Free-Floating Hostility

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Adventures in Journalism

Every year, our newspaper does a "Reader's Choice" issue. The concept is simple. We ask readers to vote on their favorite everything: from Chinese food restaurant to bike path. And then we write about the results and sell a bunch of ads. One of our topics is best optometrist. So our people get a list, write a story about the winner and print a blurb naming the honorable mentions. Yesterday, someone who works at the state licensing board contacted us and said, "We were looking though your best of issue and we have no record of anyone by (whatever name) working in your county. The most recent person we've had by (whatever name) died in 2001."


I heard this story and immediately distilled that there were two options.

A) Someone is practicing optometry without a license right here in our little town. Or
B) We really did recommend a dead optometrist.

For 24 hours, I was hoping that our little "Best of" issue had netted a major scandal.

But sometimes a little reporting is all you need to get to the bottom of a story. The answer, it turns out, was option C), That Dr. (whatever name) was actually an opthamologist, and therefore licensed by some other board.

Oh well, maybe one scandal a month is enough.

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