Today was all about picking up after myself, journalistically speaking. I came into the office just in time to get an email about an error in a story. There was a high school party over the weekend where police had to get a search warrant to bust eight teens for underage drinking. I wrote it up, including the fact that many of them were athletes and the arrests may affect their eligibility. For one of the young women I listed the wrong sports, implicating another young woman who’s name is very similar. The mother of the second young woman, understandably, was very upset. I did what I could, putting together a correction and an apology for her daughter, but it still sucks.
A story can be 99 percent right, but that’s not good enough. In a story about eight teens getting arrested, with ages, addresses, and facts about the arrest, the thing I got wrong was basketball and volleyball instead of cross country and track. Still, that’s enough. It’s enough that one young woman in no way connected to the incident felt implicated.
I did what I could with an honest mistake. It happens, and it’s bound to happen again. Hopefully the next time it occurs the person it happens to is as willing as this girl was to accept our apology. My apology.