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Last week, I made a huge mistake.
And by huge, I am not exaggerating.
I misread an email sent to me by Marion County High School Track Coach Daniel Johnson.
His email was a response to some questions I was asking about their last track meet.
Somehow, my big dumb brain decided to start trolling by thinking that three-tenths short of meeting a record was the same as actually breaking the record.
What’s more, in the hustle and bustle of editing and everything else, my original headline of “Track competes in Boyle Co. All-comer,” got changed to “Bradshaw sets record.”
My lead was also changed to reflect the false accomplishment.
Combined, all of this led to one heck of a wrong story.
To be honest, I can only imagine being in Miranda’s shoes and receiving complements for something I didn’t do and having to explain the situation. It must be pretty embarrassing.
Because of this, I truly am sorry for my mistake.
Errors of this magnitude have no excuses. The only thing I can really say is that I am a human, like everyone else.
As one of my editors, Stephen Lega, once told me, journalists lay out their mistakes for everyone to see.
True that, Stephen, true that.
The mistake was pointed out to me on April 2, the day the paper was released to the public. In fact, it was made known to me by Johnson when I went to the track to do an interview with him and Miranda for the feature story about her in this edition of The Enterprise.
I have a comment about this. It must take some real trust to let someone who just messed up to do a feature story about you.
And for the second chance, I thank them both.
On April 3, I spent the entire morning working on the correction. Not because I had a hard time writing the fact that I was wrong, but because I ran into a little problem.
Johnson informed me of the real record holder. Her name is Alicia Seabrooks, and she set the record time for the 100 meter dash in the Kentucky State Track Meet in 1994.
Her time was 13.06 seconds.
My curious self decided to Google her and look through the 1994 editions of The Enterprise.
But what I found in The Enterprise and other (albeit less credible) web sources, was supposedly, Seabrooks ran the 100 meter dash faster than the 13.06 in the state meet.
According to the April 13, 1994, Enterprise, Seabrooks ran the distance in 13.1 seconds. In the April 24 edition, it says she ran the same length in 12.67 seconds. On May 15, 1994, it read that she ran the distance in 12.7 seconds.
So, I ask, what am I supposed to do? My job is to be fair, accurate, and unbiased.
For this edition, I had a big choice to make. Do I trust what was printed in the newspaper 20 years ago? Or do I trust what was recorded by officials for Seabrooks time from 20 years ago?
Both are equally old and have no verifiable means of proving accuracy.
I did end up going with the time I was told by Johnson because at state meets they use more sophisticated equipment for timing. As we all know, people hand timing events will be no where near as accurate as a machine – usually.
So, with all of that said, all that’s left to say is I hope I made the right decisions and I hope this sets the record straight. Many people do not trust journalists because our errors are laid for everyone to see, but I hope this makes up for my mistake.