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Another youth sports thread

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Smallpotatoes, Aug 19, 2006.

  1. Smallpotatoes

    Smallpotatoes Well-Known Member

    I've started a few threads about this in the past, but the situation has popped up again.
    The procedure we have with youth copy is that we forward it to our typesetters, who put the copy into a Word file, clean it up and format it. Before I lay out the youth sports page, I go over the copy, editing it for content and cleaning it up even more. At no time, however, as I'm going through the file do I check to see that everything that is supposed to be in that file is in that file.
    That's where I got into trouble this week.
    This afternoon I received a call from a guy who sent a brief article about a 13-year-old baseball team that won its league title. He said it never made it into the paper and it was the third straight year it had happened.
    I checked my inbox to see if I received the piece. I did. I check to see if I forwarded it to our typesetters. I did. But it never made it into the youth baseball file that I edited before laying it out and I didn't realize it until the guy called me this afternoon.
    The file was about 35 inches long, so I assumed that everything that I received and sent to typesetting made it into the file. I receive dozens of these things each week and after a while I can't tell one from another. Our typesetters have to deal with hundreds of these things, so I suppose things do get lost in the shuffle sometimes.
    I explained this to the guy and he said I should have realized it wasn't in the file before it went to print. But as I said, when I'm editing these things, I'm just editing them. I'm not checking what's in the file against what I received.
    The guy said it was the third time it happened (I've noticed this always seems to happen to the same people), though he never called about it before. I can understand how he thinks I'm thinking "Fuck it, it's only 13-year-old baseball," and that it's more than a simple matter of something getting misplaced.
    But I've yet to come up with a way of logging and checking these things and I've yet to figure out what to do if something that I received gets dropped somewhere along the way. When editing something like this, how important is this step of checking what I received against what's in the file, the step that I don't do and think is too much trouble?
    The other strange thing about what he sent me was that it looked like a caption to a team photo: "The Hometown Sluggers won the Humjob Summer Baseball League tournament for 13-year-old bats-left, throws-right redheadded Methodists. Here are the kids on the team:..."
    But there was no photo.
    I asked him about that and he said there wasn't a photo. That was the article. That was all there was to put in there. Apparently the team won the tournament despite not having any kids have any hits or RBI or having any pitchers strike out anybody. Either that or he just wanted to make sure Bobby Benchwarmer felt like he had as much to do with winning the championship as Feddy Fireballer.
  2. Ledbetter

    Ledbetter Active Member

    Other than checking off each item received against what's on the page, I'm not sure what else you can do.
  3. Tom Petty

    Tom Petty Guest

    fuck it, it's only 13-year-old baseball
  4. Smallpotatoes

    Smallpotatoes Well-Known Member

    That attitude could get me fired.
  5. TheHacker

    TheHacker Member

    Hey Small ... I deal with this same issue, though I don't have anyone outside the sports department handle the copy. We do it all ourselves, which is for the best anyway, because it all has to be rewritten. Our ME once tried to get me to turn the copy over to someone else so we wouldn't have to spend so much time on it, but I'd just as soon do it myself to make sure it gets done right. We don't have anyone else at our place who's got the combination of editing background, sports knowledge and time necessary to handle the chore.

    Here's the best suggestion I can give you. Print every youth sports e-mail you get and give that stack to your typsetter people along with whatever electronic file you give them to work with. And tell them that before they turn the electronic file back over to you, they should go through the pile of printouts and make sure all of them are included. Even that's not perfect, but it's a system that should minimize the amount of stuff that gets left out.

    And yes, Tom Petty, it is only 13-year old baseball and you and I and Small really couldn't give a rat's ass about it. But when your company's top brass mandates that you pay attention to it, you can circumvent a lot of problems for yourself by doing what you have to do to make sure you don't get any "why don't you pay attention to youth sports" complaints. Because invariably, those folks will e-mail or call everyone but the sports department when they're pissed off.
  6. Smallpotatoes

    Smallpotatoes Well-Known Member

    This is what I was thinking of doing:
    On a legal pad, I'll write down the sport, teams and town of each piece I receive, check when I forward each piece to typesetting and when I edit the file, check off each piece as I find it in the file. If something's missing, I'll go through my e-mail, find it and place it in the file.
    Does that sound like a little too much effort?
  7. Tom Petty

    Tom Petty Guest

    and for that, i feel bad for you.
  8. spaceman

    spaceman Active Member

    start a check list of all the elements that are supposed to be in there.
    and then check off against it when you get the stuff back.


    Build in a hedder into the text that numerically accounts for each one... example.

    1. East Buttfuck Little League
    2. West Buttfuck Little League
    3. Central Buttfuck... etc.
    and then take out the numbers when you get it back.... but if you miss it and the number gets in, it's not the end of the world
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