Journalism and the Washington Times

Kevin Drum with an interesting memo sent to the staff of the Washington Times. Heavy stuff indeed.

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.

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.