Election nights are especially busy ones in The Post newsroom, as story lines, story lengths, and even voting-day photos change hour by hour as reporters and photographers send in new information.
And sometimes that can lead to mistakes, such as the caption on a photo that appeared on page B5 of Wednesday’s paper in the Metro section. The photo was of D.C. City Council member (and former Mayor) Marion Barry waiting in line to vote in his Southeast Washington ward, a picture shot earlier in the day.
The caption notes that Barry is the one in the photo wearing green. Except that in print it’s a black and white photo. So you can’t tell who is wearing green.
Here’s the shot:
What happened, according to Jesse Lewis, The Post’ multiplatform editing chief, is that earlier in the evening the photo was on the front of Metro, a page printed in color. But as the evening progressed and more information came in, the design of the front Metro page changed and the Barry photo was moved to the inside page B5, which was a black and white page, no color allowed. And no one thought to change the caption.
The Post content management system also makes it a bit harder to catch these mistakes. The CMS, according to Lewis, holds all the photos in color, but you have to check in a separate spot in the software program to see which pages are going to be printed in black and white.
As it turns out, a similar photo also appeared in a Post Election-Day color photo gallery. Except there, even though you can easily see that Barry is wearing green, he is identified in the caption by his position in the photo.
Here’s that shot:
Newspapering is not a perfect science, and a lot of checks have to be made when up against deadlines on Election Night. Too bad this wasn’t caught.