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Making predictions in print

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Bucknutty, Aug 7, 2007.

  1. Bucknutty

    Bucknutty Member

    Our paper is preparing our big football preview, and I was asked to assemble my predictions for the season: how each team will do overall, in the conference and what bowl game they will go to. Also, players of the year, etc.

    I hate, hate, hate doing predictions like this. To me, trying to predict an entire season within a conference is pure folly and just a chance for me to be disastrously incorrect in print. I shared my feelings with my editor, who said it's just for fun but that if I didn't want to do it, I wouldn't have to.

    Anyone else feel this way?
  2. Johnny Dangerously

    Johnny Dangerously Active Member

    Don't get me started ...
  3. thegrifter

    thegrifter Member

    if your boss says you don't have to do it, then what's the problem?
  4. bigpern23

    bigpern23 Well-Known Member

    I'm generally not a fan of predictions in print, because, as you noted, it's just a chance to be wrong. Then when Shitbox U. or Halfass High does well and you predicted the opposite, you have to listen to all the jerks who want to act like they knew their school was going to be great.

    It's generally a waste of time and while some people, like your editor, will go with the "it's just for fun" line of reasoning, from what I hear, people take it way too seriously (we don't do them, so I don't have any real experience with it).

    That said, two years ago when I did our baseball preview section, the cover had two kids posed like Susan Sarandon and Kevin Costner on the "Bull Durham" movie poster. The head was typed using a similar font to the poster and read:
    No Bull
    The Podunk Comquats will make it to the finals

    The thrust of the story was that they had come agonizingly close the previous two years with young teams and now, with a roster full of seniors, this was their year. My boss changed the subhead to: The Podunk Comquats can make it to the finals.

    Not only did that little change take away from what the story was about, it really lessened the impact of the main head and, thus, the cover as a whole.

    It's the one time I've ever wanted to make a prediction. Oh, and the team did, in fact, go to the finals.
  5. Bingo. I never do predictions, but at one stop I made the mistake of reporting the fact that a football team -- which had won back-to-back state championships -- had graduated something like 17 starters from the year before. Without being too overt, I insinuated that it would be very, very difficult for them to match the previous years' performance.

    You guessed it -- I was inundated with phone calls, e-mails, death threats, etc., all basically calling me an a-hole and saying I didn't know what the hell I was talking about. A few months later (big surprise) the team came up well short of winning another championship. In fact, they didn't even make it to the finals.

    But that was it for me. That whole experience basically soured me on the entire area and I was out the door a short while later. Normally I let that sort of criticism roll off my back, but those fucking mouth-breathers made me madder than I've ever been in this business.
  6. Gutter

    Gutter Well-Known Member


    Must've been a very open, loving team.
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 15, 2014
  7. Starman

    Starman Well-Known Member

    Which kid did the nude bathtub scene?? :eek:
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 15, 2014
  8. Taylee

    Taylee Member

    Years ago at former paper, we did predictions for every week of the prep football season, including playoffs. In the playoffs, I picked against the team each week that ended up winning a state title. Voicemail at work clicked off after 50 messages. I had it full within by the next morning.
    At current paper, I've successfully fought off every attempt at doing predictions.
    Nothing good comes from them, especially at the prep level.
  9. dargan

    dargan Active Member

    Maybe it has something to do with me being a young, opinionated person who probably knows less than he actually does, but I love predictions. We have a lot of competition among each other at our paper during prep football season.

    Surprisingly, fans/parents don't call and complain as much as you think. Occasionally, a coach will get mad, which is ridiculous, but our weekly picks are a long-time staple in our Friday football section. Our editor-in-chief, sports editor, and other sports writers would be upset if we didn't do it.
  10. slappy4428

    slappy4428 Active Member

    I call bullshit... Kids don't get tied up to read poetry and have no concept if Lee Harvey acted alone.
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 15, 2014
  11. mike311gd

    mike311gd Active Member

    It's a waste of news space, and it only creates attention for the writers/editors.
  12. azom

    azom Member

    We do our high school predictions on our high school blog. That helps keeps parents off our back (very few complaints) and the players love it.
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