Credit goes to the Trib for nailing down the story that the Pittsburgh Penguins--not just UPMC--picked up the mayor's tab at the Lemieux Celebrity Invitational charity golf event. My Channel 4 Action News Report is available here.
There's a backstory here that's worth telling.
Back on July 11th, I'd contacted the mayor's office to ask whether the mayor might be reimbursing UPMC. The mayor was on vacation, but a member of his staff e-mailed me his statement, which I included in-full at the close of this blog entry.
Check out the first sentence of the mayor's second paragraph:
"I attended the Foundation Invitational as a guest of two of our region’s greatest assets: the Pittsburgh Penguins and the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center."
At the time, I took the mention of the Penguins as a reference to the Lemieux charity event. We now know the sentence--more than halfway into the mayor's statement--was intended to convey much more: that the Penguins organization had also paid for the Mayor.
A mayor's office staffer told me today she was "surprised we didn't get more questions about that". She said the release had been provided to other reporters as well.
During today's question-and-answer session with the media, the mayor pointed out that the Post-Gazette had already reported on his golfing with the Penguins in a July 6th article.
The PG's reporter tells me, however, he had not taken the information to mean the Penguins had paid for the mayor's first day of golfing. The Trib's reporter had apparently not seen the mayor's July 11th e-mailed statement; he developed his latest story independently.
So, what do we take from all of this? First, there's my embarrassment over the meaning of that second paragraph not jumping out at me. (If a journalist had placed this information in the second paragraph, an editor would have called it "burying the lede".) Second, there's the cold comfort that no other reporter caught it at the time, either. Finally, there's a lesson: just as important questions must be asked precisely, the answers to those questions must be analyzed for their precise meaning.