Washington Post confuses one Michael Shamberg with another

Mark Jenkins’ preview of a July 14 double feature in Washington, D.C., was illustrated with a photo of filmmaker Michael Shamberg. Unfortunately, there are two filmmakers with that name, as a correction in Tuesday’s paper makes clear:

Some quick research by Poynter (here’s Michael H. Shamberg’s Facebook page) indicates this correction is in little danger of becoming a Barbara Johnson-level problem.

Related: ‘Today’ show confuses Michael Vick with another black quarterback | 5 tips for getting photo IDs right | Man sues GateHouse paper over photo error and ‘meaningless and failed’ correction

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  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1665295216 John McClelland

    Once upon a time, it was standard practice to get middle initials or even middle names (John F. Kennedy, Richard M. Nixon, and locally useful distinguishers such as Joseph A. Jones vs Joseph B. Jones). This was useful not just for high-profile criminal suspects (John Wilkes Booth, John Wayne Gacy).

    I once worked for a publisher named John Gardner, who self-described himself as “John Gardner, not the one who can write.” Until just now, I was unaware that there were two John Gardners famous in British-American literature, not including my former boss, none of whom used a middle initial regularly.

    So, now the NYTimes has Michael H. Shamberg and Michael Shamberg without the second guy’s initial if it exists. Cops use, and more than one reporter has unthinkingly passed along “NMI” for no middle initial.

    A paper where I was editing, but not involved in this story, barely avoided a libel suit when it reported a DUI conviction of someone with a name like the fictional Joe Brown, 35, of Main Street, OurTown. Joe B. Brown, 34, of East Main Street lost his driving job temporarily until we clarified that the DUI was Joe A. Brown, 35, of West Main Street.

    Fuller detail is part of the ever-demanding need to “check it out,” and doing it gets even slipperier with photo i.d.

    –John McClelland, retired faculty, Roosevelt University, Chicago
    Editing The Masthead for http://opinionjournalists.org