There are some significant advantages to publishing news online as opposed to hard, paper form; most importantly, when a writer makes a mistake, they can quickly fix that error online. That's not the case in print, a factor which has rarely been more evident than in a recent report from a local newspaper in Louisiana, which may have ruined the paper's relationship with one high school coach and subsequently did cost one reporter his job.
As first brought to Prep Rally's attention by @AndyVogt on Facebook and investigated in much further detail by Deadspin's Barry Petchesky, the Rayne Independent was offering its analysis of the concluded Rayne (La.) High softball team for a recent, postseason edition. The issue was that the Independent hadn't received a trove of stats that it expected to have when compiling the look back on the season.
Evidently, after Rayne was eliminated from the Louisiana Class 3A softball state tournament in late April, the team's coach, Deserea Dunn, never submitted final statistics for the season. That left the Independent no choice but to leave "dummy text" in the place of more detailed stats in its season profile, at least until the paper could get the more accurate stats the paper's unspecified reporter desperately wanted.
The problem was that those stats apparently never came, and editors forgot to remove the filler text. The result was the publication of the line you see at the bottom of the final paragraph of the article you see above, which credits Rayne pitcher Hailey Habetz with an impressive season on the mound, but cites "the coach's bullish** and laziness," as reasons why the statistics weren't in the piece.
Clearly, the reporter in question -- who we later learned was a fellow by the name of Kade Seibold -- entered an inflammatory expletive and cited laziness in his filler text as a joke, and never intended it to be published. Or at least we hope it was all intended as a joke. Still, the fact that the dummy text was eventually published didn't mean anything good for his immediate future.
As it turns out, it meant the very rapid exit of Mr. Seibold from the Independent. Despite reaching out to the coach to apologize for the mistake -- Seibold claims that she laughed at his apology -- the 30-something reporter was officially axed from the paper's staff on Thursday, despite the fact that the weekly's general manager told Romenesko the publication only got a handful of calls about seeing the expletive in print.
For his part, Seibold claims he is now trying to get his job back and redeem himself in print. Good luck to him, as any mistake that obvious really probably isn't worth the end of a career, at least as far as Prep Rally is concerned.
At the very least, Seibold and everyone else at the Independent should be happy that Dunn has a terrific sense of humor.
- Sports & Recreation