It’s certainly not the magnitude of correction that resulted from the events chronicled in the Atlantic Theater Company’s newest production, based on the Jayson Blair scandal, but it is an irony nonetheless.
After taking great pains to explain the play title “CQ/CX” — CQ meaning Caedit Quaestio, another way of saying fact checking, and CX meaning correction — the Associated Press sent out a version of their review titling the play, incorrectly, “CQ/QX.” A CX to replace the title’s CX was issued.
The review, a positive take on the new play, describes some newsroom shorthand:
Kobi Libii gives an engaging portrayal of Burnett, at first eager and conscientious, as the young black man joins the Times with the 1998 intern class. His editor on the Metro desk, Ben (given a principled, no-nonsense presence by Tim Hopper) notices sloppiness with regard to detail almost immediately and offers important advice about factual writing. "Did you CQ it?" he asks Jay using a journalism shorthand, then explains, "Cadit Quaestio. The question falls. The facts have been checked." He also reminds Jay that "We are writing the first draft of history, respect that."
But Jay is impatient for success, and his work, while talented, often requires CX (correction), although he expresses admiration for old-school journalism. "I like those old ways. Hounding. Getting the story. Work hard, play hard," he recites to Frank, (a very effective Larry Bryggman), a veteran newsman with 43 years at the Times who feels he's been put out to pasture.
Michael Cavna, who writes the Post’s “Comic Riffs” blog, pointed out the correction to the Style Blog. This is not to throw stones at glass houses, of course — the speed of journalism and blogging means that careless errors make their way onto the Web all the time, on this blog and others. They’re mistakes of sloppiness, but unlike the errors outlined by the Blair-based character in the play, they’re not malicious or intentional. The incorrect title is still showing up in a few places, but the Associated Press has corrected it.