Did Washington State Newspaper Fact-Check? No Corrections after 2 People Wrongly Listed as Murdered?

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Washington state newspaper the Tri-City Herald incorrectly reported that Cheri Taylor (pictured above) was murdered. (Credit: KOMO, screenshot)

The Tri-City Herald incorrectly reported that a woman named Cheri Taylor was murdered, Seattle TV news station KOMO reported.

The Tri-City Herald is a daily McClatchy-owned newspaper with a circulation of about 33,000 copies, according to Mondo Times.

According to KOMO, the Tri-City Herald reported in an Aug. 6 article about her high school’s graduating class that Taylor was murdered in 1996. Debra Blum, who was organizing the reunion for Taylor’s high school class, had reportedly told the Herald’s reporter after hearing it from a classmate. That Aug. 6 report stated that Blum claimed that “seven classmates were violent crime victims” and added that Blum tried to verify the murder claims by checking “other sources.”

In an Aug. 8 report, the Tri-City Herald reported that Blum heard that Tayior was dead through an e-mail. “Blum used Ancestry.com and other sources to try to verify it. She even went to the libraries in Kennewick and Richland to try to search through microfiche of the Tri-City Herald — all to no avail,” the Tri-City Herald reported.

The Associated Press noted that Leo Marcel, another person the Herald reported as murdered, wasn’t murdered, but did die from “a lengthy illness” seven years ago.

The Herald stated that “for some, there were newspaper accounts of the death. For others, she was able to find their death certificates that showed they had been murdered.”

But, in others, there apparently wasn’t proof.  iMediaEthics wonders why the Herald went ahead and published a report that two people had been murdered without any evidence.   iMediaEthics wrote to the Tri-City Herald asking how, or if, it verified Blum’s account.  We haven’t heard back from the newspaper yet, but will update with any response.

We also asked the Tri-City Herald if it has run a correction or apology to the not-murdered members of that high school class and/or their families.  A search of the newspaper’s website did not produce any correction or apology.

Taylor, who the Herald reported as murdered, is alive and told TV news station KOMO that her sister told her about the newspaper’s error.   Taylor told KOMO that she left a phone message for the newspaper to let them know “there’s been a mistake.”

Hat Tip: Editor & Publisher

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Did Washington State Newspaper Fact-Check? No Corrections after 2 People Wrongly Listed as Murdered?

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