Saturday, January 24, 2004

Example #1,148 on why wire stories require careful editing. (Hey, most of these stories start out local like the rest of the copy you read.)

AP wrote a story about a court ruling that a gay father had to shield his son from his lovers and other elements of his love life. AP's lead:
A gay father can't flaunt a homosexual lifestyle when his son is around, a state appeals court has ruled.
Clearly, this violates Associated Press style:
Avoid references to gay, homosexual or alternative "lifestyle."
And the story makes "lifestyle" references throughout, without attributing it to the court.

The wording upset people from the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against definition, and the Washington Blade wrote a story. AP spokesperson Jack Stokes was quoted saying, "We regret the error."

But, as Phil Blanchard would say, hundreds of papers run AP unedited every day. For this story, that included the Memphis Tennessean and the Atlanta Journal Constitution.


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