Spelling names correctly is important because a person typically sees his name as part of his identity. If his name is spelled incorrectly, he may feel disrespected. In certain situations, such as a professional email or a news story, a misspelled name appears unprofessional.
Names are often misspelled because the writer doesn't double check the spelling and instead writes it from memory or assumes it has a traditional spelling. Another common mistake is using a similar sounding but incorrect name. For example, Osama bin Laden was incorrectly called "Obama" in certain news stories about his death.
When a news story has a misspelled name, a correction is usually issued once the newspaper finds out about the error. However, in online stories the writer may fix the name without writing a correction. This can damage the writer's credibility, as it appears that he's trying to cover a mistake.
In professional communication, a misspelled name can give the impression that the writer lacks attention to detail. This can negatively affect the writer's potential business relationships.
Accuracy checklists are used by journalists to verify information, including the spelling of names, before submitting a story. Using these checklists also creates the habit of being accurate. Editors also verify that journalists have spelled names correctly.