The Good Quizbowl Media Strategy (or lack thereof)

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The Good Quizbowl Media Strategy (or lack thereof)

Post by cchiego » Fri Jun 21, 2013 7:52 pm

It's frustrating to see many stories like this and this and this and this and this and this and this and this and more all praising Chipbowl nationals and holding the NAC up as a big accomplishment.

In contrast, I saw a small smattering of news coverage of HSNCT teams and even less for PACE. I found one very brief story about LASA in the Austin Statesman, a post on the Ladue school district website, and one local thing on Barrington. Almost nothing on anything else (others can feel free to add more if I missed something).

Basically, the vast majority of media coverage of quizbowl nationals seems to be for Chip teams. Now I'm sure this is not because of the inherent superiority of Chipbowl--nobody in the press cares about quizbowl format of all things--but rather it seems to be the product of Chip's still-determined drive for media attention. Unfortunately, all of this positive attention for Chip teams is only going to encourage those schools and districts to stick to Chip in the future. After all, why not be a trophy whore if it gets you positive coverage?

Now you might say, "so what?" Nobody plays good quizbowl in hopes of getting a mention on the evening news or an article in the local paper. Good quizbowl is still expanding, albeit slower than we might hope. But if we want to continue to increase the national visibility and legitimacy of good quizbowl, lure away more Chip teams, pressure TV tournaments to use good questions, and set up stronger regional organizations to help sponsor NASAT teams and such, it's going to be critical to get good media coverage. Plus, it helps quizbowl compete for $$ against rival competitions like AcDec that get fawning front-page newspaper coverage and suck up limited funding.

Having liveblogs/livestreams is nice for quizbowl insiders, but what quizbowl nationals really need are determined PR people who will work with coaches and parents to get in touch with local (if not national) reporters. All of the superplayoff teams at PACE and all of the trophy teams at HSNCT would be good places to start with this next year (if not right now?). I don't know how to even begin trying to do this for local tournaments, but I'd love to hear more on what TDs and coaches can do to start getting coverage. Is it just a matter of sending out multiple press releases to all possible reporters? Or are there more specific things to do and not do?
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Re: The Good Quizbowl Media Strategy (or lack thereof)

Post by Sniper, No Sniping! » Fri Jun 21, 2013 10:39 pm

Could one possible panacea to what you are describing be that schools who do very at high-quality quiz bowl at the regional and state levels, who are going to nationals, contact their local medias (I imagine a newspaper would be more effective than a tv station) and send them a list of accomplishments, who the team is, what the team does, etc and get an interview to make a story? This is something Fisher did in the spring of 2012, and we got a good article published in our paper. Putting your team's name out there is the only way you can get recognition from the general public who is likely unaware of what quiz bowl, let alone high-quality quiz bowl is. Going to a national tournament may be expected between you and other members of the quiz bowl community, but it is still a big deal to the people in your area.
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Re: The Good Quizbowl Media Strategy (or lack thereof)

Post by Great Bustard » Sat Jun 22, 2013 9:58 am

Chris's post is spot on, and everyone should think hard about the points he raises. Tom's suggestion is good too, though there's no panacea here, just a lot of hard work ahead if this is going to happen. I think PACE has a potential role to play here too although I'm not trying to foist work on anyone in particular.
As for NHBB, we will be ramping up exactly this sort of outreach in advance of our tournaments this year, both in terms of helping to recruit for tournaments, and then to publicize results after they've occurred. We haven't done as much as we could in our first few years, though I attribute that primarily to the fact that we've been very pressed for time and energy just getting so many tournaments up and running, and then improving the things that need to be improved. A number of people mentioned to me after our Nationals this year that we should have done more to generate coverage. I agree - next year, we'll likely designate a media relations handler, though this year, some of the soft-pedaling in terms of media coverage was done on purpose until we knew we had the logistics covered. Also, I think that another effective recruiting strategy is to get good press coverage for a tournament you run, then save the article and send it out the following year to team's you are inviting. We've done that a bit too, and have had success with it.
The good news here is that most of the time, newspapers (and TV too) are happy to publicize quizbowl at least a bit. I know we all yearn for the day when quizbowl gets as much coverage as high school sports, but until then, realize that the lack of coverage is more a function of a lack of all of us getting the word out, not some grudge against quizbowl or a media preference for subpar forms of it.
Finally, people who contact media outlets should focus on casting quizbowl in the most positive light, not on format wars / why quizbowl is better than AcDec / jargon that people outside the community wouldn't understand. There's a time and place for that, but it's not in press releases where such things aren't going to sell newspapers (save it for emails or personal conversations). I do second the notion, that's been mentioned recently, though, that tournaments should move away from naming themselves silly acronyms and focus on the sort of prestigious names that will cause an editor's or principal's ears to take notice.
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Re: The Good Quizbowl Media Strategy (or lack thereof)

