Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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April 19, 2004
By: Kevin Drum

JOURNALISM 101 AND THE WASHINGTON TIMES....I'm with Nick: it's hard to believe that a major metro daily that's been in business for over 20 years would need to send out an email like this to its staff:

To: Everyone in the newsroom
From: The Managing Editor
Re: Corrections in the newspaper

This newspaper has an obligation to its reader to run corrections when we make a mistake. We need to hold ourselves to the same high standards that we expect of those we cover. I thought this point was made very clear by the senior editors at our last editorial retreat, but apparently I was mistaken.

Now our newspaper is the subject of ridicule in this week's City Paper for failure to correct some very obvious mistakes we made.

....All mistakes require corrections. If you have a question about what constitutes a correction, ask your desk editor or ask me or ask the senior editor in charge at that particular time.

But you have to scroll down for the kicker:

Desk editors, to repeat what you were told at the retreat: You must keep a record of all corrections, including the reporter and editor involved, and how the mistake was made. This log should be used in preparing annual personnel reviews....Too many corrections from any reporter or editor will have employment consequences.

Management 101 hint: telling your staff that they will be fired if they fess up to too many mistakes is not the best way of getting them to fess up to mistakes. Not in the very same memo, anyway.

Unless that was the whole point, of course.

Kevin Drum 3:44 PM Permalink | Trackbacks

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