PARKERSBURG, W.Va. — Two seasoned sports staffs are joining forces to form the Parkersburg News and Sentinel/Marietta Times Sports Department.
“We know sports coverage is very important to our readers,” said Jim Spanner, publisher of The Parkersburg News and Sentinel. “Operating as one unit will give us the opportunity to plan, and cover even more sporting events for the readers of the Mid-Ohio Valley.”
Following the retirement of longtime sports editor Dave Poe in November, the combined department will be overseen by newly named associate sports editors Kerry Patrick and Jordan Holland. They will coordinate an experienced sports staff familiar to the local community.
Patrick joined the News and Sentinel as a sports writer in 2007 after serving as sports editor of the Times for three years. Prior to that, the Illinois native spent 13 years working for daily newspapers in the Midwest.
“I always enjoyed sports, period, growing up,” Patrick said. As a journalist, he appreciates interviewing coaches and players to “find out a little more to what went on besides the scoreboard.
“I like keeping up with the personalities around this area that have moved on to maybe the professional level or some elite level of their sport,” he added, citing local athletes like the Cleveland Indians’ Nick Swisher, swimmer Tim Phillips, former professional soccer player Zak Boggs and Georgia Tech baseball Coach Danny Hall.
Holland started writing for the Marietta Times sports department shortly before his graduation from Marietta College in 2012. He said he’s enjoyed getting to know the local sports landscape over the last three years.
“We have a lot of really good teams,” Holland said. “I think it’s fun to go watch those, especially when two of our local teams are playing each other” and community members pack the gym.
Holland said he loves writing about sports and is looking forward to other challenges and new aspects of his job as associate sports editor. That will include more designing of pages and scheduling, as well as getting to know more about the teams on the West Virginia side of the Ohio River.
Both Holland and Patrick say they still expect to be out and about covering stories as well.
“We don’t just want both of us staying in the office and not getting out there in the public,” Patrick said.
That allows them to know what issues are important to coaches, athletic directors and the community as a whole, he said.
While the department will be one unit, the sports pages for each newspaper will still be distinct.
Sports writers Ron Johnston, Mike Morrison and Kevin Pierson will continue to operate primarily out of the Marietta office. Patrick and Holland will be based in Parkersburg, along with veteran sports writers Jay Bennett and Steve Hemmelgarn, relative newcomer Dustin Hoffman and sports copy desk workers and columnists Joe Albright and Ed Thomas.
But all the writers may cover teams from time to time that they haven’t as much in the past, as the schedule dictates.
Patrick emphasized one key to providing comprehensive local coverage is for coaches and teams to notify the department of their scores and statistics when writers are not able to cover their games. They can do that by calling the News and Sentinel at 304-485-1891, ext. 224, 255 or 272, or 1-800-642-1997, or the Times at 740-376-5441 or 1-800-531-1215.
For Saturday games and stats, callers are asked to contact the News and Sentinel.
Patrick said he’s worked with Holland as the departments exchanged stories and information for their respective publications.
“He’s got a good sense of what it takes to be in that position,” Patrick said. “And he’s young, so he can cover for me when I need 10 hours of sleep,” he added with a laugh.
Holland said he’s excited about the change.
“I think it’ll be good for everybody,” he said. “We’re just trying to do our best to do them (local teams, coaches and athletes) justice, and give them good coverage.”