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Newbie High School Football Question

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by bostonbred, Sep 24, 2007.

  1. bostonbred

    bostonbred Guest

    I'm new at reporting football (stringer) and was wondering about taking stats at high school football games. Should they be verified with a coach after the game and before publication? It seems to be tougher to verify some stats, like who was credited on a group tackle and the like, compared to other sports. Especially without a PA announcer at some of the smaller schools. I just want to make sure my stats are 100% accurate and not sure how I'd go about that.

  2. BertoltBrecht

    BertoltBrecht Member

    In my experience bred, PA guys know shit about the game. Coaches don't remember much either.

    Your stats will never be 100 percent accurate. My experience is two people can stand next to each other and not get the same numbers. Even if you have Truman Capote-like memory retention and use a ruler to measure each play, your numbers won't necessarily match the "official" school numbers that coaches around here do one or two days later.

    I think people understand yours are unofficial, as long as you try to get it as close as possible, you're not doing anything wrong.
  3. Jeremy Goodwin

    Jeremy Goodwin Active Member

    You can try checking with one or both team's stat guys. It all depends on what time the games you are covering is. I too am stringing and the one football game I've done so far I tried to check with one of the stat guys. Some of our stuff didn't match up. I went with what I had because I trust myself more than a stranger. Getting confused by checking my stats with him wasted time in tracking down the coaches after the game and I had to have a kid pulled off the bus for an interview, then run across the field so I could catch a player from the other team in time for an interview, then had to file ASAP. It would be good to compare numbers with stat guys or other journalists (if there are others covering the game). As BertoltBrecht said, yours are unofficial. Give it your best shot and try to get as close as possible to the truth, but were are not paid statisticians. We are journalists. Do your best and that will be good enough.
  4. Cansportschick

    Cansportschick Active Member

    With games that I cover here, media can receive updated stats from the governing body or coordinators of each sport. That way we don't have to worry about accuracy. Every week, my publishing boss and I do receive emails with scores, standings and stats so it makes our jobs easier.

    Also, coordinators are supposed to call in the main print media newsrooms with their stats and they can also fax it.
  5. Yawn

    Yawn New Member

    Can't happen at HS games. Not football. Basketball maybe, kept to points and not rebounds, assists, etc.
  6. Angola!

    Angola! Guest

    You just need to work on getting your stats correct. I would never trust the local stat guy's stuff over mine, especially when high school kids are doing stats most of the time.
    Also, what paper is expecting you to keep track of individual tackles during a high school game? That is a lot of detail to be keeping track of.
  7. Barsuk

    Barsuk Active Member

    No way you can accurately keep tackles unless you're only keeping stats for the local team. If you're keeping offensive stats for both teams, you'll have an extremely tough time keeping tackles for either team, unless you have a spotter calling out numbers for tacklers.
  8. ColbertNation

    ColbertNation Member

    What he said. Coaches, in my experience, are generally clueless if you ask them about stats after a game. On more than one occassion, they have asked me for stats so they can call them into the radio and out-of-town papers.
  9. Yawn

    Yawn New Member

    Last week I heard a PA guy say "Our statistician rules a 49 yard punt".

    The punt was 37 yards.

    The stat guy? A HS kid who is a counselor department aide.

    Radio guys aren't always close either.
  10. deskslave

    deskslave Active Member

    Ignore everyone in the press box and keep your own stats. Particularly ignore the scoreboard, because it will always be wrong. Can't tell you how many times I've seen a team start on the 20, advance to the 24 1/2, get credit for 5 yards on the board/from the PA, then advance to the 28 and get credit for 4 more yards from the PA.

    In the "official" team stats, no one ever runs for 98 yards. They will find those extra two yards somewhere.

    And for the love of all that is holy, don't try to keep defensive stats. If you notice that a kid is having a monster game, then that's one instance where I think it's OK to ask someone from the school. Just divide the result by 1.3. ;)
  11. In Cold Blood

    In Cold Blood Member

    To echo what every else has said here, find a method of keeping stats that you're comfortable with and trust. Then stick with it.
    Ten different people could track the same game and not come up with the same thing.

    Life will go on if you say someone had 96 yards and the other paper says they had 98.
  12. dargan

    dargan Active Member

    Like others have said, coaches always inflate, and PA guys rarely have any clue what's going on. Trust your own numbers. Beware of other papers' beat guys inflating the stats of the school they cover. Many of them are homers. Coaches will count the yardage from plays negated by penalties and stuff like that.

    In other words, trust no one unless you know he/she is dependable.
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