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Thank you, Texas AP, for making my night exceptionally hellish

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by pressboxer, Jun 6, 2009.

  1. pressboxer

    pressboxer Active Member

    Anyone who was expecting to get agate from the Texas state track meet Friday obviously went through the same thing my shop did. I just hope that someone out there received a tad more cooperation upon calling the Dallas bureau to find out just what the holy fuck was going on.

    The first take of results moved a little after 3 p.m. and consisted of roughly half of Friday's field event schedule and the eight 3,200-meter races, which started at 8 a.m. The second take did not move until after 10 p.m. and consisted almost solely of the 200-meter, 1,600-meter and 1,600 relay results for Class 2A and Class 4A. These are the last three running events of the meet. Lost somewhere in the ether were the results for remaining field events and some 28 races, or roughly two-thirds of what should have moved.

    Our SE called to see what was going on and was told that was all the stringer AP had at the meet had sent in. When SE said AP should call the stringer and make sure they knew what the situation was, he got a "don't-tell-me-how-to-do-MY-job" response.

    So, at 10:30 p.m., we're printing out more than 40 pages of results from the UIL Web site (they never did post the Class 1A boys discus results, for some strange reason) and had four people pounding keyboards in order to get it all in because we had roughly a half-page hole designated for results.

    I never got a definitive explanation for what was going on, though a bud at another paper said they eventually sent a third take (it would have been WAAAAAYYYY after our deadline because it wasn't on the wire at 11:30 p.m.).

    I can think of only two things that could have happened, either of which could have easily been avoided. First, the guy in Austin sent at regular intervals, only it never got to the bureau (which should have been in contact to find out what the deal was). Second, the stuff did get through, only no one at the bureau knew what they were supposed to be getting (and having dealt with these people way to often recently, I can totally see that).

    This is only the single biggest high school sporting event in the state. Something in the neighborhood of 1,000 athletes compete in 170 events (17 events x five classes x boys and girls) in one location over a two-day period. The state APSE meeting is always held the Sunday and Monday following simply because so many newspapers cover the meet, even in these times of slashing budgets and eliminating travel.

    I do not claim to be a track fanatic, but when your coverage area has more than 100 kids competing, it's an event that is going to get some ink. I can only hope that someone can get their head pried out of their ass in time for things to run more smoothly on Saturday, when the bulk of the Class 1A and Class 3A events are contested, as well as the entire Class 5A meet.
  2. KYSportsWriter

    KYSportsWriter Well-Known Member

    question: why depend on ap to send results? were they not posted somewhere as the meet went along?
  3. Dan Hickling

    Dan Hickling Member

    agate schmagate ... the kids never look at that stuff...and the only ones who really might care are too old to see it without Lasics ...
  4. txsportsscribe

    txsportsscribe Active Member

    so did you not have someone in austin?
  5. Some Guy

    Some Guy Active Member

    As someone who has covered the state track meet before, I can try to answer:

    1) AP has always taken care of it before.
    2) It's almost not fair to ask one person to cover 100 area athletes, plus type in the full agate for something so massive as this. This ain't the Rhode Island state meet. Having covered it before, I might have quit on the spot if asked to do both. ;)
  6. txsportsscribe

    txsportsscribe Active Member

    yes, sg, but with a person at the meet, shouldn't they have been able to avoid the 10:20 p.m. mad dash for results? or at least eased the clusterfuck somewhat?
  7. Desk_dude

    Desk_dude Member

    Why did you have to print out the results from the UIL and then type them in? Why not cut and paste it in to your syste,?
  8. Appgrad05

    Appgrad05 Active Member

    Why run a half-page of track agate? Run winners, any local kids and be done with the damn thing.
  9. Some Guy

    Some Guy Active Member

    That's what our paper did. It took up, oh, about half a page ;)
  10. Moderator1

    Moderator1 Moderator Staff Member

    Track agate is a pain in the ass just because there's SO much of it.

    Years ago, I got drafted to cover a district track meet. I live south and east of Richmond and there's a cluster of high schools in the area. Whenever a spring championship was conducted at one of them, my editor would figure out a way to make me cover it. No biggie. I'm a team player.
    So I head to this meet. They only want 10 inches of copy. The scoring folks are pretty efficient. As the results are printed out, they make an extra copy for me and a sweet young helper would stack it next to my computer. As I get a chance, I type in the results (top 8, regional qualifiers) onto the bottom of the file.
    I get to one of the distance events and notice a girl who was a friend of my daughter's from years ago. They went to different high schools and lost touch. And her name is butchered all to hell. Can she possibly be the only name they got wrong? I gather the results and go off in search of all the coaches. No, she was not the only name they got wrong. Not close. It took me ages to go back through that agate and retype the names. I barely had time to cobble out 10 bullshit inches and send it all in.

    I enjoy a good track meet. As long as I'm not working the thing.
  11. mustangj17

    mustangj17 Active Member

    That sucks. Must be a cool track meet to cover. I wish we did that in Michigan.
  12. Batman

    Batman Well-Known Member

    Also fun is when the results they give you only have first initials.
    "Hey, J. Johnson won the 100, 200 and 400 meters! Good for J."
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