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Dear dimwit on the phone

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Starman, Jan 21, 2010.

  1. stix

    stix Active Member

    Well, I can explain the first gaffe: The "5-yard mistake." Happens all time time. People look at the wrong yard lines and fuck up in increments of 5 (obviously, I've done it plenty before). A 20-yard INT return for a TD that I saw happen on the 20 comes over later as a 25- or 15-yarder. But I rely on my own stats for any games I cover.

    You can usually pick out the good stats guys after working in one spot for a while. My pet peeve is when they only provide numbers when they send stats for a game I need. Then you gotta find rosters and look it all up. Ugh.
  2. stix

    stix Active Member

    Ha, nice.

    I've been asked to do football predictions now and then over the years, but I always decline. Last thing I need is to go out and cover games or try to wrangle up quotes and info for previews and get shit for my picks. I'm cool with all the coaches, they'd probably just give me some good-natured shit if I picked against them, but I don't need to hear any more shit from dickhead parents.
  3. stix

    stix Active Member

    In July, we outsourced our printing from about 20 miles away to a different state about 120 miles away.

    So, to get the trucks to drive all that way, our deadlines moved from 10:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. We're a fucking daily paper. Make sense of that one. Pretty much everything in sports (aside from features and previews) is a day old now. No choice. We do as much supplementary stuff for the web and social as possible, but I'm stretched so thin, I don't have time to basically do a separate digital section and a print section every damn day.

    On the plus side, our publisher made no announcement at all to the public when this change occurred. I'm still answering calls about it. Thankfully baseball season is over, so I can stop the madness of old people calling every 7 minutes and reaming me out for being a fucking idiot cause the standings were a day old (I didn't want to run em at all, but something has to go on the agate page), as if I wasn't aware.

    That's been fun.
    Slacker and Batman like this.
  4. Batman

    Batman Well-Known Member

    We're in a small town, so he is the competition. I have no idea if he's making money off his web site, but our town is small enough that the pot of ad dollars is probably not infinite. There is the potential that he'll eventually hurt us by siphoning off some of that money. He's enough of a nuisance that he's gotten in our head a bit as a newsroom and he's certainly got our attention.
    Something else that's pissing me off is when he posted on Facebook a few weeks back that his site is "the biggest newspaper in town." I have no idea what he bases that on since he doesn't print anything, and we pulled up the web traffic on our site and his and it's not even close. Our web site gets about 10 times the hits his does.
    OscarMadison likes this.
  5. stix

    stix Active Member

    Oh, man. Yeah, that's a pain. Not much you can do about that crap, I guess. People don't care about facts anymore. That's what social media has done. If you want something to be true, you just say it's true and people won't bother enough to care if it really is.
    OscarMadison and Batman like this.
  6. Batman

    Batman Well-Known Member

    We went through the same thing a couple of years ago. We were an afternoon paper with a 10 a.m. deadline, but switched to a morning paper with an 8 p.m. deadline. It's nice not to have to get up at 4:30 a.m., but it does suck on putting stuff in the print edition. All of our Tuesday night high school games don't get in until Thursday's paper. We also went to five days a week, with a weekend edition and no Monday edition, so anything in the fall that happens on Thursday night doesn't get in print at all. It's too late for the Friday paper, and the weekend edition is filled with football. You just learn to live with it, recast your stories a bit to make them more evergreen, and do what you can.
  7. stix

    stix Active Member


    HS football wasn't bad at all. The once-a-week nature of that sports makes it way more ideal for this type of approach. We do a lot of preview stuff and a Monday Morning Quarterback feature each Monday that just does a big recap of the weekend. Gamers have to be featurized, though I always do that no matter what because I find play-by-play gamers pretty mind-numbing.

    The challenge was other sports where by the time I got to something, they had already played again. So I've done a lot of weekly roundups, features when I can. It's kind of nice to get off the hamster wheel of doing roundups and shit every day. Most people were OK once I explained the situation. Some said they hated it and were going to cancel their subscription, but they knew it wasn't anything I planned. Fine by me.
  8. Batman

    Batman Well-Known Member

    Football season is a piece of cake. We have four teams, so I do my running and writing Monday and Tuesday, and the Wednesday, Thursday and Friday papers take care of themselves. Then we kept a midnight deadline for Friday (a very firm midnight deadline because we're also mail delivery), so we do get those games in the weekend edition. Writing three or four gamers and finishing a section in two hours can get a little hairy, but I haven't been more than 20 minutes late this season.
    For Tuesday I do a Four Downs thing where I find four items from the football weekend to highlight. Ideally it's a mini feature and a few notebook type items I noticed from around the state. I take Saturday off most weeks, then write that and do some other housekeeping items on Sunday afternoon. If I find some obscure stat or item in the college notes, it's actually a breeze to write and at 1,000 words is a nice anchor for the Tuesday section. I keep that up through the end of the college regular season or high school season, which are both around the first week of December.
  9. HanSenSE

    HanSenSE Well-Known Member

    The paper I string for is in the same boat, ridiculously early deadline for the dead tree edition. IIRC, they had standalone art of the Super Bowl the day after the game that was a glorified reefer to the website, with the second-day stories on Tuesday in print.

    Even though my story is usually on the website by midnight, it's a challenge going in to find an angle that'll go beyond the routine gamer that'll hold up in print two days later. Like tonight, at a sectional volleyball match, thought I had a good angle, only to see the home team lose the last two sets and it was the ol' reliable last hurrah for the seniors angle.
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2019
  10. NNDman

    NNDman Member

    I know all about that 5-yard thing! I think what happened with the losing team's stats for the winning team that I referred to was this: One of those rare double infractions (one against each team) inside the 20 yard line. A's RB went from the B22 to the B8 where he was face masked. It looked ugly and A7 was flagged for a dead ball personal foul for a push in the back of the B offender. So, we have a 14 yard gain for the RB, a 4-yard penalty vs. B (additional first down I believe) and a 15 penalty against A with the ball respotted B's 19.
  11. flexmaster33

    flexmaster33 Well-Known Member

    In my neck of the woods, we have high school water polo ... fairly popular although it is club status.
    With staff cutbacks that has been the sport that has been the biggest after thought in the new reality.
    Late in the season, one team's parents start piping up with their 'no coverage' complaints.

    I end up with a slow week and am able to make it out. The team lost its first game of the year, and I was there to cover it ... lol
  12. fossywriter8

    fossywriter8 Well-Known Member

    "You only cover us when we lose" AND "You're costing kids scholarships" all in one.
    PaperClip529, OscarMadison and Batman like this.
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