Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

What Do Readers Want from Outdoors Section?

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

What Do Readers Want from Outdoors Section?

Article excerpt

Byline: JIM SUTTON

Every now and again, it's time to look at what we're doing on the Outdoors pages. Is it still viable? Is it time to change?

We know we can't satisfy everyone, but are we satisfying most of you?

Which parts do you read? What don't you read? Why?

Let's start with the weekly Fishing Report published on Tuesdays. The intent is to simply get local folks and their catches into the paper - period. When I took over the Outdoors section from Joe Julavits four years ago, I figured this would be a headache to handle.

I just knew that every guide in four counties would call in their catches. It is free advertising. I feared they'd push out regular folks with nice fish and good stories or the grandkids' first catch. It hasn't worked out that way.

Very few of our local guides call in or e-mail their catches, with a few clear exceptions. And I can't for the life of me figure out why - especially in these economic times with charters tough to come by. Word of mouth is always a good sell.

A little less perplexing, but unexpected nonetheless, is the lack of reports from our local anglers - whether they've found some wahoo 50 miles out or a bluegill under their dock.

And I figured we'd be loaded with stories of children catching fish.

So it's altogether surprising that the Fishing Report seems to be falling out of favor with our readers - or at least with the folks who catch fish.

The other element of the Fishing Report is the tournament reports.

That's doing well, but we still miss a good number of tournaments. I know this because I receive angry calls saying, "Why weren't our results in the paper?"

My answer: "Why didn't you send them?"

The Fishing Forecast is published each Thursday. We try to give readers an idea of what's been going on during the week and to extrapolate what should happen over the coming weekend considering weather, migrations, water temperatures, moon phases, and, lately, if there's anything left to catch after the feds are through with their closure du jour. …

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