Off the Record

When he was getting started as a reporter, Jack Patrick O’Gilfoil Healy didn’t think much about his byline. He signed his work “Pat Healy,” the name he went by; sometimes, he went with the more formal “Patrick Healy.”

“I think Patrick and Pat are more or less the same,” said Mr. Healy, who is now an intermediate reporter for The New York Times, covering Long Island out of the Garden City office.

But in 2002, his junior year in college, Mr. Healy applied for a summer internship at The Boston Globe. When he went there to interview, he said, the paper made a point of introducing him to its up-and-coming education reporter-one Patrick Healy.

Both Mr. Healys were in the process of making names for themselves. The Globe’s Patrick Healy was a 2002 Pulitzer finalist for beat reporting; the University of Missouri’s Patrick Healy won the 2002 Hearst collegiate prize for writing.

Seniority settled the issue. So after he landed the summer job, the younger Mr. Healy became “Jack Healy” in the pages of The Globe. And the elder Mr. Healy was assigned to mentor him during his internship-”a cup of coffee at noon and ‘How’s everything going?’” the younger Mr. Healy explained.

“Pat is a phenomenal reporter and writer,” the junior Pat said. “I really admire his work.”

At summer’s end, Jack Healy returned to school and reclaimed his old name for his final year. When he graduated in 2003, The Times offered him an internship, followed by his current three-year reporting job.

Within a month, Mr. Healy said, he heard rumors that The Times was courting his old mentor. It was, he said, “one of those things I didn’t want to have to worry about.”

Late last year, though, word came that The Globe’s Mr. Healy was on his way. “We’ll have to work out that byline thing,” Metro editor Susan Edgerley wrote in the November memo announcing the hire.

In an e-mail, Times spokeswoman Catherine Mathis explained that, unlike the Screen Actors Guild or the Jockey Club, the paper has no formal policy for handling duplicate names-”but good sense suggests that when we have two writers with similar names, we should make it as easy as possible for readers to tell them apart.”

That’s why tax-beat reporter David Cay Johnston, like David Hyde Pierce, has a middle name, Ms. Mathis wrote: David Johnston, who covers law-enforcement agencies for the Washington bureau, had gotten there first.

Historically, according to Ms. Mathis, the paper has asked newcomers to be the ones to change their bylines. But in the case of the Healys, seniority had to make allowances for fame. For The Globe’s Mr. Healy, Ms. Mathis wrote in an e-mail, “his recognizable byline was an asset not only to him but to us.”

The elder Mr. Healy, who will be covering Albany, opted to add a “D” as his middle initial. “We were both concerned about clarity, as much in-house as for readers,” Patrick D. Healy said.

The younger Mr. Healy said he “thought about going [with] everything from ‘Jack Healy’ to ‘Patrick X.’”

Eventually, he said, “I decided that getting rid of the Patrick altogether would be a bit too confusing and would require even more explanation than this already has.” So he switched to “Patrick O’Gilfoil Healy”-O’Gilfoil being his grandmother’s maiden name.

“The trick was to try to differentiate but not completely confuse people,” he said.

Good luck! Despite the name change, the automated switchboard at The Times last week was dumping phone calls for both Mr. Healys into Patrick D. Healy’s voicemail. A live Times operator, specifically asked for Patrick O’Gilfoil Healy, again sent the call to Patrick D. Healy’s desk.

“I thought it would take you another week or so,” Mr. O’Gilfoil Healy said, after being initially reached by e-mail.

And though Patrick D. Healy could get stray calls from Nassau County officials, the confusion ends at the payroll department. The Times has assured the two, Mr. O’Gilfoil Healy said, that checks are sorted by Social Security number, not name.

Other cross-ups predate Patrick D. Healy’s arrival. Though his Long Island beat has nothing to do with higher education, Mr. O’Gilfoil Healy said, “I’ve been getting regular press releases from Barnard in my in-box since I got to The Times.”

