Consider the first three paragraphs of an article found in today's edition of The Badger Herald, one of University of Wisconsin-Madison's student-run daily newspapers, headlined "Badgers stumble in B1G finale."
It seemed a fitting end that the last game of conference play in the Big Ten was a 40 minute slugfest, featuring 10 different lead changes and a score that was tied seven times as Wisconsin and Ohio State exchanged blow after blow.
Like it has at numerous points in the season, Wisconsin’s offense went cold when it mattered most, going scoreless from the field in the game’s final seven minutes as Ohio State captured the Big Ten Tournament title with a 50-43 win.
The win was the Buckeyes third conference tournament title in the last four years, as the Badgers lost in their first appearance in the Big Ten final since 2008.
And here are the first three paragraphs of a Badger Herald story published February 25, headlined "Too hot to stop: Wisconsin 10-1."
ORLANDO, Fla. — If this weekend was supposed to be a replicate of Big Ten play this season, the Badgers set the right example to duplicate.
Sweeping the three-day Diamond 9 tournament with three wins over both George [sic] Southern (7-7) and Boston University (1-4), Wisconsin (10-1) is suddenly off to the best start in program history.
“It is always exciting to win games and it is great to have a fast start,” head coach Yvette Healy said in an email. “We all know, though, it’s not how you start, it is how you finish. We are happy for this group, it is fun to make a little bit of history, but we are staying focused on what happens now as we keep going.”
Quick now: what sports are those about?
Now, the first one ran below a large photo of Badgers point guard Traevon Jackson holding a basketball in his hand, so there was a visual clue at least, and the word "basketball" did eventually turn up, in a quote in the 18th paragraph. But in the latter, the name of the sport being played never appears at all. It does mention pitchers and outfielders, but if not for the players named in the article having names like "Cassandra" and "Sarah" and "Meghan" I might still be wondering whether it was the baseball or softball team that was doing so well.
To be fair, this is a problem only in the print edition. Online, the articles appear in the Men's Basketball and Softball sections respectively, and the headline of the softball article does specify that it's the softball team that was doing so well. (They didn't have enough space for the full headline in the print edition.) But I don't read The Badger Herald online, so that does me no good, and besides, doing it right one place doesn't excuse doing it sloppily elsewhere.
The bad news: the guy who wrote both articles (and several others with similar problems found during a brief scan of the online archives) is the sports editor. Oh well, at least the crossword is good.