Defending the Magpie

I caught the recent Exponent articles on the Horner marriage (Regents Professor Horner Marries Palentology Student, Why We’re Covering Horner’s Marriage, Feb. 2), and I commend your staff for boldly printing the story. Kudos, it takes guts to run a paper that isn’t fluff, and your crew did something that the Chronicle wouldn’t dare: published a damaging article about this local celebrity.

Make no mistake, even a straight-laced telling like the Exponent’s is damaging.

Speaking of which, I wanted to address your concerns voiced in the Editor’s Desk piece. Since we broke the story on Jan. 23, I assume you were talking about the Magpie when you mentioned “various online news outlets have reported inaccurate information.”  I wrote the Magpie article, and I just wanted to take a moment to go point-by-point through my sixty-ish words:

The Exponent presented the same facts reported in the Magpie regarding time-frame, location, names, ages and Horner’s titles within the MSU organization. With one large exception, that’s all that I printed in my piece. But that exception is a big one, isn’t it? What I’m talking about, of course, was Weaver’s status at the paleontological lab in the Museum of the Rockies. My source in describing her as an “intern”? The new Mrs. Horner. As of the day we posted, Weaver listed herself under her employers on Facebook as “Horner Paleo Lab, Intern.”

It’s a critical point because the rules on interns are almost certainly defined more clearly, and it conveys a serious abuse of power. It’s obvious that MSU, the MOR, the Chronicle and a bunch of people around town would be content if that little tidbit just went away, so they’re all doing the “Revisionist History” dance.

I am really glad the Exponent ran the article—it’s newsworthy, absolutely.


Editor, Bozeman Magpie