DEAR READER: Multiple platforms find the social in Missouri football

Friday, September 6, 2013 | 4:58 p.m. CDT; updated 5:17 p.m. CDT, Friday, September 6, 2013

Dear Reader,

It was really kind of silly to wonder about the outcome of the Missouri football game against Murray State, wasn't it?


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Sure, strange things can happen. People get hit by lightning, die of one-in-a-million genetic conditions, and run into eastbound freight trains going 'round bends.

But it's not very likely.

Sportswriters could have written the game story in May. Just fill in the blanks: "Missouri (crushed, ran over, raced by) the Murray State Racers by a score of (42, 48, 58) to (0, 10, 14) in its first game of the season. Tigers coach Gary Pinkel said ('we still have a lot of work to do,' 'we learned some things today,' 'Murray State showed some real determination out there,' 'we have to get better before the next game')."

So why did 58,000 people show up in the collective sauna that was Memorial Stadium? And what do you cover when the least exciting aspect of the day is the final score?

Answer: everything else.

So the Tigers Report Live provided score-by-score results as they happened, but it wrapped those around a video tailgating feature, stories on players and teams, and photos on and off the field. It was produced using ScribbleLive, a program that makes it easy to aggregate in real time both staff submissions and social media comments and photos. Editor Frank Russell says to expect more posts and a live photo blog for Toledo’s game.

The Missourian’s community outreach team used another aggregation tool, RebelMouse, to display photos by fans inside the stadium and beyond. It was called, aptly, "Social Football."

Alex Smith, one of the Missourian’s two Missouri football beat reporters, wrote two articles, neither of which named a single player. Alex took in Keith Miller’s “TigerMobile” tailgate and wrote about the search for water around the stadium throughout the game.

And there was even an article about the actual game.

My father-in-law wants all the X’s and O’s. He shows up because that's what season ticket holders do; it's kind of unthinkable to be somewhere else that's not a wedding, birth or a funeral. I'm convinced that he and my brother-in-law go to have something to grumble about. Play-calling, play-making, calling penalties on plays — the opportunities for complaint are endless.

They are alums, so school loyalty plays a big part. Sarah Wilkinson is also an MU graduate. She told a reporter before the Murray State game: “It’s our day to be together.” For her, football is OK, but tailgating is tops.

The community outreach team is back at its own tailgate this year on Tiger Avenue next to Crowder Hall. Staff members passed out fans, the paper kind, and took photos of fans, human and canine. Photos ran on the Missourian site, as well as on Facebook and Instagram. A video of an empty street ran on Vine, a site for six-second videos. The video, while hardly award winning, showed the heat drove away at least some would-be tailgaters.

As I write you, editors are making plans to tweak and improve for Toledo. After Murray State, coach Pinkel said, “We have some things to work on to continue to get better as a football team.” We’re all working to get better, coach.

I hope you’re working on having a good weekend.


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