Life and death in a small Fla. town

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The Michigan Daily's Andy Reid traveled to Pahokee, Fla., to learn more about the challenges several Wolverine players faced while growing up. Photo/Max Collins Design/Lan Truong

The Michigan Daily's Andy Reid traveled to Pahokee, Fla., to learn more about the challenges several Wolverine players faced while growing up. Photo/Max Collins Design/Lan Truong

Football saves lives in the impoverished town of Pahokee, Fla., which is much farther away from ritzy Palm Beach than a map would show. A town in the midst of sugar cane fields and marshes, Pahokee is also a place that takes lives at an early age. Gangs recruit kids, called ‘jitterbugs,’ to transfer weapons and money around town. As one kids says: “There’s nothing to do here. It’s easy to get into smoking weed, robbing, they even started killing around here.” Yet, it’s also a town that dominates state football, winning five championships over the past six years.

Michigan Daily sports editor Andy Reid traveled to Pahokee to learn more about the lives of several Wolverine football players. The result: an amazingly insightful, compelling and well-written piece. Few newspapers offer this kind of enterprise reporting, stories that focus on sports outside the lines. Great job, Andy.

Some other coverage this weekend.

The Kentucky Kernel offers another piece of enterprise sports reporting, revealing why students enjoy officiating intramurals (a truly thankless job.)

The Daily Trojan’s Michael Middlehurst-Schwartz offers a solid deadline story on Southern Cal’s victory over Ohio State 18-15. Michael tells a story about a game most fans had already watched on national TV. Michael seamlessly weaves in the nut graph three graphs into the story.  Nice job.

Ohio State’s The Lantern, meanwhile, offered a really nice package that featured some excellent photos. Cutline information, though, would have enabled readers to follow along much easier. The Lantern could have taken advantage of its sports blog to offer insights through the game as well. Instead, the blog has a post about NASCAR from June. Blogs need to be updated regularly, if readers are expected to regularly check in. Plus, focus on campus sports not on national events that are covered elsewhere. Readers are checking into your sports section for news about your school.

The Daily O’Collegian failed to post anything on Oklahoma State’s upset loss to Houston in football, as of Sunday afternoon. Game stories should be posted immediately. Game folos, features and columns can run in Monday’s print editions. Online coverage comes first. Always. That’s the way of the world, not merely a suggestion. Most college newspapers, like Notre Dame’s The Observer, failed to post coverage for any sports during the weekend. The Michigan Daily. meanwhile, did post a quick story on the game.

The Independent Alligator does a great job covering all of its sports during the weekend, offering solid stories on the volleyball team’s loss to Washington, the football team’s rout of Troy and the soccer team’s victory over Duke.

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