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2015 Sports, Large Newsroom finalist

Boston Globe Sports

About the Project

The Boston Globe’s sports coverage is at the leading edge of digital sports journalism, offering the most comprehensive, in-depth, and innovative coverage of Boston sports in an ultra-competitive market.

In addition to being the online home of the region’s foremost experts on their coverage areas, particularly Boston’s teams in the NFL, MLB, NHL, and NBA, the site’s innovative presentation of stories and key topics make it a daily destination for commentary, video, and interactive features.

The backbone of the site is coverage of breaking news, which goes well beyond the basic story. Accurate stories posted quickly – in fact, the background for anticipated news events is pre-written for fast turnaround – are supplemented by photography and video, plus compelling commentary and analysis, explainers, charts and graphics, and sidebars.

Contributions to the site are planned for an around the clock news cycle, not a newspaper news cycle. All stories are published online first, often in increments – game stories about our four major teams are published the moment the game ends – and coverage of major news events is carefully orchestrated. Web producers, reporters, videographers, and editors work in concert to constantly update the site with content the moment it is ready or news breaks.

For example, the centerpiece of Boston Marathon day is a live blog for the most up-to-the-minute news and a live-updating race progress map, but the coverage package is embellished throughout the event to include stories, photos, videos, and other creative content.

Another key feature is a dedicated online columnist, Alex Speier, whose focus is to expand on the main story lines of subjects of the day or provide new, original features. He often employs a “last man in the locker room” strategy to provide new context on last night’s game, but is also well-versed in using advanced metrics or on-the-ground reporting to provide the correct context to keep the site in front of the story.

The site’s presentation of its biggest stories goes well beyond the ordinary. For example, rather than just write a traditional story about how the winner of the Boston Marathon achieved his historic victory, video interviews were blended with a scrolling map of the course, short information bursts, and other visuals to provide a much more entertaining and informative explanation.

To convey the story of the New England Patriots’ Super Bowl season, the best photography was combined with an audio narrative featuring a Globe columnist, players, and the coach to create an oral history of the season.

To cover the anticipated election of Boston Red Sox legend Pedro Martinez to the National Baseball Hall of Fame, a complete multimedia narrative was prepared in advance that included a deeply reported story, video of his greatest moments, interactive graphics that showed his statistics in engaging and creative ways, and the best photography. This was published within moments of his election to provide readers with so much more than the ordinary story.

To help readers understand the decisions the Patriots faced as they prepared for a new season, an interactive called “Being Bill Belichick” was created to guide them through the process of choosing which 53 players of 90 in training camp were the best fit for the team.

Readers do not need to visit the site to feel its influence, either. A popular baseball newsletter is sent each weekday that features not only summaries and links to Globe content, but also points them toward other items of interest. The newsletter author takes the role of friendly host, steering readers in the right direction for content of note. A vast social media campaign is also a key component of the site.

The site’s video content focuses on storytelling. To mark Derek Jeter’s final baseball game, our columnist recalled his fondest memories of watching him. To preview high school football championships, we focused on a team’s turnaround from winless to unbeaten rather than Xs and Os of a matchup.

Reporters and producers use the latest technology, apps, and tools to supplement content. Via Periscope, we bring our readers right to the press conference. Via Timeline JS, we provide the back-story without cluttering the narrative. Via mobile device, we document and visualize from the field, not the press box.

The overriding goal is to leave no question unanswered for our readers, and to deliver the answers they seek in the most creative and compelling fashion.