The front-page article on Feb. 8 about the shooting at a city council meeting in Kirkwood, Mo., included a reference to the state governor that reader Roslyn Lothridge questioned. "I would like to know why you felt it was necessary to write the following: 'Republican Gov. Matt Blunt called the tragedy a "senseless and horrific crime."' Yes it was a horrific crime, but what does Gov. Blunt's choice of his political party have to do with the article? I noticed that you did not point out any one else's political party. What was your point in doing so?"
It’s not the first time a question has been raised on when and why party affiliations are made a part of the story.
Editors think that providing the party affiliation of elected officials is useful for readers. As chief of copy desks Clark Stevens puts it, “Besides the basic information it provides, it gives us uniformity, consistency and, presumably, even-handedness.” But it’s less policy than practice, as Lothridge noted in her e-mail and as other stories show.