Post by DrCongo » Tue Jun 25, 2013 12:04 pm

I've been working with MSU's Athletic Communications office for almost a year now, and one thing that has surprised me is the expansion of high school sports and recruiting information that we have seen over the last couple years. There are websites like MIPrepZone all across the country that are solely dedicated to high school sports.

I get that quiz bowl is not an athletic sport and that this might be a long shot and there are many other hurdles with this idea, but if people in the quiz bowl community could get through to these news services and maybe wrote a weekly update on academic competition in their state (especially in states with established circuits), that effort could go a long way towards making pyramidal quiz bowl a more prominent topic in the media.

Has anyone tried this in their home state?
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Re: The Good Quizbowl Media Strategy (or lack thereof)

Post by Emil Nolde » Tue Jun 25, 2013 1:05 pm

I personally think that those articles aren't at all parading the competition in itself. They're just celebrating their local team's success. Sure, that success is to us marred by the ridiculousness of the NAC, but I don't think anyone's coming away with the impression of "Wow, NAC must be such a fair, competitive format that's totally better than anything else out there!" from those. That is, at least from my point of view, a really jaded way of looking at things. I do, however, agree with the title of the thread. It's not our job to hate bad tournaments, rather, it's our job to love and support good ones. Make whatever coverage of HSNCT, PACE, NASAT, etc. (of which there needs to be more) more directly convey that they are fair, competitive formats, and just leave it to readers to make the conclusion that :chip:bowl is bad. Good QB doesn't come out looking good when people get hostile.
Finally, people who contact media outlets should focus on casting quizbowl in the most positive light, not on format wars / why quizbowl is better than AcDec / jargon that people outside the community wouldn't understand. There's a time and place for that, but it's not in press releases where such things aren't going to sell newspapers (save it for emails or personal conversations). I do second the notion, that's been mentioned recently, though, that tournaments should move away from naming themselves silly acronyms and focus on the sort of prestigious names that will cause an editor's or principal's ears to take notice.
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Re: The Good Quizbowl Media Strategy (or lack thereof)

Post by Howard » Tue Jun 25, 2013 5:43 pm

Out of curiosity, have we invited the press to HSNCT, NSC, or NASAT with the lure that x,y,z local teams will be there.
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Re: The Good Quizbowl Media Strategy (or lack thereof)

Post by etchdulac » Tue Jun 25, 2013 10:59 pm

Howard wrote:Out of curiosity, have we invited the press to HSNCT, NSC, or NASAT with the lure that x,y,z local teams will be there.
For HSNCT: Yes, multiple times.

My (former) employers covered our first local event, in a sense; it helped that they were sponsoring the event.
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Re: The Good Quizbowl Media Strategy (or lack thereof)

Post by Salt Lake Dream » Mon Jul 01, 2013 12:56 am

After our team won PACE in 2008, I was stunned to receive a phone call from a reporter for a local weekly newspaper, and even more stunned to see an article about it. The article conveyed that PACE was considered to be elite competition and I believe that articles such as this one would be a good way to introduce good quizbowl and increase support for it.
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Re: The Good Quizbowl Media Strategy (or lack thereof)

Post by Rococo A Go Go » Mon Jul 01, 2013 3:32 am

WKU's quizbowl team was the subject of articles in the school newspaper, the Bowling Green newspaper, and my (and Cole's) hometown newspaper after we qualified for nationals. This came about because I put in 15 minutes to send out a press release to our school paper and the news blog operated by the university. When I was at Grayson County we got multiple articles published in local papers in the same fashion, although in that case we were originally helped by the fact many small town newspapers actually allow people to submit articles for publication.

