The Oxford Mail, a daily newspaper in Oxford, England, claimed a local mayor was “forced to hand over the chains.” But, the headline making that claim was inaccurate because the editor who wrote it misread the article, the newspaper itself admitted.
In question were two Oxford Mail articles published in May 2018, both published in print and online. The articles were headlined online “Controversial Carterton mayor Lynn Little forced to hand over chains” and “Controversial Carterton mayor Lynn Little to hand over chains.”
The two articles reported that Little was leaving office after five years and that she had been criticized for her use of funds. Instead, Little said she decided not to run for re-election and her term was ending. She also denied she was a “controversial mayor” and denied the article’s questions about her use of mayor’s money.
In response, the Oxford Mail admitted its headline was inaccurate and offered to post a correction. “The newspaper accepted that it was incorrect to say that the complainant was ‘forced’ to give up her chains; this was a result of a sub-editor not reading the story properly before inserting the headline,” IPSO explained. The paper, however, stood by its reporting otherwise. The Oxford Mail declined to comment to iMediaEthics.
IPSO agreed that the headline was inaccurate and needed to be corrected, but that the rest of the article was fairly reported. iMediaEthics has contacted the Mail for comment.
The Oxford Mail offered to correct its headline and post a correction reading:
“On February 22, 2018, we ran a story on this website about Cllr Mrs Lynn Little standing down as the mayor of Carterton.
“The headline to the article initially read she was ‘forced to hand over the chains’.
“While the story itself was accurate, it was wrong to say in the headline Cllr Mrs Lynn Little was forced to stand down from her position.
“In fact, she did so when her term came to a natural end.
“We are happy to make this clear in accordance with IPSO guidance.”