Thursday, March 22, 2007

MBP update: The Trib responds

Richard Prince, an online columnist for the Robert C. Maynard Institute for Journalism Education, got a response from the Chicago Tribune’s sports editor, Dan McGrath, regarding two Misidentified Black People highlighted on this blog.

(To remind you: The Tribune last month published a feature story on former NBA guard Kevin Gamble, and then, soon after, a feature story on college basketball player Marcus Heard. In each case – as I described here and here – the Trib printed a wrong photo, showing a different black ballplayer. The Tribune ran corrections, but never explained how these mistakes happened.)

The Tribune’s Dan McGrath told Dick Prince last week: “Our department is taking a hard and probably overdue look at our process for identifying photos in the hope of making it more reliable and eliminating such errors in the future. The staffers responsible for the [Heard] error were dealt with appropriately. [Reporter Lew] Freedman and I both apologized to Mr. Heard and his family. The [Gamble] photo was misidentified by the wire service that circulated it, but we did not catch the error in the office.”

The first step in overcoming MBP is admitting there is a problem, so good for you, Mr. McGrath. By all means, look at your process, make it more reliable. It’s up to each and every one of us to combat MBP.

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