Monday, November 17, 2008


I wonder sometimes where some of these reporters we have working at this paper went to school. How about a little fact-checking? As hard times cuts into the number of positions available at newspapers, one must accept that there will never again be individuals tasked with the sole job of making sure all of the facts (from name spellings to peoples' ages) are correct. By acknowledging this fact, we must also accept that each journalist is now also a fact-checker. Reporters should check their facts. Copy-editors should check those facts, too. But something as simple as a person's name should never be something I have to fix.

First rule of reporting that I learned: If you are interveiwing someone named John Smith, ask that person to spell their name. Why? Because of the Jon Smythe (or many other variations) that you will indefinitely run into in this business. And if this rule applies to the John Smiths (and Jon Symthes) of the world, why wouldn't you check a name so complicated that it consists of 30 letters, 10 syllables and one dash (if spelled and said correctly)?

Though it does give me great pleasure when I am the one who catches such mistakes. It makes this not-always-ideal job worth it.

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