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Posts Tagged ‘John McIntyre’

When news organizations correct errors, we should not mislead readers.

That sounds like an obvious statement, but it’s actually the topic of a debate on Twitter that I’ve joined today. I should preface this by noting that the people I’m arguing this topic with are friends and outstanding journalists whom I respect. But they are wrong about this.

Here’s the situation: When newspapers (and perhaps other news organizations) correct errors, we tend not to place blame. But when an editor adds an error to a reporter’s story, the correction misleads, implying to any readers who read bylines that the reporter erred. The correction is also misleading to sources, who usually know who the writer was and regularly make decisions about whether and how much to trust reporters.

On its surface, this feels like a journalists’ argument about how many angels (or perhaps devils, in this case) can dance on the head of a pin. Good friends have dismissed my suggestion on Twitter today as “finger-pointing.”

But when you take a phone call from an angry son whose living father was identified by an editor’s insertion into your story as “the late,” you see that this is not a trivial matter and it’s not about finger-pointing. It’s about accuracy. And responsibility. And accountability. (more…)

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Update: The Wall Street Journal sent an email news alert at 6:37 Monday with this subject: “WSJ NEWS ALERT: WSJ/NBC News Poll Finds Voters Deeply Torn.”

The text:

A new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll has found an electorate that is convinced the country’s economic structures favor an affluent elite and is still deeply torn as to whether President Barack Obama or any of his leading Republican rivals can pull the nation out of decline.

In case you want to read more (and I can’t imagine why you would), a link takes you to the Journal story: Poll Finds Voters Deeply Torn.

We can disagree about whether these polls stating the obvious merit “news alerts.” But there’s no question the Post kicked the Journal’s ass on the story, whatever its value.

Picking up my original post: When I awoke this morning and checked my email, I saw a news alert from the Washington Post:

Really? A poll that reveals nothing new and just confirms what everyone knows about the country’s mood deserves a news alert? At 12:18 a.m.?

In the ensuing discussion, at least a couple people thought I was commenting on a tweet from the Post. I was commenting on the email news alert, but the Post did tweet the news at about the same time: (more…)

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