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Game note-taking

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by sirvaliantbrown, Jul 3, 2006.

  1. What is your system for taking notes during basketball, football, and baseball games? How do you organize your notepad? How much "actual writing" do you do before the game is over?

    I've been in the biz a year...my system works for me at present, but my paper has a late deadline. On a tight one, I'd have trouble.

    My apologies if you've discussed this before...I looked back a bunch of pages to see if you had recently.
  2. shockey

    shockey Active Member

    i always kept my own play-by-play. it kept me in the game. i'd also note special plays. but it's like keeping score. you do it however you find it most helpful/readable. you know your own shorthand.

    just find a way that's most comfortable to you. ;D
  3. tonysoprano

    tonysoprano Member

    I echo the above advice, but pay attention to big plays. If you have a game-winner, or a game-breaking play, make sure and have enough details to give your readers an accurate picture of what happened.
  4. Chi City 81

    Chi City 81 Guest

    Agree with both above posts. Taking meticulous play-by-play notes eventually is only useful for adding up stats. Just keep track of in-depth details of three to five big plays; any more play-by-play than that in a story only serves to weaken it.
  5. shotglass

    shotglass Guest

    To echo what the others said, it's often as important what you DON'T take notes on as what you do. If you reach that perfect balance of having just enough to look at for your game story, you've hit gold. (Of course, there's a widdddde range of opinion on how much play-by-play is too much. ;))

    Outside of that, it's just the PbP system that's going to allow you to get the stats together before you get out of the high school parking lot after the game.
  6. sportsed

    sportsed Guest

    A little off the pxp topic but ... I always found retarded the people in the pressbox who write down the attendance as soon as the in-box pa guy says it. Sometimes, when I know the ATT is coming, I'll just look up and down the rows and see the sheep write down the four to six digits.

    Dude, it'll be in the postgame notes.
  7. doubledown68

    doubledown68 Active Member

    Baseball: simple scorebook does the trick. Perhaps a small notepad to jot down questions about certain situations.

    Hoops: a friend developed a legal sized box-score thingie which is gold for me. I can keep shooting stats and points on the left, running score on the right.

    Football: Take a legal-sized clipboard. Attach a legal pad to the clipboard. On the pad, keep the play by play, with a line dividing each sheet in half. On the left is the home team. On the right, the visitors. Put a star by all key plays, and note scoring plays by putting a box aroudn them. You can jot notes about a play on the side of the pad you're not using.

    On the back of the clipboard, tape your standard football stat keeping sheet. That way you can keep track of cumulative totals as you go, and getting the box score will be a snap after the game.

    At least, that's what works for me.
  8. Piotr Rasputin

    Piotr Rasputin New Member

    I usually don't have the opportunity to cover football, but on both baseball and basketball, I note every at-bat, every basket. For baseball, I use a standard notebook rather than a scorebook; I find it's tougher to get specific details in a scorebook. For basketball, I keep a running score with a small detail on who scored each basket. Jones steal, layup, etc.

    If a game becomes a blowout, I stop, and start writing the story.

    But I personally find it's important to keep a running score so that I can pick out the pivotal plays later. Never know if that simple third-inning passed ball with two out, or that open jumper from the corner, leads to the scoring run that decides the game.

    Though I take a lot of notes, I almost never mention stats in a gamer unless I have a space to fill and am out of compelling points for that particular day. It's too easy to get bogged down in stats and such. I'm more concerned with moments, plays, times where the contest was in the balance and tipped a certain way.

    Of course, 90 percent of the notes that I take never find their way into my stories, as I endeavor to minimize play-by-play as much as possible.

    Again, just find something comfortable for you. It doesn't matter if your note-taking matches the other people in the press box, it matters what ends up in the paper. So just find the most efficient method for you.
  9. shotglass

    shotglass Guest

    If THAT can make you roll your eyes, buh-rother. ::)
  10. txsportsscribe

    txsportsscribe Active Member

    >>>Dude, it'll be in the postgame notes.<<<

    dude, a large group of people here are covering events where there are no postgame notes.
  11. sportsed

    sportsed Guest

    Dude, most of the places I've been with a pa announcer have postgame notes. Point taken.
  12. Del_B_Vista

    Del_B_Vista Active Member

    One of my problems keeping notes during a game developed from my prep days. You often don't have time to do much more than write your PxP and tally your stats from the end of one football play to the other. (Similarly, with basketball's time between buckets/fouls/turnovers/etc.) At games where I don't have to worry about that, I sometimes find myself looking down to write when I should be watching for reactions or substitutions or something else.
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