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What is this Half Court Press you speak of?
After 53 years of a virtual monopoly on Oakland University‘s print media market, an alternative newspaper has risen up to challenge the stagnant status quo. However, this new upstart is not so much of a competitor to the classic OU favorite, but rather a new addition to the campus.
Coined as The Half-court Press (HCP), their mission statement is to deliver news about the basketball team, albeit with a twist: this newspaper is satirical. In the same vein as the popular satire The Onion, the HCP project grew out of inspiration from another satirical basketball newspaper. The Refraction is an incredibly successful publication out of Utah State University, and is a pioneer for rouge student section newsletters. In fact, as a measure of popularity, their Facebook page has nearly 800 fans since the paper was started in October 2007. It was this model that provided spark and genesis of the HCP.
Although still in its infancy, the HCP staff remains upbeat about the material they have in store for the 2010-2011 season. “We have a great example [The Refraction] to follow and we came up with at least 20 ideas in the first two days, so there’s no shortage there,” said one staffer who, like the entire HCP staff, desires to remain anonymous. The enigmatic origins of the newspaper are perhaps the greatest strength of the newspaper. “We could be girls, or maybe guys, in a dorm, or maybe a warehouse. It shouldn’t matter to our reader. We love OU basketball and the University. At the end of the day, we’re really enthusiastic fans, just like you,” quoted Jericho Sanders, the co-editor.
The HCP plans to publish on weeks the Men’s Basketball team has games, in both paper and electronic format, using a WordPress blog, Facebook page, and the classic grapevine as ways of getting their name out there. As explained by Ivee West, another co-editor, the concept of dissemination is rather simple, “Before basketball games, people start coming in but you’re really just sitting there for like 20 minutes texting your mom or something. Why not get pumped, while having a few laughs, by reading the HCP?” The simplicity of the philosophy demonstrates just one facet of the HPC. “We’re just trying to have a good time with it all,” West continued.
“Let others keep trying to justify for the twentieth time the need for an OU football team. Who cares? We have a badass basketball team, one of the top mid major teams in the country. We just want to have fun while supporting our Golden Grizzlies,” quoted technology coordinator, Sparky McKay. The HCP staff explained yet another simple approach to the inception of ideas:stories are not necessarily written by one person. In fact, the effort is almost always collaborative. This environment has been the basis of the HCP model and the reason for its early success.
Sparky McKay made the distinction as an “alternative” clear, “‘Competitor’ has a connotation of rivals. Rivals have to be good at the same thing. The OP [Oakland Post] is good at talking about real stuff. We do comedy, or satire, or whatever you want to call it.” With this attitude and a growth of stories from more anonymous sources, the HCP has a solid start, sure to bring more sheep into the OU basketball fold.