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Confessions of a Browns beat writer

By Nate Ulrich Published: October 2, 2010

About once a month, I'll use this blog to get some things off my chest. This is my second confession:

  • Time to make an adjustment: Most of you, if not all of you, have probably been been complaining about the Browns' coaching staff not making proper adjustments during the first three games of this season. Well, none of us can control that, but the good news is that I can make adjustments on this blog. As you become more familiar with me, I hope you'll learn that I'm a reasonable person, not a "my way or the highway" kind of guy. I will passionately defend my opinions, but I will also try to listen to those of others. In other words, I'm open to suggestions, especially when it comes to ideas about how to make this blog better. So when a reader named John ripped the "game day blog" I do every Sunday, I did not ignore his criticism.
    Here's what John wrote in the comments field
    Is this a game day blog? Or just a scoring summary?
    There are no observations. Who is playing well? Who is playing poorly?
    Really the only thing worth noting about the entire third quarter is that there was no scoring? There were no signs of adjustments? No good plays or bad plays by either time?
    I appreciate you are busy during the games. And you do twitter a few items. But even that just overlaps with here.
    So while I will check other blog items, after three weeks I am giving up on checking out your "game day blog" because I can get the same from a yahoo box score
    Actually, there are plenty of observations on the "game day blog," but I don't post them until I do my final recap after the game. John must have commented before the final recap was published. Here's my workflow on the "game day blog": 1. About two hours before kickoff, I post an introduction and pregame notes. 2. Then I update the pregame notes about an hour before the game with the inactive lists and lineup changes. 3. Once the game starts, I post scoring descriptions at the end of each quarter (If there's no scoring in a particular quarter, I indicate that there's no scoring). 4. After the game, I go to the locker room for interviews, write the stories for Monday's newspaper (remember, I have deadlines for print) and then update the "game day blog" again with a final recap, which includes observations.
    So now that you know how I run the "game day blog," I want to make the following statement: John is right
    . I agree that there should be more analysis and observations throughout the game, not just in the final recap. Therefore, I'm going to begin posting "instant impressions" at the end of each quarter to go along with the scoring summary. I believe the "game day blog" will be better because of it. Thanks for the suggestion, John. And if any of you have any other ideas for this blog, please feel free to send them to me. You all have my e-mail. I can't promise I'll implement everyone's suggestions, but at the very least, I'll consider them.

  • Pulling back the curtain: In my first confession, I gave you a behind-the-scenes look at the newspaper business, revealing that copy editors write headlines, not reporters.
    A reader named Chuck Claypool posted the following comment
    Thanks for pulling back the curtian on the newspaper biz. I wonder if your story gets edited if they don't like it.
    I see the Browns going 9-7 this season. Jake Delhomme is the come back player if the year and TJ Ward is rookie of the year.
    Go Browns
    Chuck, I had the Browns going 7-9, and neither one of our predictions looks promising now. As for your question about stories being edited if people on the copy desk don't like them, it's not usually a matter of like or dislike. Editors are supposed to make changes to stories to correct grammar, spelling, punctuation and something newspaper people call style (which refers to guidelines for usage, not an individual writer's voice). For example, an editor would change the way you spelled "curtian" to "curtain." They also edit for accuracy. So, yes, stories are changed sometimes. But if a writer delivers clean, accurate copy, then his or her story is altered little if at all.

  • Crab cakes take the cake:  Through the first three weeks of the regular season, the best press-box food was in Baltimore. There was a breakfast buffet with the essentials: scrambled eggs, bacon, sausage, etc. Then at halftime, crab cakes, macaroni and cheese and hot dogs with sauerkraut were served. Bags of M&M's and cookies were available for dessert.


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