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Arriving to an empty building

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by valpo87, Oct 19, 2014.

  1. valpo87

    valpo87 Guest

    This just happened to me a few hours ago. There was a two-day boxing tournament that had a few local youths and I talked to my editors who said it would be a cool story. But since I was already booked for a Sunday evening event, they wanted me to go to the second day.

    I talked with the local coach who was organizing the event. He told me multiple times in emails that at least one or two of the local boxers were guaranteed a fight in the second day. I confirmed with him what the plan was, so I drove about an hour from home this morning to the center.

    When I walked in, they were tearing down the ring because the tournament ended yesterday. I still did my interviews, but had my camera in hand. Also, it turns out a majority of the local boxers went unopposed so they didn't fight at all. The one who did win a title match was not there and I wasn't given any contact information.

    It got me to think how often this happens to other writers and how they would handle this since the only action photos will be provided by parents on their phones.
  2. Ace

    Ace Well-Known Member

    Yes. Can happen in tournaments but especially in boxing or wrestling that ca go faster if there are a lot of forfeits. They aren't going to drag it out just because they said it would end then.

    Chalk it up to a learning experience.
  3. Dick Whitman

    Dick Whitman Well-Known Member

    When I was a 17-year-old stringer, I accidentally covered the JV game on one of my first assignments.
  4. SnarkShark

    SnarkShark Well-Known Member

    I showed up to a football game that didn't have a team in our coverage area, once.

    The visiting team (from our coverage are), which was going to get blasted, cancelled that afternoon, and the home team scrambled to replace the visiting team. The two teams playing were not in my coverage area.

    Nobody felt it was important to contact the friendly, neighborhood sports writer.
  5. Amphibious Rodent

    Amphibious Rodent New Member

    We've all been there. I showed up once to an empty softball stadium an hour away from home when there was supposed to be four playoff games going on. I called the AD from my coverage area, who told me it had been cancelled due to the threat of thunderstorms that never materialized. I had him look up the nearest In N Out Burger for me.
  6. MTM

    MTM Well-Known Member

    As a stringer, I took the lineups from the scorekeeper, who didn't wonder why I was covering the JV game. I somehow figured it out and raced across campus to the varsity game.

    Another time, I was taking the lineups and the scorekeeper mentioned that a staffer from the paper was there. I called the SE, who said he wanted me at the baseball game between the schools, at the other campus, instead of softball, which I usually covered. Fortunately, the school's weren't too far away and I only missed the scoreless first inning.

    If the scorekeeper didn't say something, I never would have figured it out because I knew the staffer by name but not face.
  7. Baron Scicluna

    Baron Scicluna Well-Known Member

    I had a couple of times when early in a season, I would go to cover a varsity game (usually baseball or softball) and I would stumble on the JV game. I'd ask what level it was at, get my answer, then as I would leave, get a couple of dirty looks because I wasn't staying to cover their game.
  8. MTM

    MTM Well-Known Member

    We all have stories about photographers coming back with photos of JV cross country because we told him/her to be there at 3 p.m., but didn't mention that JV goes first.
  9. ColdCat

    ColdCat Well-Known Member

    Basketball district final last year gets delayed from Friday to Saturday night because of a snowstorm. It's about an hour from the office but I trek out there. Empty parking lot, locked doors. I call the coach and find out that because they were expecting more bad weather Saturday, they played at 1 p.m. (and didn't tell anybody). I drove back empty-handed on pristine roads in perfect weather.
  10. SFIND

    SFIND Well-Known Member

    A school in my area built a new building last year. I went out to a game in early December, which was my first time at the new building. It was snowing that night. The forecast was calling for 2+ inches in the area (it only snowed about a half inch).

    It's out in the county in the middle of nowhere. It's pitch black out, with only my headlights and a few lights in the parking lot. I drove around the new building twice. I saw no parked cars in any lot. I did see only a couple of other cars driving around the lots, which I assumed where fans from the visiting school. I stop and check my phone to see if I've gotten a notice that the game is postponed because of the snow, which I don't. The other cars leave. I figure the game must be postponed. I have a backup profile ready to run in place of a gamer, so I just leave and we run that the next day.

    Of course, a couple of hours later, I got an email from the team with the box score. I drove out the next day in daylight to see where the gym is at. It's tucked into the school, and there's a small parking lot close to the building that's hidden behind a brick wall. Still, there must have been about 3 people at the game. When I was there 45 minutes before varsity tip off, there wasn't a single car parked in any of the other lots.
  11. boxingnut4324

    boxingnut4324 Member

    Slated to cover a football game between Podunk and South last season at 7. In my area come October a lot of games get bumped up to Friday afternoon starts because of West Nile or other mosquito-borne illnesses that towns spray for at night.

    So I'm reading the weekly football column around 430 to get a primer on the evening and right in the middle I read "The Podunk-South game will kickoff at 4 due to night spraying for mosquitoes." Well fuck me I guess. It's not as if all five people above me have my number or email and could have contacted me. So happy I don't work for them anymore.
  12. SoloFlyer

    SoloFlyer Active Member

    I'm sorry, but even with a new building and a somewhat hidden parking lot, how do you not at least try to get into the building? How do you not call your editor or a coworker and double-check? I never leave a site without double and even triple-checking with someone else. Are we sure it's at the high school and not at the middle school? Have we heard anything about a schedule change? Doing a drive-by and saying, "Oh, there's hardly anyone here, must be cancelled" just strikes me as lazy.

    Same goes with boxingnut4324...why are you doing your prep just 2.5 hours right before the game? No one's holding your hand in this business. I don't care if you work for a weekly or 100,000 circulation daily. Be prepared, and not just an hour or two before the game. That's especially true when you admit you're in an area that moves game times around quite a bit.

    Sorry, but the last two posts just struck me as unacceptable. It's one thing for it to be a situation like the original post. Boxing tournament ends earlier than anticipated, there's no communication. Game gets cancelled at the last minute, no one from the school calls or emails. You triple-check, have no updated information, and the doors are all locked. It happens.

    Doing a spin around the parking lot or looking at a game time just a couple hours before it starts isn't the same thing. That's your own damn fault.
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