Saturday, February 27, 2010

The State of Newspaper Reporting

Normally when I complain about reporting in a newspaper these days, it's something from the editorial section of the local daily here in Toledo. Some of those complaints also have to do with the bleeding of editorial into news in the product that it produces. 

Today's beef however, has to do with the print product that this company would like us all to keep purchasing vs. the online edition that we get for free, and with the information delivered by wire services (in this case, the Associated Press). Now you would expect that as a consequence of being a paying customer, that reading the print edition would provide more and better information. You would be wrong.  

In a critical story (at least to those of us who used to play hockey), information was provided on the semi-finals of Olympic men's hockey. In the game between Finland and the US, the red white and blue handily defeated the Fins, and the story in the online edition of the sports section was accurately titled "US routs Finland 6-1, will play for hockey gold". The headline was a fortunate one, as nowhere in an Associated Press story of over 20 paragraphs on the game was the final score actually mentioned. 

Unfortunately for me, I read the print edition first this morning where the headline "Americans rout Finland, now face Canada" was the headline instead. This lead to half a page of reading without being given the final score of the game. I was only successful in discovering it by adding up goals on a paragraph by paragraph basis, and verifying my rather poor math by searching through the sports box scores. 

There is something sad about the fact that newspaper headlines these days don't give you a full snapshot of the story. There is something truly tragic in the fact that the Associated Press, once a highly respected and competent wire service can write an entire story about a sporting event without realizing the importance of reporting the score of it.

1 comment:

James said...

The same thing happened last Sunday, Feb. 21. There was a story about a Big Ten basketball game and the score was not mentioned. It's sloppy journalism because the game was played in the late afternoon. The story had to be in the paper's hands shortly after the game ended. No one there didn't see the score was missing?