When I was in J-School, the venerable Jim Shumaker was the instructor for my first news-writing class. The crusty editor, who cussed frequently, had a very easy grading system, which included one clear directive about source names: you get it wrong, you get an F. You could write a Hearst-worthy article, and you'd still get that big-ass F scrawled on your paper, like this:
It was a lesson I was already familiar with from the other side of the equation. (read about that here).
So I was a little disappointed by this story on a favorite local charity that quotes me near the top. There are other, smaller, errors in it, but the biggest is the misspelling of my name. Sigh. You can bet if she calls me again, I'm going to be a lot less likely to speak with her, or to trust her to get anything right.
What's the lesson here? When you're writing about other people, verify the spelling of their names. And if you know others (like an editor) will be reading your piece, make sure they know that unconventional or unusual spellings have been checked out. If you're not clear on what someone says, ask them to repeat it. Accidents and errors will happen -- it's inevitable -- but you can avoid making stupid ones if you pay a little more attention and take a little more care.