.comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}

Friday, June 16, 2006

Indiana Newspaper Mixes Up Identity of Car Crash Victim

The Bloomington Herald-Times reports on the pain caused by the newspaper's misidentification of a person killed in a motor vehicle accident in Lawrence County, Indiana. Yesterday, the newspaper identified the victim as Shirley Wright, a retired professor at the Indiana University Law School in Bloomington. Unfortunately, the Herald-Times did not have the right Shirley Wright.

Understandably, both families are upset. From the Herald-Times:

EDITOR’S NOTE: H-T police reporter James Boyd wrote Thursday’s story about a fatal accident Wednesday in Lawrence County. Today’s stories correct that account and explain how we got it wrong.

The voicemail messages on my work phone ranged from sadness to rage Thursday afternoon, and I deserved it all and everything in between.

The story details how the reporter did not follow proper standards and protocols which would have avoided the mix-up. The story's description of how the reporter's reliance on the mistaken beliefs of the living woman's former colleagues compounded the reporter's mistake was reminiscent of how beliefs of the friends and family members of the victims of the Taylor University tragedy contributed to the misidentification by the coroner and hospitals of two Taylor students.

Fortunately, such instances of reporters causing heartache are rare. Even so, perhaps there might be some who would call for higher standards to be imposed on editors and publishers to avoid such errors in the future.

After all, one can become an editor or reporter without any particular training. There is no test before one becomes a reporter.

Hat tip: INGroup and Indiana Legislative Insight

Comments: Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home