Editor’s Notes: New sports editor joins the Tahoe Daily Tribune
In the past three months, more than a few readers have noted — and in some cases vehemently complained — about the state of the Tribune’s sports section.
After an admittedly lengthy search process, I am pleased to say that J.P. Kelsey, the Tribune’s new sports editor, officially started work Wednesday.
Readers will have an opportunity to learn more about J.P. in the Wednesday, March 8, edition of the Tribune. For now, I’ll say that we are thrilled to have J.P. on the team. (He did not waste anytime getting out there, as you can read on page 11.)
I’m not one for spending much time looking backward — learn and move on. But without question, it has been rough sledding since early December when Anthony Gentile, our previous sports editor, left to go back to school after more than two years on the job.
As I was reminded earlier this week while talking with a previous employer, two years is a long time, especially at smaller companies in the journalism business. Many employers these days ask, sometimes beg, new hires to give them two years before moving on.
Back to Anthony: Those who did reach out regarding our recent sports coverage — or lack thereof — almost always remarked about how high he set the bar. Going from that quality of coverage, at least in terms of local prep sports, to pretty much nothing was difficult for those readers who look forward to the Tribune’s sports section.
As someone who values being well-rounded — a media company that offers something for everyone — it was difficult for me, too.
The reality of the situation: Finding a quality candidate — especially in terms of what we now have with J.P. on our team — was quite the task, and it ended up taking much longer than I had anticipated it would when we started the process in late November.
At times, the talent pool felt more like a puddle, and most interviews never made it past the first phone call. Then there was what I’ve come to privately call the Tahoe effect. Convincing people to pack up and move to Tahoe (almost all of our applicants were from outside the area) was a challenge.
As I’ve said (what feels like a countless number of times) we are not immune to the barriers facing other employers in the area, particularly when it comes to affordable housing. Mountains, skiing, the lake and all the other wonderful amenities we enjoy here in Tahoe can only go so far.
The fact is it’s really hard to sell a place to somebody when it almost certainly requires living with a roommate … or three.
If anything, this process has reinforced the reality of the economic problems facing Tahoe and the need to address them before they snowball to the point we all become buried and cannot dig out.
Tahoe issues aside, we missed a busy winter sports season at our local high schools. Just to clarify, this was not out of contempt nor did it stem from anything other than the fact that a modest-sized staff cannot continue the same workload with one less person. We welcomed submissions from the community, coaches and parents, and in almost every instance we published what was provided to us.
Under normal circumstance, Andrew Herrera’s second state title would have been a front page story, rather than a small blurb in the back of the paper. Unfortunately, the past three months were not “normal.”
Certainly, I understand that some will find that explanation unsatisfactory, and I’m sure it will do little to relieve the disappointment among our student athletes and their families. There is nothing I can do about that.
Moving on, the Tribune’s sports section will not be what it used to be. We will not be running two-and-a-half-page sports sections filled with copious amounts of photos. As I said in my last column, the Tribune is much like Tahoe and space is at a premium. Instead, we will focus on fitting the most impactful content into the space allotted.
Prep sports is certainly a part of that. But we live in a place that offers some of the most unique recreation opportunities in the world. And, increasingly so, the rest of the world is learning that. Tahoe is not just a cluster of ski resorts. It is not just a gorgeous lake. It is a year-round destination for those who enjoy outdoor recreation.
The coverage in our sports and adventure section will reflect that reality.
In my short time here, many people have remarked that it is an exciting time to be in Tahoe. I agree. I also feel it’s an exciting time for the Tribune, and I hope you do to. In the meantime, reach out to J.P. and give him a warm welcome. And, as always, share your thoughts and opinions by calling or emailing me.
Ryan Hoffman is editor of the Tahoe Daily Tribune and Lake Tahoe Action. He can be reached at 530-542-8006 or at email@example.com.