It doesn't take a lot of effort to get print media (outside of the major publications) to cover your team, mostly because newspapers are full of information, published often, and there are a limited number of things out there to report about. Every active and even marginally successful team should make an effort to get coverage from their local newspapers, because it's not that difficult to pursue such coverage. Your chances of success in these endeavors (especially compared to television news) are fairly decent.

There are a number of aspects of the quizbowl community that are beneficial to spreading exposure to the game, although many of them are tucked away on this website or Wordpress blogs. I suspect that if efforts like HSQBRank, the polls conducted here, and some of the more in-depth analysis posted on this site were condensed into a quizbowl news blog of some sort, it might be a nice handy guide to send to journalists to get them more well-acquainted with the game; the front page of this website may very well be the place for that to happen. Having one established quizbowl home for news like team rankings, season previews, write-ups on the results of major tournaments, announcements of NASAT teams and award winners, and other similar events would help establish a good quizbowl media strategy.
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Re: The Good Quizbowl Media Strategy (or lack thereof)

Post by Tale of Mac Datho's Pachycephalosaur » Tue Jul 02, 2013 5:19 pm

Sulawesi Myzomela wrote:WKU's quizbowl team was the subject of articles in the school newspaper, the Bowling Green newspaper, and my (and Cole's) hometown newspaper after we qualified for nationals. This came about because I put in 15 minutes to send out a press release to our school paper and the news blog operated by the university.
This is exactly the right approach to take. I spent a few moments writing up an email to one of my contacts in UB's online newsletter, and after a 15-minute interview, there was a story posted very shortly thereafter. This helped the club a lot when we were applying for permanent club status through our student government. Granted, the reporter and I had corresponded before, but the point is to make it accessible and interesting. No need to go into huge detail on the format--just say that it's designed to reward specific knowledge, and that it's a lot of fun.

I will probably invite the media to the finals of the next high school tournament that we host, and drum up a little more awareness, and I encourage other hosts to do the same.
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Re: The Good Quizbowl Media Strategy (or lack thereof)

Post by zachary_yan » Mon Mar 17, 2014 1:16 am

I've never had any firsthand experience with Chip, but it seems like QU has a way of making things seem more interesting than they actually are and this kind of enthusiasm just trickles down the system and becomes the kind of thing that the media looks for.

On the other hand it seems like good quizbowl events have a way of downplaying themselves. I mean just look at how slapdash everything is; book prizes, cheap plastic trophies, tournaments organized by a bunch of college kids, you name it. Even the good qb nationals are largely the same but on a larger scale. I'd honestly choose the quality of pyramidal quizbowl over any of the superficial shenanigans :chip: has to offer any day. Going forward if good qb wants to expand and get the public attention it deserves, the way things are run is going to have to be more official.

Edit: I'm not against book prizes etc. per se, but this is an example of how good quizbowl doens't holds itself in lower esteem. Also consider how lots of bad quizbowl tv shows, Chip etc give money/scholarship (masonic and rotary are exceptions) but it 's largely out of the picture in good quizbowl.
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Re: The Good Quizbowl Media Strategy (or lack thereof)

Post by Auks Ran Ova » Tue Mar 18, 2014 11:01 pm

zachary_yan wrote:Even the good qb nationals are largely the same but on a larger scale.
This is...not true.
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Re: The Good Quizbowl Media Strategy (or lack thereof)

Post by zachary_yan » Mon Mar 31, 2014 2:33 am

Ukonvasara wrote:
zachary_yan wrote:Even the good qb nationals are largely the same but on a larger scale.
This is...not true.
I guess I was exaggerating a bit there, but the point remains the same. HSNCT and NHBB are the only quizbowl nationals I've been to, and neither of them have the superficial value that would make the media want to cover it. Maybe less so for NHBB, because rounds were held in embassies and Mt Vernon and whatnot, and there was also a (albeit brief) mention on The Oregonian website http://www.oregonlive.com/beaverton/ind ... nts_1.html
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Re: The Good Quizbowl Media Strategy (or lack thereof)

Post by vinteuil » Mon Mar 31, 2014 2:35 am

zachary_yan wrote:
Ukonvasara wrote:
zachary_yan wrote:Even the good qb nationals are largely the same but on a larger scale.
This is...not true.
I guess I was exaggerating a bit there, but the point remains the same. HSNCT and NHBB are the only quizbowl nationals I've been to, and neither of them have the superficial value that would make the media want to cover it.
HSNCT, in many ways, bears a pretty good superficial resemblance to the notably well-media-covered Scripps National Spelling Bee, from what I've seen of that.
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Re: The Good Quizbowl Media Strategy (or lack thereof)

