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More sports changes are on the way

By Staff
Dec. 30, 2001
Sifting through several stacks of stuff on a Sunday while remembering the beauty of Mike Taylor's golf swing …
It is hard to believe, but 2001 is winding down and 2002 is just a couple days around the corner.
The last few months have been interesting ones at The Meridian Star sports department as we have worked to make the section more appealing to our readers.
We have more new items down the road, including a few we will spring on you this week.
The entire paper will have a new design and a fresher look beginning with the Jan. 1 edition. On the same day the sports section will unveil a new item that we have named SIDELINES.
SIDELINES will run one column all the way down the side of one of the sports section's inside pages. It will usually run on the high school page on Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Sundays. This page includes the scores and schedules for area high school teams and also the prep notebook.
On Tuesdays it will usually run on the junior college page, which features the juco notebook and on Saturdays it will most often run on the soon-to-come college page. We had hopes to begin the college page on Jan. 5, but Jan. 12 is looking more like the kickoff day. That page will feature scores and schedules from men's and women's teams of the state's SEC and SWAC schools, as well as the University of West Alabama and the University of Alabama. A college notebook will also be a part of the package.
But, enough of that and back to SIDELINES.
There will be several components to SIDELINES. Some of them will vary from day-to-day, but there are several basic parts that will be interchangeable.
Among them are: Say That Again; The Question; The Answer; By the Numbers; Must See; A Closer Look; Sports Faces; and Star Tracking.
Here is a brief explanation of what each of these components are.
Say That Again is simply a quote that is worth reading again. It may come from a wire story, a local story or from the past.
The Question will be a question about a sports subject of interest. It could be trivia or it could be something intriguing about one of the local schools. The Answer, which will appear near the bottom of the column, is simply the answer to The Question.
Those wishing to submit questions can do so be e-mail at abishop@themeridianstar.com, by fax at 485-1275 or by regular mail at Sports Department, The Meridian Star, P.O. Box 1591, Meridian, MS, 39301.
By The Numbers will be a closer examination of scores and stats that have already appeared in the sports pages or have not yet been published.
Must See will be information about an event to be held within driving distance of East Mississippi/West Alabama that would be worth readers checking out.
A Closer Look will take a look back at something significant that happened within the past few days.
Star Tracking, which will run each day, will take a look at what appeared on the sports pages of The Meridian Star one year ago, five years ago and 10 years ago.
The last item, Sports Faces, may be the most interesting. This one will develop as we go along, but the goal is to run it each day. It will anchor the bottom of the column.
It will be a short item probably three or four paragraphs about someone involved in sports. It could be a player, coach, referee, concession stand worker, clock operator, ticket taker, mom, dad or grandparent.
It will include a small mug shot and will be similar to the One of Us that currently runs in the news section each day, but it will have a couple of different twists to it.
You will begin to see several more changes to the sports section over the next few weeks in addition to SIDELINES. I have begun to write my column on a regular basis and more will be added.
Stan Torgerson will return to the sports pages of The Star this Thursday and we will be adding a new NASCAR column that should begin soon.
Also several staff writers, including Josh Taylor, Jeff Byrd, Marty Stamper and Fredie Carmichael will have a column at least once a month. Several other prominent sports personalities, including Lindsay Hall of WTOK and Mike Scruggs of WMDN/WGBC will also be invited to contribute.
The idea is to provide the readers with interesting ideas from several different perspectives.
Also, more features will appear. We have begun to run the Prep Spotlights more often, which are features on high school players. You will also see On Campus (which is a feature story about college players) more often, as well as another feature we are bringing back to life Juco Focus. That will be a feature story about area junior college players.
Another feature, which may be a couple of months down the road, is Back In Time. This will take a couple of different approaches. One will be a "where are they now" type story, which will have us updating the readers on the status of area athletes who are no longer in the local limelight. Another angle will be a look back at big games from the past and teams that have been forgotten.
We are also interested in ideas about what would make good subjects for these stories. You can send those ideas to the numbers listed above.
Our hope is that each day you just can't wait to pick up The Meridian Star sports section to see what is in it, because it might just be you, someone you know or something you were wondering about.
Austin Bishop is Regional Sports Director of the East Mississippi Group and oversees the direction of four sports departments, including The Meridian Star. You can e-mail him at abishop@themeridianstar or reach him by phone weekday mornings at 693-1551, ext. 3234.

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