Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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February 18, 2003
By: Kevin Drum

SLIPPERY EDITING AT THE LOS ANGELES TIMES.... CenterLine is a proposed light rail system for Orange County that's been in the planning stages pretty much forever. Here is today's headline about the project in the print edition of the LA Times:

Inflation Does Number
On CenterLine Costs

The 11-mile light rail system is now estimated at more than $1.5 billion with only half the ridership originally projected, new figures show.

Imagine my surprise. This could be a permanent headline for this project.

But what is surprising is that the headline is completely different in the online edition:

Fewer Riders Expected
For Rail Project

The scaled-back Orange County CenterLine will have half the users originally projected, officials say. Estimated cost hits $1.5 billion.

I checked all the other headlines from the front page of the Orange County section of the paper and there were virtually no changes at all. The changes that were there were obviously due to column width restrictions in the print edition and had no effect on the meaning of the headline. Only this one was completely rewritten.

And even stranger is this: the CenterLine story was the top story of the day in the local Orange County section. But on the LA Times website it's nowhere to be found, either in the Orange County section or the generic California section. Every other front page story is prominently displayed. I had to do a keyword search to find it.

This is the second time I've noticed some slippery editing regarding CenterLine at the Times. What the heck is going on?

Kevin Drum 3:35 PM Permalink | Trackbacks

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