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Our news-side columnist's mistakes

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Mr. X, Dec 27, 2008.

  1. Mr. X

    Mr. X Member

    Our news-side columnist referred to John Edwards as Sen. John Edwards in a Thursday column as in "Sen. John Edwards was tabloid exposed for ducking out of the Beverly Hilton."

    Edwards has not been in the Senate since the early days of 2005.

    The columnist is in his 80s, beloved, is a friend of the Republican governor, can get any Senate Democrat on the telephone in a day (he was a Democratic Party activist in the past) and bulletproof despite his many mistakes. Among his worst are getting the last name of the family owning the closest Major League Baseball team wrong. I don't think he is edited.

    Is this nitpicking? I cringe every time a mistake of his makes in into print, such as lower-casing party in Democratic Party. In this column, he fessed up to writing the wrong name of a long-ago candidate, initially writing that the husband ran when it was the wife. He made reference in the column to his "flawed offerings."

    As a reader, I wonder about the truth of some of the things he writes, especially about things long ago.

    Does this matter? Paper and staff has shrunk considerably, but advertising and profits are great. Paper is a weekly distributed free, so circulation is not an issue. We are considered the No. 3 paper in the county, behind our twice-weekly competition and the leading-circulation daily in the county, but ahead of all the other papers in the county.
  2. Stitch

    Stitch Active Member

    Are senators still called senator after they leave office? I know state governors have been called governor in various debates (Reagan in 1980 and Romney in 2008).

    He should have used former Sen., but at least it's not confusing Sen. Edwards with the Sci Fi Channel John Edwards.
  3. hockeybeat

    hockeybeat Guest

    What does "tabloid exposed" mean?
  4. DanOregon

    DanOregon Well-Known Member

    I've heard many political and military leaders referred to with their most recent title without a qualifier. Once you're a Senator, you're a Senator. Same with a cabinet secretary, a general or any official title.

    Now if it is clear that he didn't realize Edwards is no longer a Senator, that's something else.
  5. Mr. X

    Mr. X Member

    Tabloid exposed is a reference to the National Enquirer story on Edwards and allegations he fathered a child with a woman not his wife.

    There is no U.S. office I can think of that a newspaper would refer to someone as still being in office when he or she is out of office.
  6. TheSportsPredictor

    TheSportsPredictor Well-Known Member

    John Edward
  7. forever_town

    forever_town Well-Known Member

    You might either refer to him as former Sen. John Edwards (D-N.C.) or as former vice presidential candidate John Edwards or somesuch.

    I've seen people refer to former senators by title as if they were still senators. It's the same as referring to a former admiral as an admiral in copy. You can still do so, although you should use (USN-Ret.) behind an admiral.

    For example: VAdm. James Stockdale (USN-Ret.).

    All that said, I think it's a little nitpicky to harp about Edwards not currently being in the Senate.
  8. I Digress

    I Digress Guest

    President Clinton.....ex prez's keep the title.
  9. EE94

    EE94 Guest

    its more embarrassing that no one edited it
    the guy's [past is a great resource - just because he's old doesn't mean he gets tossed aside
    but he should be edited and fact-checked
  10. Ed Anger is your cityside columnist?
  11. SF_Express

    SF_Express Active Member

    I'm in the "you can use the most recent title and it's no harm, no foul" school, but if you use Sen. John Edwards as an honorarium, you wouldn't put the (D-N.C.) behind it.
  12. Mark2010

    Mark2010 Active Member

    Why isn't the guy edited? EVERYTHING should at least have a read on it (time permitting) before going into print. All it will do is help the guy appear more credible.

    Every single time I have caught a columnist's error in fact when working the desk, the columnist thanked me. Saves them from looking like an idiot.
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