OUR OPINION: Broaden reach of local high school events
Parents and fans of Shanley High School in Fargo have access to an interesting and useful website: ShanleyTV.com. The site live streams and archives Shanley sports and academic events. Shanley students operate the cameras, as far as we can tell. ...
Parents and fans of Shanley High School in Fargo have access to an interesting and useful website: ShanleyTV.com.
The site live streams and archives Shanley sports and academic events. Shanley students operate the cameras, as far as we can tell.
Even more interestingly, Shanley students provide play-by-play and color commentary at games, gaining terrific sportscasting experience while adding to the fun and excitement for viewers.
The internet TV operation is a nice asset for the school, a valuable recruiting tool and no doubt very popular with parents.
And maybe it's an example Grand Forks, East Grand Forks and other high schools in the region could follow.
A few weeks ago, the Grand Forks School District held a Community Forum at which residents were invited to talk about the district and offer ideas for improvement. In today's editorial, we'd simply like to offer a few more suggestions, belated as they may be.
There are no big policy issues here. There's nothing about Common Core, nothing about test scores or state law.
There are just a few ideas from Herald edit board members who also happen to be Grand Forks School District parents. The district may already have considered these notions and even acted on them. But for what it's worth, here they are:
Webcasting events. Herald readers, did you happen to see the Red River-Central boys hockey game on WDAZ-TV Channel 8 on Tuesday night?
If you did, then you know you were lucky, because it was a fantastic game featuring two great teams, and it wasn't settled until it went into overtime.
Of course, part of the fun of watching such events at home is not only seeing the action, but also listening to the commentary.
Also, watching high school sports on screen gives viewers an added thrill, because the chances are good that the viewer knows a player or two or a player's family. That's not the case when watching college or pro games, whose players tend to be more remote.
And consider these stats from the website WorkInSports.com:
▇ "Americans attend more than three times the number of high school sporting events as college and pro combined.
▇ "Seventy-five percent of U.S. teens play some form of high school sports.
▇ "Forty-two percent of U.S. teens attend at least one high school sports event per week."
Those are big numbers, and they translate into intense interest among key demographics in American towns, as Herald sports reporters and editors can testify.
So, why not harness that interest in a way that will not only interest parents and fans, but also give great experience to budding broadcasters and other media professionals?
Nor does the webcasting have to start and stop with sports. Theater and music productions could be live streamed; debates, math meets and other events could be, too.
While North Dakota high schools already take part in the web-based High School Sports Network, ShanleyTV.com ratchets up the professionalism and puts the effort's career-building value even more on display. And while it's true that Shanley is a private school, there are public schools around the country that offer similar services.
If the district is looking for a practical but valuable way to expand its appeal, this might be one.
Better scheduling. Speaking of sports and other extracurriculars, might it possible for schools to avoid scheduling competing events on the same night?
The answer may well be "no." There are limited days in the school year, and each schools is at the mercy of its state and conference organizations when it comes to scheduling.
But - to take just one of many examples - among the people who missed the Red River-Central boys hockey game were Red River girls basketball parents. That's because their daughters had a game across town at the same time - as visitors could tell at a glance, because so few fans other than the girls' parents were in the gym, the hockey game being the much bigger draw.
Might there be a way to avoid those conflicts? If there's not, then there's not. But if there is, then players, parents and fans alike, we're sure, would appreciate it.
- Tom Dennis for the Herald