The Cavalier Daily
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Sports coverage scores high in quality, variety

A FOCUSED look at The Cavalier Daily's sports section is overdue. Part of the delay is that so much of what the sports editors and writers produce is so good that I often find it difficult to make any remarks other than -- good job! Take this week as an example: I expected Monday to be a sad rehash of the football team's loss to Virginia Tech. There would be a column, I figured, lambasting either Tech or the Cavs and an article giving a play-by-play. Yet, Monday's actual page left me with little to say -- neither of the stories I expected appeared. Instead, we were given a realistic look at the Cavalier football team's position and insight into their strategy against the Blue Devils. Besides, who needs to spend time worrying about that kind of loss when we have such other good news to share, like J. B. Cantey's national clay shooting title?

Too bad, I think; I'll have to keep an eye out for something else to write. In the past, some readers have criticized the writing and terminology used in sports articles. I looked but, still, didn't find any problems (please e-mail me if you did).

Surely, they wouldn't adequately cover women's sports here at the University? By Friday I was feeling pretty hopeful that I'd found my topic, but it also turned out to be a non-starter. Friday's issue gave us an in-depth look at the field hockey team and star Meredith Elwell and the hopes of the women's soccer squad against Florida. In fact, the only actual Virginia athletes to be mentioned in Friday's "Sports in Brief" were Jessica Parsons and Jennifer Owens -- both named ACC Player of the Week in their respective sports.

So, here is my take on sports coverage at The Cavalier Daily: Overall, the sports section does a good job by covering a variety of sports and teams during the week, and reporting scores with compelling and clear writing. Even the columnists successfully give insight into the workings and progress of local and national athletes and sports teams.

I do have a few questions and requests. How are the entries in Sports Briefs picked? At first, I believed the column covered other ACC or collegiate teams, but recently, I have noticed a number of disparate professional team and sports bits. I know the sports staff isn't large enough to cover national sports adequately, but I find it curious that they like to delve here and there into a larger arena. Are these entries published because they are facts all sports lovers will want to know? Are they things all Cavs should know about a competitor? Or are they simply something the writers want to report? Could the sports staff put all of the team lineups on the Web page like they do for the football team? Football's chart has been printed twice, but this same care hasn't been given to other teams. Finally, do intramurals fall under sports or life? Life published a great story about professional tennis player Renee Blount last week. Do they publish the info on sports for the common man as well?

Please let me know what you think about sports (or anything else). Contact me at ombud@cavalierdaily.com.

Addressing Some Readers' Concerns

One reader noted that some articles, like, "Drug use varies across county, city boundaries" (Oct. 6), often begin on the front page and then are continued in a different section of the paper -- often resulting in hard-to-follow (and hard-to-find) stories. Wouldn't it be better journalistic form to continue an article in the same section of the newspaper? Certainly, it would. But given the lack of space available to the paper in number of pages and the demands of advertising, it simply isn't always feasible for the staff to lay out stories -- especially longer ones -- in the same section. This also sometimes results in the strange practice of carrying a lead on the front page that is then linked to the front page of another section (like Focus).

Another reader noted that the paper seems a bit behind in national news. The nation and world page published a story Oct. 4 of a tugboat rescue -- already old news (nearly three weeks old) to those who follow current events elsewhere. While interesting, the story also left out some information, like a date, saying only that the rescue occurred during Hurricane Floyd. Perhaps the oversight was an attempt to fill in readers without drawing attention to the delay in publishing the story. In any event, given the many stories and the great expense provided by the AP newswire, better filler and news should be found.

Finally, one reader, concerned that a column was one-sided and condescending, asked me to review a lead editorial on Greek rush and hazing from Thursday, Sept. 30. Specifically, the reader believed the criticism of underage drinking was hypocritical if made by those who, in other circumstances, may appear to do anything but discourage the practice. I, however, found nothing in the lead edit that was unfair or poor journalism. The editorial board quite correctly notes that, among other questions that will have to be considered about the alleged hazing incident, the IFC will have to consider who supplied the pledge with alcohol. This is not a matter of simple personal opinion -- it is a matter of law and policy.

Again, if you have a concern, please let me know. I look forward to hearing from you.

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