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Newspaper apologizes for ‘major’ headline mistake

FREDERICKSBURG, Va. — Editors at The Freelance Star newspaper in Fredericksburg have issued an apology for a front page headline over the story about former Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell.

While the story was about the U.S. Supreme Court ruling to vacate McDonnell’s conviction on federal corruption charges, the headline referenced current Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe and bribery charges.

“Due to editing errors, the headline was wrong on our front-page story Tuesday about the U.S. Supreme Court vacating former Gov. Bob McDonnell’s convictions,” editor Phil Jenkins explained in Fredericksburg.com headlined A major mistake, a sincere apology.

Freelance Star

Jenkins then explained what led to the mistake.

“We’ve been struggling to adapt to a new software system. And on this particular story, we were making changes to the design of the page and in doing so strayed from our normal process for writing and editing headlines,” he wrote. “But none of that excuses what was a massive and embarrassing error. We failed to live up to the standards our readers expect. And for that, we sincerely apologize.”

He said the newspaper would hire more editors to help catch mistakes.

“In the meantime, we’re instituting a new process for proofing our pages to ensure that our readers receive the quality product they deserve,” he added.