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12 things we can never take back

by Greg Weatherford

3. Erasing a mole.

For a 1997 cover portrait, we electronically removed a very obvious birthmark from the forehead of a well-known local attorney. We meant well; we thought it was a temporary blemish. It wasn't. Nobody noticed, except everyone who knew him. We never airbrush news photos anymore.

4. Joel Harris' wily ways.

We reported, in complete earnestness, that the wife of ex-mayoral aide Joel Harris was the heiress to the Ralston family fortune. No such thing. One telephone call to the Ralston Purina Company would have blown the story wide open; we didn't make the call.

5. Not labeling the fake vampire.

Another spooky story that got a lot of attention. For our Halloween cover story in 1999, we profiled a "vampire" who knew tons about Richmond history. We did not mention that the vampire was the invention of two staff writers. People still ask us what happened to the vampire. *

6. You dirty …

Last year we printed a typo that inadvertently changed Times-Dispatch Managing Editor Louise Seals' name to "Louse Seals."

7. The fight of his life.

For Father's Day 1999 we profiled controversial attorney Joe Morrissey and his (formerly) estranged daughter, who suffered from a series of eating disorders. Coincidentally, the story ran just as Morrissey, who was appealing a contempt-of-court conviction, began serving a 30-day sentence in Chesterfield County Jail. Looking back on it, the whole affair was just icky.

8. Inmates?

We missed a typo in last year's Inside Richmond that changed a restaurant's description from "intimate dining" to "inmate dining," a completely different proposition.

9. Rabbi, run.

Though technically an advertising error, this is too good to forget: In 1995 we designed and ran a restaurant menu guide that featured "roast loin of rabbi." That missing final "t" got Style a mention on the "Tonight Show with Jay Leno."

10. What would Arthur think?

In July 1995, we weighed in on the controversy over the Arthur Ashe statue by coming out strongly in favor it. "We Can Do This!" proclaimed the cover. Whatever your opinion of the statue, it now seems that we were swept away by the debate.

11. The purple osteopath.

A 1993 printing error turned a cover image of well-known Richmond doctor into a bizarre study in mauve. Is it too late to say we're sorry, Dr. Osborne?

12. Calling the magazine "Style Weekly."

We've learned to live with it, but we don't have to love it.

* See No. 20 for more on these.

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