An honest mistake

Published 9:43 am Saturday, June 26, 2010

Everyone makes mistakes.

Unfortunately, newspapers’ mistakes are published.

That’s what happened Wednesday, when the The Tidewater News prominently featured a quote from the lead business story on the meals tax that will be implemented in Southampton County on July 1.

The quote was enlarged and placed at the top of the story underneath the headline.

What’s known in this business as an “expanded quote” is often used to emphasize a strong, worthwhile statement. The expanded quote is sometimes used to add a visual element to the story.

An editor may choose an expanded quote for a story, but sometimes the page designer may choose an expanded quote to fill space or give the story a little artwork.

The expanded quote used for this particular story was a gentleman’s reaction to the new 4 percent tax that restaurants and establishments selling prepared food must charge customers beginning July 1. In the story, Peter Pearson, owner of the For Pete’s Sake restaurant outside Courtland, said, “It’s just part of life. You deal with it and you make the necessary changes.”

Unfortunately, the expanded quote was mistakenly attributed to Amy Carr, the commissioner of revenue for Southampton County.

It was an honest mistake The Tidewater News regrets and that was not caught while proofreading. Attribution for expanded quotes will be checked more closely from now on.

Apologies to Amy Carr.