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AP errs on Rothschild report

By JACK SHEPPARD

© St. Petersburg Times, published October 3, 2000


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AP errs on Rothschild report

For 2 hours, 45 minutes Monday, the world thought Larry Rothschild had been fired.

At 11:35 a.m., the Associated Press moved a story on its national wire that the Devil Rays manager had been fired, citing a report on the Tampa Tribune Web site. While the Tribune was reporting that Rothschild would be fired (according to anonymous sources), the Web site never claimed he had been dismissed.

But the mistake had been made. The AP story was picked up by CNN/SI.com and cbs.sportsline.com and other national Web sites, and it wasn't until 2:20 p.m. that the AP (after a call from Tribune sports editor Duke Maas) moved a corrected version of the story, reporting Rothschild not only wasn't fired but was expected to return next season.

"They (AP) misread our story and said that he had been fired -- past tense -- which was wrong," Maas said. "The story on the Web site is the same we had in print, that he was expected to be fired based on two sources close to the situation."

"(We) made a mistake in the tense," acknowledged Aaron Watson, deputy sports editor of the Associated Press in New York. "The Tribune reported that he would be fired -- not that he was expected to be fired, but that he will be fired -- and mentioned a 9 a.m. meeting. I think there might have been a misunderstanding that that meeting had already taken place (for the 11:35 version of the story).

"When we realized the error, and after we had a chance to do some reporting on our own, we completely scrapped the approach the Tribune Web site had taken (that Rothschild would be fired) and said it looks like he was going to be back."

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