First reference to a news source
How should a news source be referenced? Should we use his/her full name or just the last name? What about their credentials? To answer these and similar questions, most major news sources use a stylebook – a reference work that standardizes how news is written. The Associated Press Stylebook requires a subscription, but I have no doubt that it states that a source’s complete name be given on first mention. That convention is, for the most part, a news industry standard. For example, the first reference to Jane Doe would refer to her as “Jane Doe.” Thereafter, it would be acceptable to just use “Doe” as in “Doe said . . . “ Additionally, the first mention of a source usually includes why that source is being cited. (“Jane Doe, who is . . . .”)
The Intelligencer edit
On page 6 of this morning’s paper, you will find an AP article titled
W.Va. Democrats Opposed to Special Session on COVID-19
Here is the entirety of what the Intelligencer printed:
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) - West Virginia Democratic Senate leaders said Thursday they're against a special session to consider bills that would bar schools and businesses from requiring COVID-19 vaccinations or other measures.
Stollings, Senate Minority Leader Stephen Baldwin of Greenbrier and Sen. Richard Lindsay of Kanawha held a teleconference to show solidarity with Senate Republicans they said are quietly opposed to holding a special session.
About two dozen Republican delegates wrote to Gov. Jim Justice asking him to call a special session to limit public health mandates, and a handful of senators have made similar requests.
That’s all of it. When I saw “Stollings” without a first name and without an identifier, I knew immediately that the article had been edited. I checked and here is the beginning of the much longer AP story. (Note – the Intelligencer dropped what is in bold.)
West Virginia Democratic Senate leaders said Thursday they’re against a special session to consider bills that would bar schools and businesses from requiring COVID-19 vaccinations or other measures.
“Our whole health care system is about to implode,” said Sen. Ron Stollings of Boone, who is also a physician. “The sense of crisis should be everywhere.”
Stollings, Senate Minority Leader Stephen Baldwin of Greenbrier and Sen. Richard Lindsay of Kanawha held a teleconference to show solidarity with Senate Republicans who they said are quietly opposed to holding a COVID-19 special session, The Charleston Gazette-Mail reported.
“At some point, somebody has to be the adult in the room and stand up for the right thing,” Baldwin said.
Stollings said Boone Memorial Hospital patients have had to be transported to facilities in Ohio and Michigan because intensive care units in West Virginia hospitals are reaching capacity.
Lindsay said he is astounded that some Republicans want to impose their will on private businesses, school systems, and colleges and universities, against the best advice of public health experts.
“All they’re trying to do is protect their customers and students,” he said.
About two dozen Republican delegates wrote to Gov. Jim Justice asking him to call a special session to limit public health mandates, and a handful of senators have made similar requests. Justice has shown no interest in calling the session.
(Note that the Intelligencer also dropped the AP’s reference to the Charleston Gazette – how petty.)
Additionally, I also have a problem with the article’s title. (Sadly, the AP’s title is not much better.) While the title is accurate, it could easily be misinterpreted by readers who don’t read the article. (Research on newspaper readership frequently finds that a majority of readers never get beyond the headline.) In this case, non-readers could easily interpret the headline to mean that Democrats do not want anything done about the state’s current Covid outbreak when the complete AP story makes it very clear that what the Democrats are trying to do is prevent the Republicans from limiting Covid mandates.
Last month, the Intelligence told us in their annual self-praise editorial:
Our allegiance is reserved to our readers, not special interests or rigid ideologies.