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Rubado column: Introducing the Highway 10 Hoops Preview

This is a column written by Jared Rubado about the upcoming Highway 10 Hoops Preview. This is column does not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Detroit Lakes Tribune.

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Jared Rubado
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There is a lot to look forward to this winter in local high school athletics.

Many area teams and athletes are looking to return to their respective state tournaments, and some are looking to make the trip after missing out last year. It’s an exciting time to be a player, coach or follower of area sports.

At the end of the spring season last year, I wrote a column about how there would be changes in local sports coverage while not straying away from the norm. This column announces one of those changes.

In years past, the Detroit Lakes Tribune has done a Winter Sports Preview section for the towns of Detroit Lakes, Frazee and Lake Park-Audubon. Last year, I added Mahnomen-Waubun to the mix. It was the most stressful project I’ve been a part of in four years of working in newspapers.

The problem wasn’t the teams or the workload. The fun part was getting to meet and learn about all the winter sports teams. However, I ran into a time shortage. Meeting the content deadline for this project meant excluding some sports. To put it in perspective, Detroit Lakes girls hockey will have played four games by the time this reaches the print edition of the newspaper, while the Detroit Lakes and Perham-New York Mills boys swimming and diving teams are still two weeks away from starting practice.

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In summation, there’s no way to meet the deadline and do adequate preview stories for each area team without making a change. So how can we put out our preview section, make sure every team is covered and meet our deadlines?

This December, we are rolling out the Highway 10 Hoops Preview. Much like the Detroit Lakes Tribune’s annual football preview, this will be a basketball-focused section for boys and girls teams in 10 different towns on or near Highway 10. Detroit Lakes, Perham, Wadena-Deer Creek, New York Mills, Frazee, Lake Park-Audubon, Pelican Rapids, Mahnomen-Waubun, Hawley and Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton will all be included.

With this decision comes a lot of questions. Why basketball?

This area of the state is loaded with state-tournament hopefuls and long-standing rivalries. This year specifically showcases teams looking to compete not just for section championships, but also state championships. I think this is a perfect time to capitalize on the basketball buzz for this season, with many teams that will play against each other over the next four months.

What happens to the other preview stories for other sports?

Absolutely nothing. In addition to the basketball previews, we are making the rounds to other winter sports for preseason stories. We will do extended features during home openers for the teams we can’t get to before the season. This is how I’ve done it in the past. The only change is they won’t be in the preview section. They will still be in the Detroit Lakes Tribune, Perham Focus or Wadena-Pioneer Journal.

Ultimately, this decision allows us to do better work showcasing local athletes. With some sports starting later, it wasn’t feasible to do a full preview before the season. For teams already in competition season, the preview section wouldn’t get into the reader’s hands until they’ve already played half of their games.

I think this also gives us a chance to represent more communities. High school athletes deserve local media coverage, and we’re doing more of it with a better use of resources and time this way.

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None of this will impact the Laker Book, Jacket Book or WDC Winter Sports Guide. If this entire project turns out to be a failed attempt, we will go back to the drawing board next time. I would love to hear your feedback. You can reach me at jrubado@dlnewspapers.com if you have any questions or concerns. I appreciate your interest in local media.

I’m looking forward to another fantastic winter sports season.

Jared Rubado is the sports editor for the Detroit Lakes Tribune and the Perham Focus. He moved to the area in September of 2021 after covering sports for the Alexandria Echo Press for nearly three years. Jared graduated from the University of Augustana in 2018 with degrees in journalism and sports managment.
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