If it can happen on “This American Life,” it can and probably does happen elsewhere, in little ways as well as fundamental ways, with debilitating frequency. …
If there is any good that will come from the retraction of the “This American Life” story, it is the way Ira Glass and company are handling it. Instead of an Emily Litella-style “never mind,” they have said they will devote an entire hour to exploring what happened and why, including an interview with the author of the piece, Mike Daisey, on why he misled “This American Life” fact-checkers.
What’s the story behind the Washington Post’s “best correction ever”? Michel du Cille, the Post’s director of photography, tells Romenesko readers:
Very simply, we messed up. This was a terrible error that occurred while on deadline. We took an image from an event related to the signing of the Maryland law legalizing same sex marriage. Since the name was the same we should have made an ever greater attempt to ensure that the correct Barbara Johnson was pictured.
The New York Post declared this week that “Pinterest is the new Facebook,” and used the photo on the right to illustrate its story. The credit line said, “Courtesy Tory Burch via Pinterest.”
Actually, the photo was taken by Leela Cyd, and here’s an excerpt of the letter she’s sent to the tabloid:
The reason I’m writing … is to let you know you’ve used my photograph to illustrate your story without proper photo crediting. That’s my image up there, of Samantha Hutchinson of the very popular lifestyle blog, Could I Have That?. The picture was created for Tory Burch’s blog, which was pinned as such by over 500 people, without crediting.
It is this notion of losing photo credit that makes Pinterest so incredibly frustrating and heart-breaking to us photographers and makers of original content. People pin images I’ve taken all the time without proper crediting. It’s not a new issue, but it is a new medium that has busted the digital media world wide open. …
I do not take pictures for fun. I create photographs for a living. I work hard as a photographer as I’m sure you do as a writer — How would you like it if someone reposted your story exactly and credited as simply “NYPost.com”?
“‘This American Life’ will devote its entire program this weekend to detailing the errors in the story, which was an excerpt of Mike Daisey’s critically acclaimed one-man show, ‘The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs.'” — From a “This American Life” press release
Here’s what Mike Daisey writes on his blog:
I stand by my work. My show is a theatrical piece whose goal is to create a human connection between our gorgeous devices and the brutal circumstances from which they emerge. It uses a combination of fact, memoir, and dramatic license to tell its story, and I believe it does so with integrity. Certainly, the comprehensive investigations undertaken by The New York Times and a number of labor rights groups to document conditions in electronics manufacturing would seem to bear this out.
What I do is not journalism. The tools of the theater are not the same as the tools of journalism. For this reason, I regret that I allowed THIS AMERICAN LIFE to air an excerpt from my monologue. THIS AMERICAN LIFE is essentially a journalistic - not a theatrical - enterprise, and as such it operates under a different set of rules and expectations. But this is my only regret. I am proud that my work seems to have sparked a growing storm of attention and concern over the often appalling conditions under which many of the high-tech products we love so much are assembled in China.
THE PRESS RELEASE IS AFTER THE JUMP:
* AJR: Whom should journalists inform first when they have a big story — editors or Twitter followers? (AJR.org)
* Spokesman-Review columnist blasts newspapers — including his own — for not running this week’s “Doonesbury.” (Spokesman.com)
* College newspaper reports hundreds of copies stolen; issue had health violations story. (Providence Journal)
* Grand Forks Herald believes Marilyn Hagerty’s Olive Garden review has received over a million page views. (AdAge.com)
* No surprise that Greg Packer was first in line for the new iPad — and gets covered by PC Magazine. (PCMag.com)
From ED MURRIETA, food writer: Your recent post on newspapers moving away from star ratings for restaurant reviews got me thinking about an old issue I’ve long chewed upon: anonymity of restaurant critics.
My beef boils down to this: What other reporter in a respectable news organization would be allowed to work undercover, using fake names to make reservations, fake-name credit cards to pay the bills and generally not disclosing their journalistic intentions to the subjects of their reporting?
I understand the argument that an anonymous critic is less likely to be fawned over and receive better food and service than an openly recognized critic. But the obfuscations and gastronomic gamesmanship equal deceit, and that’s not journalistically sound or moral.
Besides, as every hostess and line cook will tell you: restaurants know who the critic is.
It’s time to end the charade.
INVESTIGATIVE REPORTING: Danny Hakim and Russell Buettner for “Abused and Used.”
BREAKING NEWS: The Arizona Republic for “Tucson Tragedy.”
PUBLIC SERVICE REPORTING: California Watch and The Center for Investigative Reporting for “On Shaky Ground.”
EDITORIAL WRITING: Jamie Lucke of the Lexington Herald-Leader for editorials that took on Kentucky’s powerful coal industry.
COMMENTARY: Brian McGrory of The Boston Globe for “thought-provoking columns about big events and small moments.”
HUMAN INTEREST WRITING: Corinne Reilly of The Virginian-Pilot for “A Chance in Hell.”
ENVIRONMENTAL REPORTING: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette for “Pipeline.”
WASHINGTON REPORTING: Damian Paletta of The Wall Street Journal for “Disabled System.”
EDITORIAL CARTOONING: Jack Ohman of The Oregonian “for multi-panel cartoons that addressed national issues from a local perspective.”
PHOTOJOURNALISM: Lara Solt of The Dallas Morning News for a portfolio that included the features “Hell and Hope: Haiti’s Orphans,” and “An Unending Battle: A Military Family’s Struggle with Traumatic Brain Injury.”
BUSINESS/ECONOMICS REPORTING: Paul Kiel and Olga Pierce of ProPublica for exposing the crushing failure of industry and government responses to the foreclosure crisis.
COMMUNITY JOURNALISM: Sara Ganim and the staff of The Patriot-News for “Jerry Sandusky and Penn State.”
RADIO IN-DEPTH REPORTING: Dan Grech and Kenny Malone of WLRN-Miami Herald News for “Neglected to Death.”
TELEVISION/CABLE IN-DEPTH REPORTING: Jazeera English for “Bahrain: Shouting in the Dark.”
DISTINGUISHED SERVICE TO THE FIRST AMENDMENT: Jonathan Austin and Susan Austin of the Yancey County News, Burnsville, N.C., for “Unlawful Law Enforcement.”
JOURNALISM AND MASS COMMUNICATION ADMINISTRATOR OF THE YEAR: Medill dean John Lavine.
JOURNALISM AND MASS COMMUNICATION TEACHER OF THE YEAR: Douglas B. Ward of the William Allen White School of Journalism and Mass Communications, University of Kansas.
Philadelphia Inquirer editor Stan Wischnowski says of the “painful” layoffs announced Thursday:
The cold reality of all this is that it’s all about economics and no reflection whatsoever on the quality of work of these outstanding journalists. But our work continues, and the only way we can honor those who are no longer with us is to keep producing high-caliber journalism that our readers expect and deserve.
It was also announced on Thursday that Philadelphia Daily News cartoonist Signe Wilkinson will draw three cartoons a week for the Inquirer, on top of five for the Daily News. The Inky’s longtime cartoonist, Tony Auth, recently announced he’s leaving the paper.