Note to Tennessee newspaper editors: It’s a ‘Hot Shot’ Contest

Cameron Smith
Prep Rally
The unfortunate copy error is in the third line. Read closely — Maryville Daily Times screenshot
The unfortunate copy error is in the third line. Read closely — Maryville Daily Times screenshot

Much has been made about the decline of the newspaper industry. Critics are quick to note flaws and errors (here at Yahoo! included) and often cite them as evidence of how journalism today is less trustworthy than it used to be ... and so on and so forth.

Putting aside for a moment how such criticisms are pyrrhic victories ensconced in a nasty vicious cycle (being hyper-critical of media can undermine its few remaining assets, decrease readership, lead to fewer media outlets and fewer readers, thereby making quality even lower because of a decreased pool of future skilled journalists), the critiques can occasionally unearth a truly humorous mixup. Case in point: The article you see excerpted at right from the Maryville Daily Times in Tennessee, which was brought to Prep Rally's attention by Deadspin.

The Daily Times is a classic small town newspaper in Tennessee, and it clearly has all the best intentions for promoting both civic pride and responsibility. It was in the course of such a duty that it reported on Peggy Ballard, a former high school girls basketball star turned teacher and coach at her alma mater. Ballard had one heck of a day competing in the Tennessee Senior Olympic State Basketball Tournament, leading her squad to a gold medal and earning three individual titles for herself as well.

First Ballard won the free throw competition with a perfect 10-for-10 performance. Then she won the “Hot Shot” competition with two rounds of timely buckets from behind the arc.

The issue is that the Daily Times didn’t report that she won the Hot Shot contest. It reported that she won a contest that rhymes with “Hot Spit.”

Yikes. Naturally, the error was neither malicious nor particularly damaging. One assumes that the good citizens of Maryville were able to decipher that Peggy Ballard had won the Hot Shot contest and not one determined by the temperature of her excrement. To its credit, the Daily Times authored a correction on Wednesday, one day after the Ballard brief ran in the print edition of the paper.

It’s also a pretty funny mistake, particularly when juxtaposed with the traditional posed “subject with their son/daughter” photo that stands directly above the erroneous text.

Still, it’s an editorial mistake, even if innocuous. At least everyone can smile a bit after reading this one.

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