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Horrible New York Times correction?

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by boundforboston, Apr 2, 2015.

  1. William C. Rhoden wrote a column on college basketball players balancing academics and the NCAA Tournament. However, he (or the New York Times' copy desk changed it) misattributed quotes from Fred VanVleet to Ron Baker. How does that happen when you're interviewing someone?

    Here's the correction: An earlier version of this article misidentified a Wichita State basketball player in multiple instances. He is Fred VanVleet, not Ron Baker. And an accompanying picture caption misattributed a quotation. It was said by VanVleet, not Baker.

    Here's the article: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/04/02/s...s-way-to-morning-classes.html?ref=sports&_r=0.
  2. LongTimeListener

    LongTimeListener Well-Known Member

    How does it happen? You're for real with this?

    A guy writes it in his notebook wrong and doesn't label it as Baker's quote or types it up in transcription and forgets to label it as Ron Baker's quotes in his Word file. Simple enough. Not too uncommon in the world of reporting gaffes.

    It's unfortunate and embarrassing to the writer, no doubt. But "how does that happen" shows a real naivete on your part.
    Batman likes this.
  3. JackReacher

    JackReacher Well-Known Member

    Not uncommon at all.
  4. jr/shotglass

    jr/shotglass Well-Known Member

    It's about the nature of mistakes. I'll bet Rhoden could have proofed his copy 20 times and when he came across that quote, he thought Baker said it. And if you think he said it, it's not in the front of your mind to question that.

    EDIT: If the copy desk changed the identity of the quoted person, that's a cardinal sin. Never introduce error. But if Rhoden had it as Baker in the story, again, why would the copy desk question that?
  5. Bronco77

    Bronco77 Active Member

    Mistakes happen, even with the best of us. It's like a very fast, hard-w0rking, productive but somewhat temperamental copy editor I used to supervise said after someone (not me) pointed out that he'd busted a headline: "The only people who don't make mistakes are those who do nothing."
  6. DeskMonkey1

    DeskMonkey1 Active Member

    I've seen it happen. I've also seen it happen with the consequences were much, much worse (think crime stories, not sports)
  7. Dave Kindred

    Dave Kindred Member

    He quoted the guy 5 times. I'm guessing VanVleet and Baker sat alongside each other at an interview session, and Rhoden got the name plates mixed up.
  8. LongTimeListener

    LongTimeListener Well-Known Member

    Well that would be somewhat less understandable. Baker is ... uh ... taller.

    ETA: I'd still put it under the general category of "brain fart," though. As shotglass notes, once you make the initial mistake of mislabeling it, all subsequent mistakes flow from that.
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2015
  9. JackReacher

    JackReacher Well-Known Member

    I remember doing a story once on some HS basketball team and I sat down with like 3-4 players and recorded the interview. When I got back to the office and started transcribing, I realized the nightmare that I had on my hands. Last time I ever did that.
  10. da man

    da man Well-Known Member

    I've mentioned this several times in the past, but I once wrote an advance for a game the team I was covering was playing against West Virginia, only I said Virginia Tech in every reference. No one caught it and it ran that way.

    Also, I covered a soccer game and called the keeper the name of the keeper of a team not involved in the game something like four times.
  11. ColdCat

    ColdCat Well-Known Member

    We had a high school basketball team make a coaching change, new coach and old coach both had the same first name, so of course, first game of theirs I cover I quote the new coach and use the old coach's name.
    It was embarrassing to be sure, but we ran a correction and I apologized the next time I saw the coach. He told me not to worry about it and in fact, the players got a kick out of it.
    The bigger nightmare came earlier in my career, covering Packers-Lions at Lambeau. I had normally just gone into the Packers locker room where of course everyone has a nameplate over their locker so I would just look for those. For this game, the boss wanted me to get reaction from the Lions too so I went into the visitors locker room and low and behold..... no nameplates anywhere. I had to ask all of the Detroit beat guys "Hey, who was that guy we just interviewed?" which was embarrassing, but still, rather look foolish in the locker room than when the finished product reaches the audience.
  12. PTOWN

    PTOWN Member

    So you went into an NFL locker room and didn't have any clue who any of the Detroit Lions where? At minimum, you have to know for or five starters on each side of the ball. You should know them all if it's a division game. Maybe not the o-linemen. Right?
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