And when Patrick D. Healy’s Boston Globe work made the Pulitzer finals, Mr. O’Gilfoil Healy recalls, “I got a few e-mails from people I know in high school.” He had to deflate his would-be congratulators. “It wasn’t me,” he said. “It was the good Patrick Healy.”

Deet … deet … deet … DOOT! The long-virtual Radar magazine took another big step toward the actual this week, moving into new, permanent offices.

“Everything is in boxes now,” editor Maer Roshan said on the phone Tuesday, as he awaited the moving truck.

Three months ago, Mortimer Zuckerman and Jeffrey Epstein had finally flicked the switch for Mr. Roshan’s on-again, off-again start-up to “on,” reportedlyputtingupas much as $25 million for the near-dormant operation.

And now-after two months in temporary quarters with Hanft Unlimited on Hudson Street, plus a week’s extra delay while the phone company got the lines straightened out- Radar was getting its own home. The offices are on the top floor, the 12th (” Radar’s penthouse office,” Mr. Roshan said) of 28 West 23rd Street, a short hop from The Observer’s own new location. (Call it Half-Midtown!)

“We could have moved in [a week ago],” Mr. Roshan said, “but we thought, ‘What’s the use without a phone?’”

To go with the real estate, Mr. Roshan said, he now has the masthead mostly in place: Chris Knutsen, formerly of GQ, is deputy editor; Andrew Lee is executive editor; Hanya Yanagihara is articles editor; Andrew Goldman and Mim Udovich are editors at large; and Chris Tennant is senior editor.

Mr. Tennant is going to be in charge of putting up daily content on the magazine’s Web site, Mr. Roshan said-a “way to keep us sharp” while the magazine gets started, in May, as a bimonthly. The plan, Mr. Roshan said, is to go monthly in 2006.

Mr. Roshan rang off to attend to his moving. A few hours later, he called back to report on the new space. “It looks great,” he said. “It’s completely exciting.”

What color is the carpet? Gray, Mr. Roshan said. “It’s not I.M. Pei–designed.” But it is, he added enthusiastically, “better than working out of my living room.”

The turn of the 90′s is a tough subject for historians of rock music. What would become identifiable genres or market niches over the next few years-”alternarock,” “indie,” “grunge” et al.-were embryonic and imperfectly differentiated. You could find the Jesus and Mary Chain shelved under “folk rock.” MTV didn’t have a handle on it; Rolling Stone really didn’t have a handle on it. Events that would change music history were being spread by word of mouth, cassette and the Trouser Press Record Guide.

So it’s not surprising that The New Yorker’s Sasha Frere-Jones ran into some trouble with his review, in the Jan. 17 issue, of concerts by aging acts from that era. Is it quite right, for instance, to say that R.E.M. “entered the mainstream with the 1991 hit ‘Losing My Religion’”? The edges of the mainstream were a little blurry back then, but The New York Times had covered a sold-out R.E.M. show at Madison Square Garden two years earlier, part of a nationwide arena tour. And the band already had a pair of Top 10 hits, the first in 1987.

Mr. Frere-Jones’ piece raised plenty of other debatable claims: The Pixies, he wrote, “never made a bad record”-well, maybe, but the set list on the band’s reunion tour flinched away from its last two albums. He also condemned the Pixies’ early videos as “almost unwatchable,” which is more or less like saying Public Enemy never wrote a good love song.

But some historical statements are factually checkable: “Now [the Pixies] look like science teachers, and seem more at home in their geeky, aggressively strange songs,” Mr. Frere-Jones reported. “Frank Black is fat, and, from the mezzanine at least, he looked bald.”

“Now”? “From the mezzanine”? Perhaps if the band had made more watchable videos, Mr. Frere-Jones might have gotten a better look at them their first time around. For the benefit of the critic-and The New Yorker’s fabled fact-checking desk-Off the Record presents a publicity photo of the youthful Mr. Black (then going by the name Black Francis). He’s the one on the left: