More Messages: Scouting Report

Many mistakes in newspaper stories are minor: misspelled words, transposed numbers on an address, etc. Others rise to a more elevated level -- but precious few scale the heights of unfortunateness reached by an item in the August 24

Rocky Mountain News


The gaffe in question was contained in a blurb about the Horizon High School Hawks football team. The original copy read:

"It has been a while since the Hawks have been able to mount a challenge for a league championship, but that could be in the past. The Hawks need to find a quarterback, but the go-to guy in the backfield will be running back Devon Knight, who also was a first-team all-league defensive back."

What's wrong with that? Let's allow the anonymous author of a correction that ran in the August 25 Rocky to explain:

"An item on Page 5P of Thursday's Rocky Preps football preview section said running back Devon Knight would be a key player for Horizon High this fall. Knight, however, died in an April car crash after the school's prom. The News apologizes for the error."

Rocky personnel certainly should have known about the tragedy that befell Knight, since the paper covered the matter extensively. The April 24 edition contained a hefty report by staffer John Aguilar, who noted that Knight wasn't suspected of having been impaired by drugs or alcohol at the time of the accident. The next day, writer Ivan Moreno followed up with an article about the impact Knight's death was having on his fellow classmates.

Reading about Knight in the present tense four months after he perished probably didn't do them any good either. -- Michael Roberts

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