Take for example a Washington Post news story we posted this morning on the NF website concerning a dearth of blue crabs available to Delmarva area (Delaware, Maryland and Virginia) consumers this summer, despite bountiful spring landings. According to the story, Mother Nature unleashed a cold spell, followed by a hot spell and winds that made the normally abundant crabs scarce.
The dateline on the story reads “Fenwick Island, Md.” And up went the eyebrow of one of our readers, who quickly zapped an email our way.
“There is no Fenwick Island, MD,” the email states, “perhaps in Delaware on the Ocean…” It adds that “the crabs seem to be plentiful in Crisfield, MD, known as Crab Capitol of the World right now which is on Chesapeake Bay, which [is]where most blue crabs in our region come from.”
Well, a Google search indicates that Fenwick Island is indeed a coastal town in Delaware, not Maryland. Located just north of the Maryland-Delaware border, it has a population of 379, according to 2010 U.S. census figures.
If you scroll to the bottom of the Post story, you find a note that says “Information from: The Daily Times of Salisbury, Md.” The Times serves the Delmarva region.
Go to the Times website, and you’ll find their story, which appears with a dateline that simply reads “Fenwick Island,” with no indication as to the town’s state of residence.
Mind you, the Washington Post is no slouch of a newspaper. Trust me, a lot of gnashing of teeth goes on in a newsroom when that kind of error is made, especially when it’s in your local coverage area.
It makes the rest of us media folks shudder, because we know, no matter how vigilant we may be in trying to prevent such mistakes, there but for the grace of God go we. And we know that when such mistakes occur, you, gentle reader, and your raised eyebrow, will be there to let us know about it.