Post by zachary_yan » Mon Mar 31, 2014 1:27 pm

vinteuil wrote:
zachary_yan wrote: I guess I was exaggerating a bit there, but the point remains the same. HSNCT and NHBB are the only quizbowl nationals I've been to, and neither of them have the superficial value that would make the media want to cover it.
HSNCT, in many ways, bears a pretty good superficial resemblance to the notably well-media-covered Scripps National Spelling Bee, from what I've seen of that.
Yes but the Spelling Bee is run by a multi-billion dollar media conglomerate that owns many media outlets in the US. On another note, it seems like the media has judged that the only national championships anyone wants to watch are for competitors under the age of 15 or so. You have for example, the Little League world series (ages 11-13) and Scripps National Spelling Bee (up to age 15). Every other widely televised competition is for high profile sports, reality television, or some otherwise noteworthy event.
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Re: The Good Quizbowl Media Strategy (or lack thereof)

Post by jonpin » Mon Mar 31, 2014 2:21 pm

Mathcounts was briefly televised by ESPN (IIRC during the lunch break of the spelling bee), and that is as well for grades 8 and below; the only NHBB thing that ever made it to TV was that one year of the middle school bee. The cynic in me wants to say that adults find smart 10-13 year olds to be adorable little kids and smart 15-18 year olds to be unbearable smart-asses.
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Re: The Good Quizbowl Media Strategy (or lack thereof)

Post by Cassian » Tue Jun 10, 2014 11:32 pm

The Statesman posted a blurb about HSNCT on Sunday, and this story will be in the print edition tomorrow. It's behind the paywall now, but I think it will be freely available over the next couple of days (after it's been in the print edition).

http://www.statesman.com/news/news/loca ... e-s/ngJGX/
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Re: The Good Quizbowl Media Strategy (or lack thereof)

Post by Sniper, No Sniping! » Wed Jun 11, 2014 10:37 pm

Two years removed from our last media feature, it appears we're getting interviewed tomorrow by the Lancaster Eagle-Gazette for an in-depth story about our season and our trip to NTAE. Accomplishments I think we'll plan on mentioning include our OAC state runner-up finish, our octofinalist finish at NHBB as well as our various tournament victories. I think we'll emphasize that we achieved those honors while being the by far smallest school in the OAC competition * and being one of the smallest competing schools at NHBB.

I'll post the article when it gets published (it doesn't go behind the pay wall until after 30 days).

* - this might be one of the more interesting slants a writer covering a quiz bowl team could take, since most (if not all) good quiz bowl formats declare one state champion amongst all schools as opposed to athletic associations that crown multiple state champions in a sport on the metric there's a competitive disadvantage between schools of varying sizes and/or public/private school status.



EDIT: it's in. No mention of NHBB accomplishment (sad face). Here you go.
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Re: The Good Quizbowl Media Strategy (or lack thereof)

Post by The Stately Rhododendron » Mon Jun 16, 2014 10:35 pm

Here's a story about us that was written around march.
http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/maryla ... 4590.story
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Re: The Good Quizbowl Media Strategy (or lack thereof)

Post by Benin Rebirth Party » Fri Jun 20, 2014 12:15 pm

An article from the Toronto Star praises the successes of the University of Toronto Schools unparalleled successes in the Canadian format. To quote a friend: "Awesome schools that actually facilitate knowledge like Colonel By are getting zero publicity while propagators of [bad quizbowl] are getting the attention of stupid media people".

The problem here is that local media won't cover the fact that Colonel By is the highest ever ranked Canadian team ever and has an outside but fair chance at top 25 next year but will go nuts about a championship. When Lisgar won Reach for the Top Nationals in 2008, there was an article about it it the papers. The team came T34th at HSNCT this year, which requires a lot more skill and knowledge and a lot less luck to accomplish, but it isn't a newsworthy finish.

