Thursday Thirteen mistakes in an article

there we go--the ladies. A pretty good article. I like it.

He's right. It IS pathetic that I'm the first thing that pops up when you want Bosnian rugs. And he's also correct, Fatima is adorable. **

Enough with the positive.

Here's what he got wrong:
1. He mixed up Fatima and Remzija's stories, somewhat.

2. Fatima has two daughters (her son died) and she lives with her daughter and son-in-law, both of whom have low-paying jobs. She's doing better than many most of the other women I know. Her other daughter is still in Bosnia. (and actually I got her story wrong. I thought she came here by way of Germany and she didn't.)

3. She is not sarcastic. Very occasionally ironic, but not sarcastic. Snark is not something she likes, except perhaps about herself and her bad memory. She doesn't mock anyone else, even me, and I've done a lot to deserve mockery in her presence. (We've spent a lot of time together)

4, maybe. I could be wrong, but I think Fatima is only 58. I don't think she's snuck in any birthdays.

5. Her husband did end up in a camp.

6. He's still alive. Not at all a happy guy and his hands don't work very well because they were bound for years (I think they were kept bound for two years? I'm not sure. The reporter is also right about the language barrier.)

7. Her whole farm wasn't burned down, though parts were.

8. Remzija has a son, too. I think she was pregnant when everyone in her family (all of her friends and relations except her toddler daughter) was killed. Her son is not doing well, in case you were wondering.

9. My name isn't Othwell.

10. The profits go to whoever makes the stuff and I deal with more ladies than Fatima and Remzija. He met at least one of the other ladies, too.

What does he mean rudimentary website? bah. Okay, so it's crappy, but rudimentary? Right, I'll put this one in a "harumph" file because he's not acually wrong. I guess.

11. It's Nilofer, not Nolifer.

She's my coworker, which he didn't mention, but then again, he didn't talk about where she worked, so I'm not sure it's a mistake.

12. It's Lynne with an E not Lynn Williamson--and I barely know the woman.

13. I don't have cleaning services mentioned. God knows I'm not bonded or insured for that kind of thing. I simply suggest that maybe people want to hire the ladies.

Back in my feature writing days, getting names wrong was an offense punishable by much yelling and considerable mockery. Facts were bad to mix up, sure, but NAMES? Holy Mother of Associated Press!

He got the gist right, and that's what counts in the long run. A long run = a week or so for that paper.

I don't know if he noticed how hard it was for the ladies to talk about their experiences--maybe you have to know the women under normal circumstances to see how tense they were there. I think one-on-one, they have less of a problem talking but this was in front of a big bunch of people.

Could I talk to a bunch of strangers about the worst nightmare experiences of my life? No goddamn way. Who wants to cry while everyone's watching? And who wants to answer those questions? I know it wasn't Fatima or Remzija's idea of a fun time. That's probably why I care more about the tiny mistakes than I would normally****. This is such a Big Deal to skip over lightly. Eh, I suppose that's true of any news story that doesn't show up in Sports or Entertainment sections.

BTW even one-on-one isn't so great for all of the ladies. Another woman who was there backed away when he tried to talk to her alone. I know she has a dreadful time with her memories. Anyway I wish he'd pointed out how brave they are to talk to a crowd about this stuff. Not really a mistake, I suppose.

I'm not working with the ladies at the moment. We have some young people from Azerbaijan.

** If you want to see a picture of Fatima, click on the top "Hartford Advocate" banner (which as we know, isn't what that doohicky is called in the newspaper world. The banner is the list of publishers editors etc). It'll take you to the front page and there's a picture of her on the left.

****See, normally, I wouldn't care because I know how easy it is to get little shit wrong. . .Except about names. Did I mention names? Sheesh. That's 101 stuff.


  1. Anonymous2:07 PM

    The Hartford Advocate is not exactly top-notch journalism, but, then neither is that awfulrag, the Courant. We lack good journalism around here. Sigh.

  2. Anonymous2:47 PM

    (Apologies if this comes up twice --
    blogger ate the first post, I think!)

    I used to do the marketing & PR for a number of not-for-profits in Bermuda and even when I sent a press-ready release, the local rag STILL managed to screw up the facts! To this day, I wonder how?!

  3. Even with messed-up facts, at least they got some publicity that might help the crafts to sell. Speaking of, when are ya gonna answer my email about the socks, huh, huh? I'm sitting here with freezing toes!

  4. Please never do this to one of my articles.


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