Saturday, February 1, 2003

OmbudSaturday: a partial roundup of ombudsman columns

# Orlando Sentinel: Observing that, “A newspaper in Lincoln, Neb., staked out some new territory for American Indians this past week when it stopped referring to the professional football team in the nation's capital as the Redskins,” Manning Pynn argues that the issue of using controversial names in a newspaper has “a couple of elements.”

First, he asks, “Is naming a team after a minority group offensive?” The corollary is “Would a team deliberately call itself something it didn't like or respect?” The answer, of course, is no.

Pynn’s “second element has plenty to do with journalism.” It boils down to, “teams, not newspapers, decide what to call themselves.

If a sports team's moniker truly were offensive, though, the newspaper wouldn't cure the problem by keeping that name a secret. If anything, that would help protect the team from warranted criticism and contribute to the offense.”

# The San Diego Union-Tribune: Gina Lubrano appears to take peace marchers at their word when they report 1,200 marchers in their contingent in the January 18th Martin Luther King, Jr., parade. Marchers were “outraged” that The Union-Tribune had reported only that there were “more than 100.” No independent corroboration for the higher number is given, and since we know that the primary organizer of anti-war demonstrations, International A.N.S.W.E.R., is notorious for using inflated numbers, perhaps a little skepticism of numbers reported by the anti-war movement might be in order.

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