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Thursday, November 30, 2023
Nov. 30, 2023

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Tim Martinez: Taking our Friday night football coverage online

High school sports

By , Columbian Assistant Sports Editor
4 Photos
A fan watches play from the stands Thursday, Oct. 14, 2021, during the game between Union and Skyview at the Kiggins Bowl in Vancouver.
A fan watches play from the stands Thursday, Oct. 14, 2021, during the game between Union and Skyview at the Kiggins Bowl in Vancouver. (Taylor Balkom/The Columbian) Photo Gallery

The past two-and-a-half years have brought a lot of change, some good, some bad.

And in some cases, it has simply accelerated change we knew was coming.

For years, there has been a growing trend in newspapers — earlier press deadlines and smaller news space.

For many years, The Columbian has been able to keep those trends at arm’s length.

On prep football Friday nights, we had a midnight deadline to send our last page to the press, and often we used every last second of that time to get in as much as we could.

Last fall, the deadline got pushed up to 11 p.m. So we did our best to get in as much as we could into print, knowing we could not get it all in — posting the rest to our website and app.

But this fall, we head into another high school football season facing a 10 p.m. press deadline.

And with most 7 p.m. football games ending around 9:30 p.m., that just doesn’t give us enough time to get game reports into the printed newspaper.

So we are embracing this change and moving forward.

If you enjoy our Friday night football coverage online at Columbian.com or 360preps.com, you won’t notice much change. In fact, you may notice improved coverage as we redirect our energy into our online presence on Friday nights.

However, if you have enjoyed the coverage with your newspaper on Saturday morning, you are in for a change.

I know a lot of people still love and prefer the print newspaper. I hear it all the time when I’m out in the field. And we love that you love it.

But we also think you will love what we can do online and the potential that presents, if you are willing to try something new.

This fall, with the earlier deadline, the most prep football coverage that will appear in print on most Saturdays will be a photo from early action on Friday nights, plus a few scores. Then readers will be redirected to The Columbian’s e-edition.

The e-edition is a digital replication of the printed newspaper. It is available to every subscriber of The Columbian print edition. In fact, when we discontinued our Monday print edition of the newspaper two years ago, we still put out a complete digital edition of the Monday paper on the e-edition and have been doing so ever since.

The e-edition also allows us to add additional pages to the section that are not included in the print edition, and those pages are not restricted by the press deadline.

Included into our Saturday e-edition will be two additional pages that will be dedicated exclusively to our Friday prep football coverage.

So if you prefer to get your Friday prep football coverage in the printed form, this is as close as we can get to that.

Also, don’t expect everything that didn’t make it into print in Saturday’s paper to be put in Sunday’s paper. There is simply too much, and we already have enough Saturday sports news to get into Sunday’s paper. The prep football coverage that will be in Sunday’s paper will be a condensed version of what you could find in our e-edition.

We are investing a lot of time and energy into our online and social media presence of high school sports this fall. More photos, more videos and an improved weekly podcast.

So change is coming, and we hope that you choose to embrace it and discover something new.

You might find you like it.

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