Any news buff would want to sit down with Washington Post reporter Jason Horowitz to hear how his story of Mitt Romney's high school days came together, but in case you don't have his number the next best thing is his account to Capital New York. Only, you're going to want to skip the first 12 or so paragraphs before Horowitz really gets going about his sheer doggedness in calling Romney's former Cranbrook schoolmates one after another, before he even knew he had much of a story. He only learned about the haircut incident after more than a dozen conversations with as many people, he told Capital's Tom McGeveran.
Horowitz went on to get four of those schoolmates on the record as witnesses to the incident, and another's account anonymously, which strengthens his report against charges Horowitz misrepresented a source. Poynter directs us to the blog DC Porcupine, which documented the change the post made to the account of one Stu White (emphasis Poynter's). This is the original version:
“I always enjoyed his pranks,” said Stu White, a popular friend of Romney’s who went on to a career as a public school teacher and has long been bothered by the Lauber incident. “But I was not the brunt of any of his pranks.”
White then told ABC he had only learned of the Lauber incident recently, and the Post changed the paragraph to this:
“I always enjoyed his pranks,” said Stu White, a popular friend of Romney’s who went on to a career as a public school teacher and said he has been “disturbed” by the Lauber incident since hearing about it several weeks ago, before being contacted by The Washington Post. “But I was not the brunt of any of his pranks.”
Since White isn't one of the sources who the story relies on as a witness to the haircut incident, the change doesn't really undercut Horowitz's report, but what Poynter and DC Porcupine rightly call into question is the Post's decision not to include an editor's note about the change when it first made it. Though it did eventually add one:
Editor’s Note: An earlier version of this story reported that White “has long been bothered” by the Lauber incident. White later clarified in a subsequent interview that he has been disturbed by the incident since he learned of it several weeks ago from a former classmate, before being contacted by The Washington Post.
But we digress. The point of all this is that those fascinated by the reporting process will want to read McGeveran's interview with Horowitz, the meat of which mostly consists of large quotes from Horowitz himself. Just hit control F and search for the phrase "But none of those things happened," and read from there.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.
We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to firstname.lastname@example.org.