Boston Globe Botched Byline

I yield to no man in my admiration for intrepid New York Times war correspondent C.J. Chivers.

But his byline should not have stood alone atop Monday’s Boston Globe front-page piece headlined, “Leaked archive casts stark light on Afghan war.”

The Globe story, plucked off the Times wire service, summarized the WikiLeaks wikidump of five years’ worth of military documents chronicling the war in Afghanistan.

Not to get technical about it, but the original Times piece had many makers:

This article was written and reported by C. J. Chivers, Carlotta Gall, Andrew W. Lehren, Mark Mazzetti, Jane Perlez, and Eric Schmitt, with contributions from Jacob Harris and Alan McLean.

Chivers did, however, solo in a separate Monday Times piece with this captivating lede:

Nothing in the documents made public on Sunday offers as vivid a miniature of the Afghan war so far — from hope to heartbreak — as the field reports from one lonely base: Combat Outpost Keating.

So.

Credit where credit is due, yes?

Photo: Kevin Frayer/Associated Press

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2 Responses to Boston Globe Botched Byline

  1. I suspect that this is an issue of high automation and stories that don’t fit into the schema of the underlying databases they were put in. (and maybe the import and export mechanisms not correctly mapping them.) On the New York Times site, the attribution isn’t in the standard style and position of article pages on the site. I suspect in the underlying database it isn’t in some sort of author/attribution field but in the beginning of the body of the article itself. (But since the Times newsroom and web team new about the oddity, they were careful to work around it.)

    So I think when the article was exported out of the NYT’s content management system it probably directly pulled the author field in the database and didn’t know about the special handling that was done during layout of the paper and web site. When it got to the Boston Globe’s and Boston.com’s content management systems that information was lost.

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