When I started working for KBIA Sports Extra this semester, I vowed to get outside of my comfort zone. I had gotten so accustomed to making sports graphics that it was almost second nature, so I wanted to make sure I branched out and did more writing and photography in my new gig. I managed to stay away from graphics for the first quarter of the semester, but this week I caved. One of Mizzou’s star basketball players, Marcus Denmon, reached 1,000 career points. Naturally, my first thought was that it would make a great graphic. So, I found a list of Mizzou’s “1,000 Point Club” on the athletics department website, and I threw together a graphic.
Almost immediately it got some love on Twitter and was linked on the most popular Mizzou sports blog on the Internet, RockMNation.com. Let the ego-stroking commence. Only problem was (unbeknownst to me), that list hadn’t been updated in nine years. NINE YEARS! I think that’s pretty unacceptable on behalf of the athletic department. But, what I did was more unacceptable: I didn’t fact check. And the result of my lapse in attention? Eight names were left off the list. Some of them could have easily been overlooked, but others were recent players (who played, you know, in the last nine years) and people noticed their absence quickly.
Luckily, the point man on our team caught on pretty quickly and got ahold of me as soon as he could. He sent me the list of corrections, and I updated the graphic within the hour. However, we lost our spot on the front page of RMN in the meantime, and probably a considerable chunk of site traffic. But, it was a learning experience, and that’s why I’m in school. I won’t make the same mistake again, and I know that if I ever want something fact-checked, I should release it to a fanatical Internet sports community first.
Check out the (updated) graphic: