While it’s certainly no knock against my hometown newspaper — which covered my high school teams more than adequately — the media coverage and internet attention high school athletes receive nowadays does make me a little bit jealous.
Every day, there’s a different buzzer beater making its rounds on YouTube or a great touchdown catch trending on Twitter — I’m certain that nothing goes unnoticed in the era of digital media.
And while media attention for high school athletes is growing in all markets, athletes in Lebanon County are downright spoiled by the fast-growing Lebanon Sports Buzz website — run by a self-proclaimed frustrated athlete, Jeff Falk.
“They say those who can’t play sports either officiate or write about them. At heart, I’m a frustrated athlete,” Falk said. “I didn’t possess enough natural ability to be competitive, so I chose to write about them.”
Launched in July 2011, Lebanon Sports Buzz is a local internet sports magazine that solely covers Lebanon County sports. Falk, who covered local sports at the Lebanon Daily News for 26 years, saw the news industry headed down the digital path so he decided to take a chance on the website.
“Though I hatched the idea for Lebanon Sports Buzz two years prior, I believed that the biggest reason I was let go (from the Lebanon Daily News) was because of the internet,” Falk added. “The decline of the newspaper industry was one of the biggest determining factors in my decision to launch Lebanon Sports Buzz. If I hadn’t thought there was a good market for local sports coverage, I wouldn’t have started it.”
Falk certainly read the market correctly; when the site first launched, Lebanon Sports Buzz was getting around 200 hits per month. Last month, its 19th month online, Lebanon Sports Buzz generated more than 12,000 ad impressions.
The site covers all sports at the seven major high schools in Lebanon County. Falk’s goal is to provide coverage of local sports to an extent that has never been seen before.
“Not unlike the weather, I truly enjoy the change in sports seasons. Just when one sport is becoming monotonous and repetitive, it’s time for another one to start,” Falk said. “Hopefully that mindset keeps the content fresh and exciting. What I do try to do is cover more of the sports that I believe people are interested in.”
And as for what is next for Jeff Falk and Lebanon Sports Buzz?
“Lebanon Sports Buzz could serve as a protoype for something like Dauphin Sports Buzz or Lancaster Sports Buzz. If it works in conservative Lebanon, there’s no reason it can’t work in the more affluent neighboring counties,” Falk said. “The biggest challenge will be identifying qualified journalists and experienced content providers because I believe that compelling content holds the key to success.”
Visit www.lebanonsportsbuzz.com to read more about Jeff Falk and all of the happenings in Lebanon County high school sports.