Sports column: After finishing the job, the worrying begins

Published 8:00 am Sunday, August 15, 2021

For the past few days, I’ve been walking around feeling like I was in a horror movie. The massive job was done, the villain slain until next time, but it feels like it was too easy.

In this case, the villain was our annual “Playmakers” football preview magazine. We sent it to the printers earlier this week and it’ll be bundled in our weekend edition for Aug. 21.

The Vicksburg Post has done 45 of these things now, and I’m honored to have been around for about half of them. Out of all the ones I’ve been associated with, this was one of the smoothest processes I can remember — which is why I’m sitting here waiting for the other shoe to drop.

Surely, there was something we overlooked? Some awful typo buried on Page 38? A blurry ad on Page 29?

Producing “Playmakers” is always a chaotic undertaking. The magazine includes a dozen stories, just as many smaller informational graphics, and a couple hundred photos. There are, by a quick and rough estimate, more than 10,000 words worth of content spread across 48 pages.

Some interviews and stories are done well in advance, but other items cannot be done until the last minute. Most of the team and individual pictures, for example, were taken in late July when each school had its picture day.

The upshot is that a lot of words have been written and rewritten, photographs taken and edited, and pages produced in the past three weeks. When you throw that much material into a mental blender, a misspelled word or misaligned picture is bound to slip through no matter how many times it’s proofread.

For some reason, however, this edition seemed to seamlessly click into place. Every picture day went smoothly.

All of the stories and photos were turned in on time. When the stories were put onto the page, most of them only needed a few words trimmed off. Some years, we’ve had to chop 1,000-word stories in half to fit them into their assigned space.

I’m not sure if all of this was good planning, good luck or good karma. Maybe a combination of all three. All I know is, I looked over these pages for the fifth time this morning waiting for an egregious mistake to jump out at me. As they say in the movies, it was easy … TOO easy.

Oh well. I’m sure I’ll find it when the actual magazines are in our hands and it’s too late to do anything about it. We’ll try to do better next year.

Until then, pick up a copy of next weekend’s print edition for your copy of Playmakers 2021. It’s good and good for you.

Ernest Bowker is the sports editor of The Vicksburg Post. He can be reached at ernest.bowker@vicksburgpost.com

About Ernest Bowker

Ernest Bowker is The Vicksburg Post's sports editor. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post's sports staff since 1998, making him one of the longest-tenured sports reporters in the paper's 137-year history. The New Jersey native is a graduate of LSU. In his career, he has won more than 50 awards from the Mississippi Press Association and Associated Press for his coverage of local sports in Vicksburg.

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