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Correction of the Year: Features Division

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Matt1735, Jan 30, 2008.

  1. Matt1735

    Matt1735 Well-Known Member

    From the San Antonio Express-News, via Romanesko:

    • Nell and Wallace Crain, a couple who were featured in an Express-News Page 1A story and photo on "the secret to a happy marriage," died between the writing of the story last summer and its publication in the San Antonio Express-News on Monday. The deaths were not mentioned in the report.

    The Express-News apologizes to family and friends of the couple, and to our readers, for the egregious omission.

    J. Michael Parker, who wrote the story after spotting and interviewing the Crains at North Star Mall last June, said he learned of their deaths Monday via an e-mail from a Crain family friend. The friend put Parker in touch with Cheryl Crain Sanders, the couple's daughter, who was gracious in an e-mail to the reporter:

    "Thank you for including my parents as an example of 'love until death.' The article was thoughtful and well written. ... Your article, while bittersweet to me, will be a great reminder to our family of their love and commitment."

    The couple's daughter said Wallace Crain died the day before Thanksgiving last year and Nell Crain died Dec. 9. They had been married for 67 years.

    Parker explained that he turned in his story to Express-News religion editor Arthur Santana late last summer. Santana said he edited the story, but essentially put it on hold until after the holidays. Two weeks ago, he gave the story back to Parker for updating. However, while he re-interviewed two other couples featured in the story, Parker did not seek new input from the Crains.

    "I didn't feel like Mr. Crain's comments needed updating," Parker said. "... They were such a sweet couple. They were what really made the story a story."
     
  2. Shaggy

    Shaggy Guest

    That's unfortunate.
     
  3. SockPuppet

    SockPuppet Active Member

    Has either the writer or the editor heard about the Lindbergh baby?
     
  4. SF_Express

    SF_Express Active Member

    It's easy to Monday morning quarterback now, but in hindsight, it's a good reminder. Hold a story that long, and with the obvious ages of the people involved, you've got to check.
     
  5. Ace

    Ace Well-Known Member

    When evergreens go bad!
     
  6. mike311gd

    mike311gd Active Member

    Next on FOX?
     
  7. fishwrapper

    fishwrapper Active Member

    My bad...
    It's unfortunate. But, it happens.
    I haven't put out the perfect paper, yet.
     
  8. EStreetJoe

    EStreetJoe Well-Known Member

    It's unfortunate the story was held that long and there was no follow-up done to check on how the couple was doing.

    However, we recently benefitted from holding a feature story for a week. I needed to go into the story to update the subject's record. It was only then that I discovered that the writer had spelled the kid's last name wrong. Had I been doing that story live or without it needing to be updated I would have never caught the error.
     
  9. ondeadline

    ondeadline Active Member

    It never can be a good idea to hold for months a story about a couple that is old enough to have been married 67 years. About as smart as holding a player feature on a minor-league baseball player for a month or two.
     
  10. Once worked at a place where news did a feature on an local fish fry at a church. Had a huge centerpiece photo of an old woman in her 90s. Woman died in between the fish fry and story running (just a day or two). Luckily, the same person proofed the page with the fish fry and the dead gal's obit and were able to swap pics.

    that's why after that, whenever we ran a story that had a really old person, editors would ask us to check the obits to make sure they were still alive.
     
  11. TheSportsPredictor

    TheSportsPredictor Well-Known Member

    I know -- why don't newspapers just stop writing about old people?? Obviously that's the problem.
     
  12. Flip Wilson

    Flip Wilson Well-Known Member

    I did a Sunday feature once about some local folks and thelr love for chihuahuas. One of the women I interviewed had cancer. Feature section printed Friday afternoon; got a call about 11 o'clock Saturday night that she died. I tried to get an editor's note in the Sunday morning paper, but the news desk guy just blew it off.
     
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