Phil Star sports reporter tackles U.S. politics, hijinks ensue

As a journalist, I know what it's like to have to cover a story that touches on subjects you're not exactly familiar with. Maybe you're covering for a colleague. Maybe your editor needed extra manpower on an important breaking story. Suddenly, you go from your comfort zone, your beat -- sources whose names you know, context and history you know like the back of your hand -- to somewhere between uninformed and totally clueless. Yet you work it out. You take more notes and ask more questions, and if an extra mistake slips into your copy, your editor, who does know the context, the names, the history, catches it before you go to print. 

Well, the Philippine Star's sports editors must have been mailing it in the other night when they let Abac Cordero wade into the world of U.S. politics while covering Manny Pacquiao's tête-à-tête with Barack Obama. Here are a few gems that made it into print:

"Barring any last-minute changes, the highly awaited meeting takes place in the afternoon, after Pacquiao moves around town for a meeting with US Senate Majority Flood Leader Harry Reid."

That would be Floor Leader Harry Reid. Believe me, when the great flood comes to Washington D.C., Harry Reid is not going to be leading the rescue effort.

And then there was this paragraph, which could perhaps have been handled more sensitively: 

"'Manny Pacquiao! Manny Pacquiao! You’re the greatest boxer ever!' said a female fan, probably a Mexican, at the train station that looked like a cathedral from the inside, as she reached out for the boxer’s hand."

We may never know the ethnicity of Manny's fan at the train station, but something about her made the reporter's mind drift south of the border.

Editors! Catch errors or potentially offensive writing and make sure it stays in the newsroom!