Thursday, August 18, 2011

McClatchy Paper Gives New Meaning to "Killing a Story"

Tri-City HeraldImage via WikipediaTip of the hat to Editor & Publisher which reported this past week on a snafu by The McClatchy Co.-owned Tri-City Herald in Kennewick, Washington, which resulted in Cheri (Schumann) Taylor missing her Class of 1971 reunion at Kennewick High School ("KHS").

That's what happened when the local paper reported that Taylor was a homicide victim, which was news to her. According to Taylor, her sister alerted her to a Tri-City Herald story about how eight students would not be attending their 40th reunion at KHS because they were murder victims, including Taylor, who allegedly was killed in 1996.

Apparently, a classmate organizing the class reunion received an Email from another classmate that claimed Taylor (Schumann in her KHS days) was a homicide victim, and the organizer passed along that news nugget to a reporter.

Taylor has since  informed the Herald that to the best of her knowledge, she hadn't been killed, bringing to mind Mark Twain's note in May 1897, in which he wrote: "The report of my death was an exaggeration."

All in all, not a good day for the Tri-City Herald, as one of the other Class of 1971 victims in its macabre article, though deceased, had died of natural causes following a long illness, rather than at the hands of a crazed murderer.

This is why the vigilant staff of "TUOL" always passes along to journalism students the same advice dutifully received many years ago from a crusty newspaper professor:  "If your mother says she loves you, check it out...."

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