Elway the dog's tombstone lands Denver Post on this year's Regret the Error list

I confess. I'm the reason the Denver Post appears on Regret the Error's annual roundup of memorable mistakes and corrections.

And I'm racked with guilt about it.

On June 10, I wrote an item about the death of Elway -- that is, the death of the legendary, drug-sniffing dog named Elway, who used his snoot to assist the San Francisco Police Department. And to illustrate the piece, I used a web application called Tombstone Generator to create the image above.

Which sure as heck fooled Post columnist Bill Husted.

On Sunday, June 21, eleven days later, Husted told this same story in a column, quoting from my faux tombstone as if it was real. I pointed out the truth in a blog the next day, and then tweaked the paper for not correcting the gaffe in the June 23 issue.

The nudge apparently worked, because the Post subsequently stripped the offending blurb from the Husted piece online and published the following:

Because of a reporter's error, Bill Husted's column on Page 3B on Sunday contained an item about a tombstone for "Elway the Drug Sniffing Dog." The tombstone was digitally fabricated for a blog and does not exist.

These two sentences appear proudly among Regret the Error's 2009 roster, and they've got good company. For example, the winning entry comes from the Washington Post:

A Nov. 26 article in the District edition of Local Living incorrectly said a Public Enemy song declared 9/11 a joke. The song refers to 911, the emergency phone number.

I can truthfully say I had nothing to do with that one...

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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts

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