Scrolling Headlines:

Experienced Ohio State club too much for UMass hockey in 3-0 loss -

October 22, 2017

Season-high 29 saves from Matt Murray proves lone highlight in UMass hockey’s 3-0 shutout loss to Ohio State -

October 22, 2017

UMass football picks up first win of the season in blowout win over Georgia Southern -

October 21, 2017

Student in critical condition after pedestrian-vehicle accident on Friday -

October 21, 2017

UMass women’s soccer fails to secure spot in A-10 tournament with loss to Saint Louis -

October 21, 2017

Struggles with special teams sinks UMass hockey -

October 21, 2017

UMass hockey drops second of the year in 3-1 loss to Ohio State -

October 20, 2017

Amazon textbook contract ending in December 2018 -

October 19, 2017

UMass field hockey heads into crucial A-10 matchup -

October 19, 2017

2017 Hockey Special Issue -

October 19, 2017

International Relations Club tackles tough issues at ‘Foreign Policy Coffee Hour’ -

October 19, 2017

Sexual assault reports spike on campus -

October 19, 2017

Californian students react to wildfires back home -

October 19, 2017

‘My Little Pony: The Movie’ is a surprising animated treat, whether you’re a fan of the show or not -

October 19, 2017

With a young team, Carvel is preparing the UMass hockey team to thrive -

October 19, 2017

Letter: UMass hockey is great, but where are the students? -

October 19, 2017

Boino’s blast gives UMass men’s soccer sole possession of first place in the Atlantic 10 -

October 19, 2017

UMass freshmen look to play physical, make an impact and improve early on -

October 19, 2017

UMass hockey sets out to create new program, identity in 2017-18 -

October 19, 2017

Cale Makar: UMass hockey’s crown jewel -

October 19, 2017

Forever 23

According to some Western Mass. newspapers, Jason Vassell has been a 23-year-old for about 13 months now. Some say his case is making people think twice about police misconduct even in places so progressive as Amherst. But local media has me looking again at his age.

Most reporters, when determining the age of a victim or an assailant (the identity of Vassell in this incident is debated) check for his birthday in an arrest report. After some elementry arithmetic, the age becomes solid fact.
The issue came up in the Massachusetts Daily Collegian’s newsroom. We were writing our pieces and helping the Boston Globe with its. The Globe asked if Vassell is 23 or 24 years old. Good question.

As Vassell’s case stretched on for a year, reporters neglected to return to primary source documents to retrieve his age. Papers have repeatedly reported his age at 23, when he has been 24 since May 9.
Goes to show that in a complicated case like this, some reporters are reading their stories, or others’, for background info instead of reporting again.

 

…Wm

Comments
One Response to “Forever 23”
  1. Derrick says:

    It’s an easy habit to slip into, especially when you’re a writer covering the same beat for a period of time. Eventually you understand the different storylines, issues and backgrounds to the point where you don’t even think about verifying what you write.

    That’s a good catch on your part and nice to see that the Globe is double-checking what others might consider common knowledge.

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