Thursday, February 20, 2003

What's in a Number?
After posting yesterday about the "50 Cent" concert I was encouraged to reexamine the number of people attending the concert. I posted that there were 300, while the venue held 1,250. I based my information on Larry Nager's review of the concert in the Enquirer. The relevant quote was:
After paying as much as $100 for VIP tickets ($35 for general admission) and being thoroughly frisked for weapons, the crowd of 300 or so milled around the club waiting for the star.
What I missed was in the article by Jane Prendergast where she noted:
By midnight, the club was full. Capacity is 1,250. Earlier, hundreds had lined the sidewalks waiting to get in.
After emailing both reporters I was able to surmise the reason for the difference. Larry was inside and states that the crowd was not more than a few hundred. He has been in the same venue for several other events where the number of attendees was firmly known, and the "50 Cent" concert did not meet those numbers. I think Jane's number was based on the information from the promoters who were going to provide an answer to best suit the act and the venue. I don’t know how the inter-workings of newspapers work, but one might surmise that editors might see that basic difference in articles that relate to the same subject in the same edition of the newspaper. This is a minor issue, but it is one that if the event had any problems would have been key to understanding correctly what occurred.

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