palo Alto? Why the laser like focus on something else?
True, the Palo Alto football team has played well the past two weeks. The reporter (from Paly) who was going to cover the Los Gatos game (had Paly lost, it would have finished fourth in the De Anza Division), and Leigh game, however, was busy for the former and chose to attend the Big Game when Paly played Leigh. The football games that were covered Saturday involved two local teams (Menlo vs. SHP) and an M-A afternoon schedule that allowed the reporter to also cover an important Stanford-UCLA volleyball match that night. As for the video (only the Athletes of the Week are on video), other athletes competed in bigger games or produced more significant efforts in their teams' victories, and thus were chosen over Paly athletes. On Saturday, only two local volleyball teams were still playing -- Castilleja and Menlo, in CCS finals. In the CCS water polo finals, six local teams were playing (neither of the Paly teams). To say the focus is on the private schools.....well, they're still playing. The Palo Alto football team, along with M-A, are the only two public schools left. As it turned out last weekend, a 48-0 first-round football playoff win wasn't all that significant, in the fact the game was over by halftime. That wasn't the case in either of the other two games. Nor was the Paly football game as important as the four CCS water polo finals or the two CCS volleyball finals. First-round games never are.
You say First Round Playoff football games are never important: yet you found reporters to cover the MA and the Sacred Heart first round games, but not the Paly game. You are the Palo Alto Weekly. I am sure that Stanford sports are very interesting, but frankly we have the Mercury News, Chronicle, Stanford Daily and plenty of other papers to cover Stanford's many sports teams. The Mercury News covered the Paly football games these past two weeks better than you did - and I don't think that speaks especially well of your focus or commitment. Yes, MA is a higher seed in a larger division, but again you are the Palo Alto Weekly. I would suggest that football still stands a bit higher on the interest level in the community than volleyball or water polo (though I don't really mean to take anything away from them by saying that - they deserve coverage).
Please do a better job of covering Paly football the rest of this season. And, also, please report at least occasionally on the success of some of the younger teams - i.e. JV. If you can write glowing cover stories on 14 year old Babe Ruth All Star teams, you can also take a column inch to say that the Palo Alto JV Football team had an undefeated season.
I don't even know where Sacred Heart Prep is.
I read, subscribe and occasionally advertise in the Palo Alto Weekly but shockingly, I live in Menlo Park. Just because it's called the Palo Alto Weekly doesn't mean that they don't have other readers in other cities that may be interested in what is going on.
The fact is - there are more noteworthy high school sports teams in Menlo Park and Atherton then there are in Palo Alto right now.
Also, can we stop the whining about JV sports? Those players - if they are still playing - will get their due when they are on a successful varsity team.
I think the name Palo Alto Weekly is misleading for readers looking for Palo Alto sports. The paper does not focus on Palo Alto teams but instead on the entire area - and maybe it should just have a different name. There was a time when the Palo Alto paper covered mostly Palo Alto teams - regardless of their successes. Many times people are just wanting to read about their local teams (even if they aren't very good) since they have known the players for years and have lived in the community for a while. It seems that the Palo Alto Weekly has outgrown Palo Alto - and there is no problem with that - it just is that the name is misleading because Palo Alto folks tend to think that it is a Palo Alto centered paper and will focus on Palo Alto sports instead of sports from neighboring cities.
So I guess the Wall Street Journal shouldn't have world news in it because that might be misleading to people who want to read about news that occurs on Wall Street?
To the Parent from Downtown North Neighborhood:
There has never been a paper in Palo Alto that just covered Palo Alto sports. I know because I've worked on all of them -- the Palo Alto Times and then the Peninsula Times Tribune. The Palo Alto Times focused a lot on the old South Peninsula Athletic League, which included Paly, Cubberley, Gunn, Ravenswood, Woodside, Carlmont and Sequoia. The Peninsula Times-Tribune covered some 28 high schools, from South San Francisco down to Mitty. I know. I covered those games. To say that any Palo Alto paper should cover just Palo Alto is, of course, ludicrous and small-minded. The Palo Alto Daily News? They cover teams in San Mateo County down to Cupertino/Sunnyvale (ie. King's Academy). The Weekly covers the team within its circulation area. That includes Menlo, SHP and Menlo-Atherton, Eastside Prep, Pinewood, Castilleja, Paly, Gunn, and Woodside Priory. We try to find the best stories and the teams that are making news. We don't cover JV teams because there is no time, no space and no personnel to do so. We cover Stanford and Menlo College because both are in our circulation area. Palo Alto papers have covered Stanford for over 100 years and we're not about to stop now. As for Paly football, the Mercury coverage was provided by non-Mercury writers ... those from other papers in the Media News chain. The Mercury has just one prep reporter, Dennis Knight. That's it, but draws from the San Mateo Times, the Daily News and any other paper in its chain. The Daily News does the same, as does the San Mateo Times. The Weekly does not. We have one writer to cover the preps and one to cover the colleges. That's it. Sometimes we're lucky to have two local high school seniors contributing to our prep football coverage. Paly football will be covered this weekend and as long as its season is going. Before the Los Gatos game, however, the team was in fourth place. Not much of a news story at that point.
I think the point is here that M-A, SHP and Menlo are getting more coverage. Why?
Keith, you mention that PALY football was in fourth place but the Deanza was logged jammed and beating LG was a missed opportunity for the Weekly and Daily. Further, if you have all this experience covering this region you would realize that 4th place in the DeAnza division is much more of an accomplishment than undefeated season in the OCEAN. Not to take away from SHPs great season (that continues) but they would have finished FOURTH (above Menlo) in the upper division, the PAL Bay and probably 5th or 6th in DeAnza. BTW...Menlo was also in fourth place in a weaker than normal Bay division (i.e Los Gatos beat Aragon handily as usual). Oh and the same thing happened coverage-wise last year and PALY beat the super-hyped team from MA in the Large finals.
While I do not agree that the Daily or Weekly should focus only on Palo Alto high school sports I would say Paly deserves more column inches!!! You missed two great football stories at LG and at Leigh (#3 seed). Paly has been to the finals 5 of the last 6 years and if they win this year, you may want to check and see if any other coach or team has won ALL four divisions? Now there's your story!!!
We don't like Keith Peters either. He's bias and doesn't understand the teams/games he is writing about.
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