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Writing against the box score?

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Knighthawk, Jan 29, 2013.

  1. Knighthawk

    Knighthawk Member

    Major-conference college game. Visiting player runs down a fast break and, coming from behind the shooter, blocks a teardrop jumper at the top of its arc. Incredible athletic play, and one that is commented on in the press box, on Twitter and (as it turns out) on the TV broadcast.

    However, the stat crew doesn't credit the player with a blocked shot. No idea why, and there is no way to ask them about it. So he's got a zero in the column at night's end.

    I mention the play in the story while talking about the kid's improvement on defense. Office calls and says that they are going to take out the reference, since the box score doesn't have him blocking any shots. I point out that I wasn't the only one who saw it, and that the box score is clearly wrong. They finally decide to leave it it, although with a "although he wasn't credited for a block on the play" disclaimer.

    In the old days, you could immediately ask the stat crew about it, but now press boxes are often nowhere near the scorer's table. This happens at high-school games all the time and no one thinks twice about it, but it is a pain when it happens at high-level college games or (very rarely) NBA games.
  2. God, you're seriously worked up about this?

    Just write your damn story. This is about 5 millionth on the list of things you ought to be concerned about.
  3. TheSportsPredictor

    TheSportsPredictor Well-Known Member

    You should demand an apology from the scorer's table.
  4. sprtswrtr10

    sprtswrtr10 Member

    If it was a big deal to me, and I really thought that play deserved to be in the story, then I would make light of the fact that it didn't appear in the boxscore. Like …

    "blah blah blah blah blah, a play so stunning it failed to be credited in the official boxscore, not that it was lost on the crowd, which erupted/was silenced by blah blah's athletic feat."
  5. Harry Doyle

    Harry Doyle Member

    It happens. You and your desk handled it the right way.
  6. Versatile

    Versatile Active Member

    This is a pretty interesting topic. You should have pursued further, called the SID on it.

    There are so many minor factual mistakes on major-college athletics websites.
  7. trifectarich

    trifectarich Well-Known Member

    Have a parent of the player call the sports information office and demand a correction in the box score. Seriously, I'm impressed that someone editing your story had the time to double check all the stats.
  8. Songbird

    Songbird Well-Known Member

    I'm impressed the desk saw the zero in the boxscore and checked that against your story.
  9. KJIM

    KJIM Well-Known Member

    I don't read "worked up" in any of that. Seems a pretty straightforward account of what happened.

    The OP is not Mr. X, so don't lose sight that this is a valid topic

    I remember one time I was covering an NHL game for AP. Calling in the box, the guy taking it asked about the penalty shot. I was like, WTF penalty shot? There was not a penalty shot in the game.

    We went back and forth and he insisted there had been a missed penalty shot -- it was right there on NHL.com's box score.

    And it was. I headed to the off-ice officials and pointed it out and they corrected it, but how would anyone writing off the box score have known to ask?

    Had I not had immediate access to the off-ice officials, it could have been a lot more drawn out to get it fixed. (I've known some NHL scoring errors to be fixed days later.)
  10. BillyT

    BillyT Active Member

    He wrote his story, then was questioned by his desk.

    I would be worked up if the desk questioned something like that.

    Though I just would have added the block to the box score.
  11. Versatile

    Versatile Active Member

    Doing that has been a rule on all three copy desks I've worked.
  12. Knighthawk

    Knighthawk Member

    Not worked up about it - just curious about the reactions of other people that deal with that same issue. If the desk had insisted on taking it out entirely, I might have been annoyed, but I can see the point. If the desk notices, you know someone else will notice.

    Big enough game that the official stats were available online, so I didn't get that chance.
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