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Virginia Newspaper Makes Hugely Embarassing Error In Frontpage Headline

Every journalist and editor can tell you that mistakes happen. But rarely does a major factual error appear in a blaring headline in 40-point type.

Here was the headline of Tuesday’s The Free Lance-Star, servicing the Fredericksburg, Virginia area.

Oof. For those not up to date on their Virginia politics, it was former Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell who was convicted of corruption and had his conviction overturned Monday by the Supreme Court. Current Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe faces his own ethics controversy, but has never been convicted of anything.

The Lance-Star issued a correction and an apology shortly after the headline went viral.

There are several factors that can help explain what happened. We’ve been struggling to adapt to a new software system. And on this particular story, we were making changes to the design of the page and in doing so strayed from our normal process for writing and editing headlines.

But none of that excuses what was a massive and embarrassing error.

We failed to live up to the standards our readers expect. And for that, we sincerely apologize.

[Image via screengrab]
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