Our coverage plans for the season

11/14/2018 | Column | By Bryce Derouin

N ow that we’ve introduced ourselves, we can share more about our coverage plans and what you can expect from Upbeat for the upcoming basketball season.

We’re currently working on preseason stories highlighting key players, coaches and their teams. With the boys season a week in, we have already started visiting gyms across the UP and conducting interviews. We’ll do the same with the girls teams, too, who started practice on Monday.

Our coverage is going to take us to the newsworthy storylines, such as the hype for the Iron Mountain boys; how the Bark River-Harris girls are preparing to play up in Division 3; and the energetic Mike Malone taking over for the accomplished Adam Mercier at North Central. 

No, we won’t be previewing every team in the UP, because doing nearly 100 previews isn’t possible with a staff of four. But the stories we cover will also go more in-depth than discussing things like, “Jimmy averaged 2.3 points a game last year and he might be able to up that to 4.2 because he’s been working hard this offseason.” 

When it comes to new content, our goal is to post at least one new story to Upbeat each day, so you can expect to see something new when you wake up and check the website. When the games actually start, this obviously won’t be a problem. 

As far as game coverage, Eden Laase and I plan to do what we did at the Daily Mining Gazette in Houghton: cover as many games as possible. Living in Marquette gives us a central location and allows us to cover the key matchups across the UP on a regular basis, and that’s where we’ll be — of course, weather permitting. 

In addition to providing feature stories throughout the season, Keith Shelton will be available to cover games on Mondays and Saturdays before switching those open days to Wednesday, Thursday and Friday in February. 

Jason Sutherland is a student at Michigan Tech and he will provide daily coverage in the Copper Country area.

This isn’t going to be a participation thing where we try to cover all the schools equally. Besides being impossible, it doesn’t make sense. For instance, the Iron Mountain boys basketball team is a preseason top 5 team in Division 3, so we’re probably going to be at more of the Mountaineers’ games this season, than say, a team that went 5-16 last year (If you went 5-16 last year, this was not a shot at you. I just picked a random record.)

As for games we’re not at, that coverage will come down to the coaches. We plan on having daily boys and girls basketball roundups and will feature all the games that are submitted to us. Being a first-year website, we understand this might be a challenge before coaches get accustomed to sending us results. Hell, when working for newspapers, it was hard enough for the local coaches to consistently send in results. I imagine a lot of those who didn’t make that effort will look the other way when it comes to Upbeat. It’s sad, really, because the only people who get hurt by that are the players. 

The thing is, it’s 2018 and it’s not that hard to submit stats from your game. With your phone, you can take two photos of the book — one for each team — and send it to someone. I actually just did it as a test and it took me 14 seconds. It’s even easier if you have someone record stats on an iPad; you forward the results to an email address, and bang, the person has every stat recorded on the iPad. 

Coaches: Email me, text me, tweet me, Facebook message me, do whatever suits you best. If you send stuff to us, we will feature it on the site. We’re committed to making Upbeat a central hub for UP basketball, but we’ll need your help to do so. 

As always, we appreciate the support and kind words everyone offered after the soft launch. We’re excited to fill the site with more content and are counting the days down until our full launch on Nov. 27.

Bryce Derouin

Bryce is a co-founder of Upbeat. He earned his journalism degree from Grand Valley State and served as the sports editor for three years at the Daily Mining Gazette in Houghton after working one year as a sports reporter at the Daily Press in Escanaba.