So, how did this happen?
“Oh, man,” were the first words East Oregonian managing editor Daniel Wattenburger (pictured below) said over the phone when I asked about the “amphibious pitcher” headline.
“It’s just kind of a silly mistake, and I’m trying to craft a column about it now,” he says. “There was just some confusion [about amphibious vs. ambidextrous] from the person laying out the page on Friday night.
“A former colleague [Neill Woelk] shared it on his Twitter feed and that’s how it got picked up” by, well, just about everyone else on Twitter. (Woelk is now Rocky Mountain Student Media adviser.)
“It’s a little embarrassing,” the managing editor says of the hed.
Wattenburger notes that this is the second item from his paper that’s gone viral recently; a funny letter about farts circulated on social media in late May.
* Favorite headline of the week (@NeillWoelk)
* Earlier: Fart letter in East Oregonian goes viral (jimromenesko.com)
* Check out comments from my Facebook friends and subscribers
New — Editor’s column: “Just a few weeks ago we were Internet heroes, showing the courage and temerity to publish a letter about farts. Now, we’re lowly Internet zeros, publishing unconsciously about frogs.”
Last week, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette columnist Jennifer Graham turned in a piece about Caitlyn Jenner that said “Mr. Jenner joins Chaz Bono and Laverne Cox in the don’t-call-them-freaks parade … But have at it; whatever makes you feel pretty. Just know that, for every person cheering your courage, there are others wishing you were a bit more of a coward.”
Four Post-Gazette opinion section staffers read the column before it went to press, according to editorial page editor Tom Waseleski.
“No one raised questions about the column to me and I’m not aware of any discussion in which one or more of my colleagues argued against using it,” he says. “Our intern told me as he was leaving for the day that the column was sure to generate a reaction. I agreed that it would, but that’s nothing new at the Post-Gazette. We have a robust opinion section, and we’re used to strong reactions — from all points of the political compass — to various columns, editorials and editorial cartoons.”
“Strong reactions” came in quickly after the column was published last Thursday. “Defamatory,” one person tweeted; “shockingly anti-transgender,” tweeted another. The Human Rights Campaign told P-G executive editor David Shribman that “Ms. Graham has no business serving as a columnist at a publication with a reputation as sterling like yours.”/CONTINUES Read More