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“Sorry About the Inadvertent Promotion”

Chris Smith’s error in NY Mag piece predicts the future
December 1, 2010

In January, Chris Smith wrote a feature for New York Magazine on the “essential, if appealing, weirdness” of David Paterson. In one instance, he mistakenly refers to Paterson’s press secretary Marissa Shorenstein as “communications director.” Shorenstein’s boss, Peter Kauffmann, held that title.

When Smith sent a copy of his finished piece to Shorenstein, she noted the error, calling it “One minor thing to you—but a big thing to me,” and requested that he correct it for the online version “for reasons which I am sure you will understand.”

Smith assured her that the correction would be made, and then wrote back,

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Shorenstein’s correction was prescient: just two months later, Kauffmann resigned his post amidst scandals in the Paterson administration over aide David Johnson’s domestic violence charges and Paterson’s improper receipt of World Series tickets from the New York Yankees. When Kaufmann stepped down, Shorenstein took over as communications director.

(That position didn’t last, though; Shorenstein also quit within weeks. She was later hired by Andrew Cuomo’s campaign for governor, to be his director of communications.)

Lauren Kirchner is a freelance writer covering digital security for CJR. Find her on Twitter at @lkirchner