Blogs > The Back Page

The musings of a Detroit-area sportswriter in the digital age.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Battling the MSU online hubris

Nobody expected Florida to beat No. 2 Michigan State Friday night at the Legends Classic in Atlantic City. Especially not the personnel in charge of the MSU men's basketball schedule at
Us copy editors depend greatly on updated schedules on the Internet, but Friday night was a prime example why you shouldn't overlook any opponent.
We use the schedules as part of the B2 Game Planner, as you might have noticed. And MSU's schedule had already been formatted to indicate the Spartans would play Bradley at 8 p.m. Saturday night in the tournament final — completely overlooking the Gators. Friday's semifinal game wasn't on TV, so I had to follow it online. It was a close one, but I thought the Spartans would pull it out. But I was wrong. And so was the online schedule.
I knew MSU would play Massachusetts in the final, thanks the AP provided story, but I couldn't find out what time, hence the TBA time listed in the TV/Radio planner. And all these changes had to be made with less than 15 minutes before that page needed to be sent to the printer. Having had more time, I would have thought to search for the tournament's Web site and find the matchups, but I was rushed and it didn't occur to me.
Saturday night, while waiting for the Oakland men's basketball game to begin at about 6 p.m., I visited the Spartans' athletic site once more ... only to see it had still not been updated.
It can be very difficult to guard against errors getting into the paper, especially when web people are asleep at the wheel.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Sunday funnies

If you look very closely to the main picture on B1 of Sunday's edition, you will find sports editor Jeff Keuhn standing next to Oakland Press columnist Pat Caputo. That's not the reason I used the photo, frankly, there weren't that many U-M dejection photos supplied after the game, I just happened to realize its significance while zoomed in on the MSU photo on the left side and recognized Jeff's face. Our staffers can be seen over Tate Forcier's right shoulder, behind the nearest cameraman. (PC users: If you're having trouble enlarging the picture to see Jeff and Pat, right click and "open in a new window/tab" and then use the zoom function.)
Also, the Clarkston-Sterling Heights Stevenson story was quite the topic of discussion on our Web site, with more than 100 comments. Kudos to Keith Dunlap for getting that story done under the gun and getting it to the copy desk from Troy just in time for deadline, otherwise, first editions were set to have a story about New England coach Bill Belichick's fourth-down call made nearly a week earlier.
If anyone was unable to make it out to Troy Athens, you can see the game on the MHSAA's Web site. Check out our high school sports site,, for videos and stories from throughout Clarkston's regular season and playoff run. For an alternate take on the game, read our sister paper, The Macomb Daily, and their game story with photos.
I still have to wonder why some commentators think their comments are important enough to respond in ALL CAPS -- it just makes their point harder to discern. I'm glad to know if something happens to my gig on the copy desk, I could find work as a copy editor for online comments -- some people's spelling is downright atrocious! Either way, glad to see so many readers care enough to leave a comment.
(If anyone needs spelling tips, I use, it's a great tool.

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Thursday, November 19, 2009

Remembering The Malice at The Palace

I was reminded today on Facebook by our former Pistons beat writer that this is the five-year anniversary of The Malice at The Palace, of course the infamous event where the Indiana Pacers took it upon themselves to fight with fans at The Palace of Auburn Hills in Nov. 2004.
Former Oakland Press beat writer Dana Gauruder filed three stories that night, after his glasses were smashed and his laptop was damaged.
One of the stories was of course the game story, reminding fans there was a game, one the Pistons lost.
It was near the start of what was ultimately an underachieving season where the Pistons took forever to get in gear and eventually lost to the San Antonio Spurs in a seven-game Finals series.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Oakland University basketball coverage

As some of our readers may have noticed, I will be covering the Oakland University basketball teams this season in place of Dave Pemberton, who now covers the Detroit Pistons. Here is my story from media day with videos from Doug Bauman. For a transcript from media day, click here.
(Oakland Press photo/VAUGHN GURGANIAN)

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Lake Orion-Clarkston playoff edition

Here is my latest video from the Lake Orion-Clarkston district playoff game last Friday. It was the second week in a row I headed out to my former stomping grounds, so this week I plan on going to Rochester Adams, as the Highlanders host Birmingham Brother Rice.

Are the Lions the worst team now?

It's not just the team, it's fans and the city that lose when the Lions fall, the area's copy editors lose, too. And that means me. In my time at the OP, I still have yet to author a winning Lions headline. Depressing stuff, I know.