The Magic Behind Game Day

Interview with Peter Huoppi from The Day

By Hannah Gellar

Before every great ECC game there is nothing like the coverage from the “Game Day” previews to get the crowds and players amped for the game. The master behind the production is no other than Peter Huoppi, the director of multimedia at The Day newspaper in New London.

Viking Saga: What is your job here at The  Day?

Peter Huoppi: My main job is video stories. Either stories I shoot and produce, or supervising a couple of people who do it. When I originally started it was short form news reports and then since I have been here it has expanded. We have done full length documentaries, live streaming games, and experimenting with other creative stories.

VS: Most people are familiar with the Game Day videos you produce. Do you have a background in athletics?

Huoppi: I was a not great athlete. I was on the sailing team at Middlebury College where I was a environmental studies major. But there I worked on the student newspaper and also had a photographer job for the athletic department.

VS: Have you always worked at The Day?

Huoppi: No. Before I came to The Day I worked at a newspaper in Vermont as a still photographer. A lot of what I did there was sports photography.

VS: When you are taking pictures and videos for sports specifically, what is the angle you try to capture?

Huoppi: I look for pictures or videos that can tell the stories of the game. Obviously, you try to capture the peak of action, but photographically we try to get good exciting pictures. Once we create the article for the next day, we need pictures that ideally tell the story of the game. The same goes for video. For example, if I have great plays from Waterford, I will include some of those, but because East Lyme won the game, I try to include clips to tell the story.

VS: As a high school student, I have noticed the Game Day videos and your twitter account really gets people hyped up and excited for the games. What is your goal behind these  previews?

Huoppi: Traditionally, at a newspaper, it is one-way publishing. You do all the reporting, and then it goes into the newspaper and then you have a separate marketing department. That is the same way it is at a television station. Dealing with online now, it is more important for the journalist and newsroom staff to be involved beforehand to show the public that this is what we are going to do. Then afterwards once we have a preview video, people will then have the information to look for the projects we are going to do.

VS: What is the strategy in order to get these videos out to the public?

Huoppi: What I have found is we reach way more people if we try to get stuff out there on as many platforms as possible. For example, we did a feature on Luke Lenard for one of the games. Last night, I did a feature on J.R, TJ and Jacob. Instead of leaving that just on our broadcast, we put that out on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube beforehand to get people interested in the game. But also for people who are causal fans, or not sports fans, my hope is they see those stories, and someone who maybe doesn’t care if Waterford or East Lyme wins, they still get to know the athletes. Then, instead it being just a bunch of names from some school, it allows people to know these student athletes, maybe leading them to be interested in seeing what happens to the game. These videos are spreading awareness, but more importantly getting the story out there. I am trying to reach as big of an audience as possible.
VS: How many people view the Game Day  videos?

Huoppi: The Waterford vs. East Lyme game was our biggest regular season audience by far. It was about 25 hundred live viewers. When we add in live viewers, people watching the replay of the game, people watching the stories, for a whole season, we have 100 thousand viewers over the course of a season.

VS: How do you think the Game Day videos have helped The Day as a company?

Huoppi: Part of the idea of this is people your age who maybe wouldn’t pick up the newspaper ever, are starting to know what The Day as a company is. I see on Twitter people your age who are not people I follow, tweeting out asking about the game and if it will be livestreamed. That is the first step towards getting the younger generations to become readers of The Day. A high school teen is not the average audience of the newspaper. Our videos have reached those generations we normally would not reach.

VS: Overall, how do you think the Game Day Video influence the game?

Huoppi: I feel as though the teams in the school appreciate the coverage. We have gotten a lot of great emails and comments watching the game. We are trying to highlight positive things and get people involved in something that is fun and interesting. There is a lot of serious and negative stories in the newspaper. I think it is fun to show something that is fun and exciting and makes the community excited.

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