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The National’s Sports Year-Ender

December 27th, 2012 · No Comments · Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Journalism, London Olympics, Maradona, Motor racing, Newspapers, Olympics, Sports Journalism, The National

In yesterday’s post, I noted how difficult it is, in the Western world, to have good newspapers in the final week of the year. Parliaments are not in session, stock exchanges take days off, sources are out of town, fewer games are scheduled.

At newspapers, one of the bits of enterprise often used to fill the newspaper with something local and interesting … is the year-ender.

In theory, it is a semi-concise (OK, sometimes sprawling) round up of the biggest events of the soon-to-be-concluded year.

In practice, it is a way to fill empty news pages. Which also perhaps indulges the urge in many journalists to take a whack at playing historian: We tell you what mattered from the past year, not just from yesterday.

The National is doing a whole week of lookback, and the sports version?

Can be found here. And here.

Reading it online is less attractive than reading it in print, because we had 20 photos to accompany what we felt were the 20 most important sports stories in the UAE — or involving UAE athletes — from 2012.

Half a dozen writers offered up the three or four of the most significant events from their beats, and we collated them, pruning them down to 20 and organizing them chronologically, to be spread over four tabloid-size pages.

Making the list: The UAE Under 23 soccer team qualifying for the London 2012 Olympics; two Emiratis winning medals at the Paralympics; a UAE-based kid finishing sixth in the Olympic 200-meter butterfly; the firing of Diego Maradona as coach at Al Wasl; the meltdowns of Majed Naser, perhaps the country’s best goalkeeper; how Samoa won the Dubai (rugby) Sevens; Sebastian Vettel’s amazing drive from the back of the grid to third place at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix; Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid seeing one of his own horses win the big ($10 million) race at the Dubai World Cup; Tiger Woods’s appearance at the Abu Dhabi stop of the European Tour … and so forth.

It’s really quite handy. But it also is one of those things that is better to save the hard copy of, for future reference.

I have been doing year-enders for a long time. Pre-websites, I can remember sitting next to a stack of every sports section printed in that particular year, and paging through all of them to pull out news nuggets. It was a lengthy process, but the alternative — to look at it via microfilm — gave me killer headaches.

When editors here at The National decided to go ahead with year-enders for 2012, debate erupted over whether readers even look at these.

I suppose that does not really concern me, even if it should, because I like the idea of having the big events recapitulated in one place. A personal preference.

Year-enders are a lot of work. But they help get local copy back into the newspaper, they give context for how we got to where we are now, and they are a handy resources for those of us likely to forget sooner than later.


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