The good news is, Dave Madden is looking to put something out in the Toronto Star about History Bowl Canada once it happens this upcoming season.
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Re: The Good Quizbowl Media Strategy (or lack thereof)

Post by bsmith » Fri Jun 20, 2014 4:18 pm

pandabear555 wrote:The problem here is that local media won't cover the fact that Colonel By is the highest ever ranked Canadian team ever and has an outside but fair chance at top 25 next year but will go nuts about a championship. When Lisgar won Reach for the Top Nationals in 2008, there was an article about it it the papers.
To be fair, the Ottawa paper didn't exactly "go nuts" about Lisgar's Reach win either. I wrote a letter to the editor after that win to congratulate the team, with an accompanying message of "you should have a story about this". Your coach prepped most of that article. Similarly, a story about U of O going to the 2005 ICT was pretty much derived from my "press release" I sent to them and an accompanying phone interview.

Reporters don't go out of their way to look up Reach or quizbowl scores. If you make a reporter's life easy by providing all the information, they'll take the material to meet their deadlines. This concept is not new. Reviewing hundreds of old articles about Reach suggests that they are pretty much stories from the coach/captain- not CBC press releases or accounts from an on-site reporter.
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Re: The Good Quizbowl Media Strategy (or lack thereof)

Post by Bartleby » Fri Jun 20, 2014 4:32 pm

bsmith wrote:
pandabear555 wrote:The problem here is that local media won't cover the fact that Colonel By is the highest ever ranked Canadian team ever and has an outside but fair chance at top 25 next year but will go nuts about a championship. When Lisgar won Reach for the Top Nationals in 2008, there was an article about it it the papers.
To be fair, the Ottawa paper didn't exactly "go nuts" about Lisgar's Reach win either. I wrote a letter to the editor after that win to congratulate the team, with an accompanying message of "you should have a story about this". Your coach prepped most of that article. Similarly, a story about U of O going to the 2005 ICT was pretty much derived from my "press release" I sent to them and an accompanying phone interview.

Reporters don't go out of their way to look up Reach or quizbowl scores. If you make a reporter's life easy by providing all the information, they'll take the material to meet their deadlines. This concept is not new. Reviewing hundreds of old articles about Reach suggests that they are pretty much stories from the coach/captain- not CBC press releases or accounts from an on-site reporter.
To be fair, this article was clearly a thoroughly-researched and interviewed passion project by someone of our generation (he graduated high school in 2009, so he can't be much older than 25 now). Also, to be fair, this story has more of a natural hook (team attempts record-setting championship spree in a thing most Canadians have heard of) than the type of story Joe is talking about (team might finish in the top 25 of a tournament we've never heard of). Quiz bowl could definitely do with a better media strategy on the macro level, but when we're breaking down to stories on the micro/individual team level, there has to be a story there.

edit: clarity x2.
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Re: The Good Quizbowl Media Strategy (or lack thereof)

Post by Great Bustard » Tue Jun 24, 2014 7:30 am

Sniper, No Sniping! wrote: * - this might be one of the more interesting slants a writer covering a quiz bowl team could take, since most (if not all) good quiz bowl formats declare one state champion amongst all schools as opposed to athletic associations that crown multiple state champions in a sport on the metric there's a competitive disadvantage between schools of varying sizes and/or public/private school status.
On that note, have HSAPQ and/or NAQT ever considered having a separate small school champion by state? NHBB will probably get to it in a few years once we have tournaments in every state, though I might roll it out on a limited basis for the coming year. In any case, Tom makes a good point, and this could also help a number of programs get more recognition and the pursuant funding/headlines/etc.
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Re: The Good Quizbowl Media Strategy (or lack thereof)

Post by Important Bird Area » Tue Jun 24, 2014 1:03 pm

Great Bustard wrote:have HSAPQ and/or NAQT ever considered having a separate small school champion by state?
This is up to the state championship host (it varies quite a bit depending on the district structure/geography of the state). Sometimes that means a separate division for small schools (like West Virginia), sometimes a single field but a distinct small school champion recognized (like the Missouri qualifier), sometimes no recognition at all (like northern California, where we have one active small school and they were unable to attend the state championship).
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Re: The Good Quizbowl Media Strategy (or lack thereof)

Post by scquizbowl » Mon Jun 30, 2014 8:12 pm

Hallsville winning the small school nationals.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W6_fJTjVfas
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Re: The Good Quizbowl Media Strategy (or lack thereof)

Post by Benin Rebirth Party » Sat Mar 21, 2015 10:28 pm

A reporter from a community newspaper came to a recent Ottawa tournament and produced this. It focused on Lisgar as Colonel By is not part of the region this paper targets.
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Re: The Good Quizbowl Media Strategy (or lack thereof)

Post by cchiego » Mon Mar 30, 2015 10:31 pm

Clearly the only important national "quiz bowl" championship that occurred last weekend was in Torrance, CA.

