Mister Mystery: Why Papers Keep Using Honorifics

This paragraph in a Wall Street Journal story on Lance Armstrong does a nice job of demonstrating why I hate the use of honorifics such as "Mr." on second reference in news stories: Mr. Armstrong's Austin lawyer, Mr. Herman, called Mr. Tygart and offered to dispatch Mr. Armstrong's legal team to Colorado to meet with him. Mr. Tygart said he wanted Mr. Armstrong to come. When Mr. Herman pushed back, Mr. Tygart called the meeting off. This practice has been dying out in American newspapers, but the New York ... read more

AP Launches News Archive Going Back to '70s

Associated Press has quietly launched a beta of the AP News Archive, a free searchable database of AP news stories that goes back as far as 1974. The archive comprises at least 1.5 million articles at present, based on the approximate number of results returned in a Google search of the domain apnewsarchive.com. The AP touts the archive as being more accurate than that dodgy, not-to-be-trusted Internet: If you've tried to do historical research online, you know that there's a lot of misinformation floating ... read more

Media Can't Bury a Mass Shooter's Name

There's a lot of talk about how the media should adopt a self-imposed blackout on the name and life story of mass shooters. This makes a lot of sense because so many of these spree killers are motivated by a desire for notoriety. The media occasionally omits information for the greater good, such as when the names of rape victims and children accused of crimes are not reported. Just this week dozens of media outlets hid the news that NBC foreign correspondent Richard Engel had been kidnapped in Syria along with a ... read more

Times Responds to Roger Cohen's Mistake

I sent New York Times public editor Margaret Sullivan an email yesterday describing how Roger Cohen borrowed quotes in his recent column on oversharing. She got back to me today letting me know that this editor's note was added to the column: In this column, the author suggested that he was moved to talk about over-sharing and anxiety online after he came across two comments on Twitter. In fact, both comments were taken from a Web site, overshare.com, that the writer consulted as part of his research. One of the ... read more

Times Columnist Roger Cohen Borrows Quotes

The New York Times columnist Roger Cohen engages in some ethically questionable journalism in his column Thursday about people sharing too much on Facebook and Twitter. In his commentary, Cohen shares this lament: Now I was determined to get through 2012 without doing a peevish column ... but everyone has a tipping point. Mine occurred when I came across this tweet from Claire: "Have such a volcanically deep zit laying roots in my chin that it feels like someone hit me with a right cross." Good to know, ... read more

Glenn Kessler's Fact Checking is for the Birds

Glenn Kessler, the fact-checking columnist of the Washington Post, often employs logic that's more factually dubious than the claim he's covering. Here's his explanation for why he gives President Obama four Pinocchios for saying in ads that Mitt Romney wants to kill Big Bird: Romney may have been off base in suggesting PBS funding has much to do with the deficit, but that's no excuse for the Obama campaign to declare that means the demise of a popular children's character. According to the financials of ... read more

Why Woodward and Bernstein Didn't Blog

I'm a big fan of Josh Marshall's political reporting at Talking Points Memo, but he makes a rookie mistake in a reader email he quotes this morning. MB, a regular correspondent on Wall Street matters, offers this bit of advice to Marshall: I know you raised some money from Marc Andreesen. I would bet Marc's fund and Bain Capital have some investor overlap. I'm sure you've already made that call, but I bet that Marc has no love lost for Romney as Marc is truly in the "job creation" business whereas Romney is a ... read more