The Press Box For Sept. 13
When it comes to sports writing, or for that matter any kind of media reporting, it is always not only the right thing to do but professional courtesy to use your own material when bringing results or news of any kind to your readers or audience.
However, when bringing stats to your audience it is also very professional to try and be as accurate as possible so as to eliminate confusion among your readers. For that reason it has become, common practice to use statisticians results when compiling game information, whether they be your own or a fellow sports reporter.
This allows not only the public but the athlete and his family as well, the most complete and accurate stats as possible. Many times, I have been asked by parents and athletes about the difference in reported stats and the ones they keep themselves. Parents rely on accurate stats, as do college recruters, it can mean the differance in scholarships for some athletes.
Without the use of high school, college and professional statisticians accurate information would not be possible. It is therefore imperative that we use a checks and balance system to eliminate major mistakes. Part of that system is an e-mail list where we place our address with the statisticians, compile our own and compare them to the other. If major differences appear we than check with other reporters, coaches and web-sites like max preps, to get better or more complete information.
For the most part though most stat differences are minor so we often adjust and use basically the same, which is provided.
Some members of the media take great pride in their ability to keep stats and therefore become offended if someone uses theirs or has the same. Rightfully so if that is their major concern.
To me the most important part of reporting is getting the game reported in a professional manner where the correct athlete is given the proper credit for what they have achieved and getting the score right.
Listening to the radio broadcaster’s of most football games can often drive you crazy, just when you hear your team has a first down, who then hear,” but wait there is a flag, I think it is a holding call on the offense.” And the entire game goes on like that, they will say first and 10 and then change it to 2-9. It would be impossible to listen to a radio broadcast and get accurate information to report on.
Stats to me are like quote’s once they are put out there they become public knowledge and it shouldn’t matter who uses them.
Of course if it offends someone and they make it known, then the proper thing to do would be to separate from that persons results and find another source or use your own. I have followed sports since some of these people were still in diapers and stat reporting has remained relatively unchanged.
While in high school my stats always appeared in the news whether locally or regionally and they always appeared the same. Thank goodness for that.
My source of stats 99 percent of the time are results of my own, I then compare them to the local school, who always gets the benefit of the doubt.
Giving credit to others for use of their stats would be like giving credit to each other for coaches quotes and remarks. I would say if someone wants credit for use of their stats they need to make it known in advance that they claim all rights to their always perfect stats and you can only use them with permission. Maybe they need to get a copy right so their feelings don’t get hurt!
I am thankful that we have many great coaches who communicate well and work with us to give proper credit where due and to provide the best stats possible. The Tyler Consolidated Silver Knights has great statisticians who waste no time in getting the information to the media. These people help make our job easier and it allows for better coverage of the athletic events at their school.
For the ones who don’t help and refuse to provide us with information, you are doing a disservice to your team and their fans. Every child who participates in athletics deserves to receive credit for their accomplishments regardless.
Here locally in the weekly papers we rely greatly on our A.D’s, coach’s, statisticians and fans, without you we could not report on the games that we do. There are only so many places we can be at one time. The dailies have several reporters and still can’t cover everything. This is the busy time of year for sports and we appreciate all the help we can get, if someone stands out in a game let us know, we will do our best to get them coverage. If you have a picture or a stat you would like in the paper send it to us.
Some day soon I may do a column on Coaching stats. I think I could get that one right but than again that may not be the professional thing to do. firstname.lastname@example.org