AP Struggles with Town Name, Labeling

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First, it was the Sporting News that used Jerry Sandusky’s name to shamelessly generate more pageviews for its website on an article that had nothing to do with Jerry Sandusky. Now, the Associated Press is joining the fun with this State Patty’s Day article published yesterday.

The story outlines out all the details of the latest assault on State Patty’s Day, including the bar closures and increased police presence that we’d been hearing about the last few days. Although some might take issue with this sentence: “Besides that, the last thing Penn State needs as it seeks to redeem its reputation after the Jerry Sandusky child abuse scandal is more negative attention,” the content of the article is noncontroversial.

However, right at the top of the page before the first sentence, you’ll notice a peculiar name: Jerry Sandusky. The Associated Press decided to label an article about precautions to limit the consumption of alcohol at Penn State in the “Jerry Sandusky” topic.

Of course, the article has nothing to do with Jerry Sandusky. But apparently the AP now thinksĀ that every article about Penn State must be labeled as such.

The AP also wrote a story about THON earlier this week, but it wasn’t important enough to make the “Big Story” section of the AP.

Another error can be found in the headline. The first result with a simple web search for “Penn State town” is the Wikipedia page for State College, Pennsylvania. The second result is for Downtown State College. Nobody calls it “Penn State town” and a news service used by over 1,700 newspapers should know better.

(Worth nothing: The author of the article, Genaro Armas, probably had nothing to do with the headline or the topic selection. Most of the time, these decisions are left up to editors.)

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About Author

Kevin Horne was the editor of Onward State from 2012-2014, and currently holds the position of Managing Editor Emeritus. He graduated from Penn State with degrees journalism and political science in 2014 and is currently seeking his J.D. at the Penn State Dickinson School of Law. A third generation Penn Stater from Williamsport, Pa., Kevin is a director of the Nittany Valley Society 501(c)(3) and is involved in student government.

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