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Embarrassing question, please read, please help

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by asdjournalist, Aug 18, 2010.

  1. asdjournalist

    asdjournalist New Member

    Hey, how's it going? I'm a journalism major in college and a few days ago I was hired by the local paper to be a stringer for the nearby high school football team.

    I've written sports stories before for my high school and college paper, but I have a few questions I'm sure are common sense for the more seasoned and experience vets out there like all of you guys.

    My sports editor wants me to provide an AP box at the end of the game over the phone. What is an AP box?

    Associated Press, I know, but what stats are in an AP box for a high school football game? Do I need to know not just what the QB passed for, how many TDs and Ints, but also how many recs and yards each and every receiver had and how many carries and yards each and every rusher had and every tackle recorded? Or is there more? What other stats are included in an AP box?

    Thanks for any help you guys can offer. I appreciate it.
  2. Ace

    Ace Well-Known Member

    You can't assume on this, asd. You need to go back to the guy and ask him to send you an example of the box they use.

    AP doesn't have a standard format for high school boxes, to my knowledge.

    Once you find out exactly what he wants, your next problem is how to gather that information since you won't get a stat sheet at a high school game.
  3. Good advice from Ace.

    To expand, every newspaper does stats a little differently, especially with HS. However, many teams have a manager or parent keeping stats. Check with the coach, and if they do, have the stat person give you a call on your cell phone ASAP after the game. Otherwise, you're keeping them yourself. And you probably want to get in the habit of doing it yourself anyway, so you have drive information, scoring plays, etc., just in case you don't get a call.
  4. Scoop returns

    Scoop returns Member

    Quick advice, go back and look at how your newspaper did it last fall. I am sure there is an archives. That saves you from looking unprepared and uninformed in the eyes of your new boss. When i covered high schools way back in the day, hated doing those boxes but what I did was set up shell cap that would copy into a new file and then plug in the numbers. Much quicker. Good luck.
  5. albert77

    albert77 Well-Known Member

    The basic high school summary format I use is this:

    Poduck 00-00-00-00 – 00
    Hicksville 00-00-00-00 – 00
    First Quarter
    P – Joe Blow 20 run (Jack Blow kick), 0:00 (0 plays/00 yards/0:00 possession).
    Second Quarter
    H – John Doe 40 pass from Jack Doe (kick failed), 0:00 (0/00/0:00).
    Third Quarter
    P – Al Blow 60 fumble return (Joe Blow run), 0:00
    P H
    First downs 0 0
    Rushes-yards 00-000 00-00
    Passing yards 000 000
    Comp-Att-Int 00-00-0 00-00-0
    Fumbles-lost 0-0 0-0
    Pen-yards 0-00 0-00
    Punts-avg 0-00.0 0-00.0

    I don't include individual stats on my sums, but it would be relatively easy to do. It's just that usually include key individual stats in the game story, and not doing each individual in the sum saves me a little time on deadline. Hope this helps.
  6. Ace

    Ace Well-Known Member

    Risky to rely on the team. I've been burned plenty.

    Most teams aren't too concerned about getting them on Friday night and will do their real stats off game films.

    A few are real good about it and may have computerized box scores right after the game.

    But you need to know what you're dealing with. They might say they are keeping stats and will share them after the game but will get overwhelmed in the second quarter and slink away.
  7. SixToe

    SixToe Active Member

    Don't be embarrassed.

    The person who hired you should have outlined some of his expectations and requirements, and asked what you know or don't know.

    Return, ask questions, get answers. Ask the questions you think may be dumb. But if you don't ask and then screw up something, the bottom line is "All you had to do was ask."

    Check with the team stats guy to double check. Use halftime to check your first-half stats (while stealing a glance at the cheerleaders).

    Don't worry, either. You're not managing a peace accord in the Middle East. Have fun and enjoy it.
  8. Ace

    Ace Well-Known Member

    I never get mad if people ask me specifically what we want (length, deadline, what kind of information, stats, etc.)

    I get mad if they ask me hand-holding stuff like how to get to the school, whether they have wifi, what the phone number is, etc.
  9. amraeder

    amraeder Well-Known Member

    Yeah. I'd definitely ask for what they want. I usually ask for them to e-mail me a copy of their box (filled out. The shell can sometimes be confusing). Then I can see what exactly they're looking for. If you don't know what the numbers mean in the box, just ask. If I were your editor I'd rather spend 10 minutes now going over questions than 2 minutes on deadline. Ask now. Don't worry about it. Anyone worth a damn wouldn't judge you for not knowing. If you want, preface your questions with "I just want to make sure I get everything right, so...." Who can fault a man (or woman) who wants to be accurate?

    The other question is -- do you have a system set up for taking stats. I know there have been a few threads on here in the past about how various people on the board do it. But a good system will save you a million headaches at the end of the night.
  10. jlee

    jlee Well-Known Member

    It makes you more confident, bring a box score from last year or another paper and ask if that's the format they want. Heck, albert77's box above would work for that purpose.

    Have fun and make deadline.
  11. Hank_Scorpio

    Hank_Scorpio Active Member

    albert's box is good, but every paper I've been at has wanted individual stats in there too.

    Best thing to do is find out exactly what they want in a box score.

    And you should definitely be keeping your own stats. There's a recent thread (probably still on page one on Journalism Topics Only). That thread also has a link to a more detailed thread on stat keeping.

    Also, find a good scoresheet. Ask your sports editor if they have you one you can copy.
  12. apeman33

    apeman33 Well-Known Member

    And it's not an embarrassing question. Box scores are done differently. I try to keep mine looking as much like the college and pro boxes that come over as I can because I think it helps a reader to expect to see the same stats in the same places — consistency, basically.

    Basketball is where it gets interesting. I do a college-style box for high schools. But someone else may have a style all their own. When I first got here, there were five other sports editors in this region and there were five different ways of producing a basketball box score. Football boxes tend to be more consistent from place to place.
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