Once again, good QB seems to have no national media strategy/angle/"in."
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Re: The Good Quizbowl Media Strategy (or lack thereof)

Post by the return of AHAN » Tue Mar 31, 2015 12:03 am

cchiego wrote:Clearly the only important national "quiz bowl" championship that occurred last weekend was in Torrance, CA.

Once again, good QB seems to have no national media strategy/angle/"in."
Interestingly, the article never claims it was a "national championship." It was just a sponsored quizbowl competition with prize money at stake between black colleges. If anything, the article seemed to be mostly focused on the lack of funding black colleges are battling. :neutral:
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Re: The Good Quizbowl Media Strategy (or lack thereof)

Post by Victor Prieto » Tue Mar 31, 2015 11:22 am

HCASC results from preliminary round robin here. Has anybody ever tried to invite these teams to good quizbowl tournaments? It seems like they already have existing organizations, making it a lot easier to bring them into the fold.
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Re: The Good Quizbowl Media Strategy (or lack thereof)

Post by Marble-faced Bristle Tyrant » Tue Mar 31, 2015 11:44 am

Wasabi wrote:HCASC results from preliminary round robin here. Has anybody ever tried to invite these teams to good quizbowl tournaments? It seems like they already have existing organizations, making it a lot easier to bring them into the fold.
A few years ago, I had the bright idea to try and invite Georgia HBCUs to the Collegiate Novice, but the plan fell through.

I was talking about it with R and some others before the ICT, and they were thinking it might be a good idea to approach Honda about it.
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Re: The Good Quizbowl Media Strategy (or lack thereof)

Post by gettysburg11 » Tue Mar 31, 2015 11:55 am

Back at the beginning of the month, our local paper published this(http://www.mcall.com/entertainment/kids ... story.html) article as the front page of the Life section because a local college hosted the Pennsylvania NHBB State Championship. I don't know how you all would rate it, but at least it was something.
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Re: The Good Quizbowl Media Strategy (or lack thereof)

Post by jonpin » Tue Mar 31, 2015 12:51 pm

This is something David Madden does very well. Every year, the Bergen Record has run an article about the local History Bowl tournament at Ridgewood HS, with a reporter coming to the competition, interviewing some players and coaches.
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Re: The Good Quizbowl Media Strategy (or lack thereof)

Post by Adventure Temple Trail » Tue Mar 31, 2015 1:22 pm

Marble-faced Bristle Tyrant wrote:
Wasabi wrote:HCASC results from preliminary round robin here. Has anybody ever tried to invite these teams to good quizbowl tournaments? It seems like they already have existing organizations, making it a lot easier to bring them into the fold.
A few years ago, I had the bright idea to try and invite Georgia HBCUs to the Collegiate Novice, but the plan fell through.

I was talking about it with R and some others before the ICT, and they were thinking it might be a good idea to approach Honda about it.
I would be very careful about directly approaching (read: would not directly approach) an organization that has threatened to destroy college quizbowl outside itself many times across many decades.
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Re: The Good Quizbowl Media Strategy (or lack thereof)

Post by Marble-faced Bristle Tyrant » Tue Mar 31, 2015 1:28 pm

You'd have to ask them (I think it was the WKU advisor?), but I think he was literally referring to Honda the sponsor, and not the College Bowl Company.
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Re: The Good Quizbowl Media Strategy (or lack thereof)

Post by cchiego » Wed Apr 22, 2015 10:04 am

Here's basically the ideal pre-nationals quizbowl team profile: nice picture with trophies, relevant info about the national tournaments, nice quotes from the kids, and some understanding on the reporter's part about what the game is like.

More teams and coaches should make an effort to get in touch with reporters before and after nats. I suspect principals would look favorably upon such profiles and parents would get a kick out of seeing their children in the papers.
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