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Attendance figures in the story

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Inky_Wretch, Aug 29, 2007.

  1. Inky_Wretch

    Inky_Wretch Well-Known Member

    Why do some writers put the "announced attendance" in the first few graphs of a story? I was reminded of it reading some baseball stories today, and you really see it in CFB stories.

    What does it add to the story? Shouldn't it be left in the box or, at least, taken out of the first third of the story?
  2. Chi City 81

    Chi City 81 Guest

    I've seen Paul Sullivan at the Trib do it as the season has gone along. IMO, it does add something to say there were 40,000-plus (at capacity or higher) at Wrigley. It tells a bit of the atmosphere. It's dumb to use in a lede, IMO, but I have no problem adding a detail like that to set the scene.
  3. expendable

    expendable Well-Known Member

    I'm with you.

    If its a record attendance or if it's dreadfully low, I believe it might be warrented. Though, I've seen newspapers that think attendance in the first three graphs is almost as important as the final score.
  4. loveyabye

    loveyabye Guest

    A lot of people seem to want to know the attendance around my place. I have been told to not leave it out. And my dad, for example, when he reads a story will say out loud, "wow, there were 30,000 at that CFB game, that's not too many." or whatever. Point is some people always look for it.
  5. Ace

    Ace Well-Known Member

    Attendance can be important. If there are 5,000 for a high school basketball game, that's a big deal a lot of places.

    If there are 250 for a pro soccer game, that's worth noting as well.

    And the use of "announced attendance" is to take into account that the people conjuring up the number may be lying or counting tickets sold (but not used).
  6. Inky_Wretch

    Inky_Wretch Well-Known Member

    Ace, that's another problem I have with it. Unless it's a turnstile count, the "announced attendance" is often a guess. And it's usually done by somebody whose job security depends on good attendance.

    I'm sure we've all been at a game where the attendance is announced and a wave of laughter sweeps through the press box. Why include information that is likely incorrect just because it's given to you by an SID staffer or PR flack?
  7. Joe Williams

    Joe Williams Well-Known Member

    I was just about to make the same point as Inky_Wretch, too -- that "announced" almost always gets used when it appears the crowd is smaller than the figure given -- but then I paused. If you're dealing with a number like 41,374 at Wrigley Field or something, "announced" might account for the SROs, where you can't just go by the fixed seats.

    Still, I say leave the attendance to the box score unless it's an unexpectedly small or unexpectedly large number. If the crowd -- or lack of crowd -- plays a role in the event or occasion, then it's worth including in the story, too, as high as needed. But to make it as mandatory as the score, the teams and the day -- which some papers seem to do -- is just a bad habit.
  8. Ace

    Ace Well-Known Member

    Some papers simply have a policy of getting attendance and the announced number is the best you've got.

    And, frankly, how many people were there is often of interest.
  9. zeke12

    zeke12 Guest

    I have no problem with it getting in, but keep it out of the first three grafs, pu-leeze, unless you're using it to set the scene.
  10. Editude

    Editude Active Member

    Announced particularly applies at events like minor league baseball, which have lots of season-ticket holders but a much smaller core of fans. So the announced 4,567 makes sense to the actual 1,000 who were there.
  11. Some Guy

    Some Guy Active Member

    Our paper requires us to get attendance figures in the story. There's no set guideline on how high, but they'd like it as high as possible. Such as ... "Williams threw for 367 yards and five touchdowns as the Gougers beat the Jerkoffs 45-6 before a crowd of 203 at Creaky Bleacher Stadium."

    Also, if it's quite obvious the announced attendance is nowhere close to the actual attendance, we are allowed to make that judgment call and include the "announced" in there.

    Not really sure why this is important, but to my bosses, it is.

    Also, if we're at a high school game where they don't always announce attendance, we're required to hunt down the information from an AD, an administrator or (honest to God) a law enforcement official.
  12. BB Bobcat

    BB Bobcat Active Member

    I've always found it to be irrelevant unless...

    1. It is unusually high.
    2. It is unusually low.
    3. The actual figure is likely much different from the announced figure. In that case, it does add something to let the readers know that, "although the game was announced as a sellout, there were thousands of empty seats."
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