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, writes The Globe and Mail's public editor Sylvia Stead.

By Sylvia Stead, public editor of The Globe and Mail

Recently 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.

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 Socialhost 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.

To continue reading this column, please go theglobeandmail.com where this was originally published.


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Tamara Baluja is an award-winning journalist with CBC Vancouver and the 2018 Michener-Deacon fellow for journalism education. She was the associate editor for J-Source from 2013-2014.