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Public Editor Sylvia Stead responds to readers and gives a behind-the-scenes look

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The Social’s Traci Melchor.
The Social’s Traci Melchor.

Public editor: No excuse for the wrong illustration Add to ...

On Monday, The Globe and Mail ran a feature with the headline: Habits of highly successful people: Traci Melchor in its Life & Arts section. The quotes from Ms. Melchor, a star journalist and now one of the hosts of CTV’s The Social, clearly show her incredible drive and positive attitude.

The problem was, the article was accompanied by a drawing, done by a freelance artist, of another very successful TV journalist, Cityline’s Tracy Moore.

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The Globe ran a correction in Tuesday’s paper that said: Correction: An illustration in Monday’s Life Arts section with a story about The Social host Traci Melchor incorrectly depicted Cityline’s Tracy Moore.

So, how did this happen? I was told that the artist did a Google Image search of “Traci Melchor” and mistakenly chose a photo of Tracy Moore on which he based the illustration. But when I did the search, that picture of Tracy Moore was No. 34 in the list. It followed several other photos that are clearly not Traci Melchor. And when you click on the photo, it says Tracy Moore.

That should give you multiple flags that it was wrong. Not only did the artist make a sloppy mistake without any journalistic check, the error should have been caught by an editor at The Globe because the illustration doesn’t look like Ms. Melchor.

The section editor has reached out to Ms. Melchor to apologize, as have I. As with many errors, especially with all-too-frequent mistakes with names, it comes down to a failure to verify and to double-check. Every name, photograph and illustration should be checked.

Ms. Melchor mentioned this on her show Thursday and asked quite rightly how this mistake could have happened. “Is it one size fits all for TV Tracys/Tracis? I don’t have long hair.”

She noted that she will never have the correct article with the correct illustration in its entirety and for that The Globe editors are very sorry.

As Ms. Melchor noted on air, the Life editor has written her a letter of apology, but she and her co-hosts are correct to say that while lots of mistakes are made, the normal standards of journalism fell far short here.

Follow on Twitter: @SylviaStead

 

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