Tag Archives: Corrections

* New York Times corrections for June 8, 2015 (

Earlier on “Rex Parker Does the NYT Crossword Puzzle”:
* “I think the right answer is Yes sir, Yes sir. I always thought the questioner starts with BAA, BAA”
* “Good catch. I say, ‘Baa baa black sheep, have you any wool?’ And the sheep responds, ‘Yes sir, yes sir, three bags full…'”

New: “The Times regrets that it has readers for whom this correction is necessary,” and more comments (

Actually, he didn’t say that

Sheriff John Ward denies telling that to the Elizabethtown (KY) News-Enterprise. The correct quote, he says, is that officers go into law enforcement “because they have a desire to serve the community.”

“Nothing was said that even resembles that comment,” Ward writes on the department’s Facebook page. “This interview was conducted with another member of the Hardin County Sheriff’s Office present and there was no part of the interview that mentioned any related comments. I have served in law enforcement for 30 years and have never known any officers that had these motives.”

The paper has retracted the statement, which appeared on today’s front page. It initially called the misquote a typographical error, but the editor now blames it on a production flub. The sheriff says the line change “might have been malicious or intended as a joke.”

Update: Two copy desk staffers – 23 and 32 years old – have been fired, I’m told. One wrote the “shoot minorities” line on the page proof as a joke and the second – in charge of the front page – put it in the story. One worked at the paper for about six years, the other less than a year.

Update 2: Editor Ben Sheroan writes: “A function and process designed to rid the news pages of error instead added a terrible one that altered the reporter’s original sentence. No reasonable excuse can exist.”

* Kentucky newspaper retracts “major error” in police story (
* Editor: Error should not have happened (
* Apology not accepted by many in the News-Enterprise comments section (
* “There was no part of the interview that mentioned shooting any person” (

From the Detroit Free Press:

* Burlesque artist Roxi D’Lite talks about Theatre Bizarre (freep)

– Image via @ErickTrickey

The Madison Capital Times apologized Saturday after posting a story based on a prank press release about Rep. Paul Ryan and other Wisconsin Republicans pressuring the Smithsonian to remove posters from last year’s protests at the state Capitol from its archives. The Capital-Times reports:

The story was based on a news release that purportedly came from [Republican Rep. Steve] Nass’ office, but was in fact fabricated by Madison labor cartoonist Mike Konopacki. He has drawn editorial cartoons for The Capital Times for many years on a freelance basis and he sent the fake release to a staff member who then forwarded it to Associate Editor John Nichols, who wrote the story.

The Capital Times says Nichols started to have doubts about the story when sources said they hadn’t heard about the release. He told editors to hold the piece, but they had already posted it. The story was removed after being online for about 40 minutes.

In the release and Cap Times story, Ryan was quoted saying, “Look, you can’t be displaying and archiving art that celebrates protests that were heavily aimed at Republicans, and then expect that Republicans are going to smile nicely and sit down and try and work with the Smithsonian.”

Konopacki, who created his news release with Photoshop, “is apologetic about the confusion it created,” and that Capital Times “regrets its publication, even for a brief amount of time.”

* Capital Times spikes story based on fabricated news release

Veteran sports journalist Jason Whitlock reached out to Devon Edwards late Saturday night after the Penn State student resigned as managing editor of Onward State for reporting that Joe Paterno had died.

“Can’t express how proud I am of the way you handled your mistake. You have the integrity to be an awesome journalist,” Whitlock wrote in one tweet. He said in another: “@Devon2012 please keep me in the loop on if u need assistance getting established in the business.”

“Thanks, Jason,” the student replied. “I really appreciate the kind words.”

A preacher from Culpepper, Virginia, told Edwards in a tweet: “You made a mistake. It happens. You owned up to it. That almost never happens. That’s ok in my book.”

Preacher Adam Shellenbarger< added: “Actually, your situation tonight lends itself perfectly for my sermon tomorrow. I’ll give you tons of praise. May I use it?”

“Go for it,” tweeted Edwards.

Edwards declined my interview request this morning. He wrote in an email:

Thanks for reaching, but right now, I’m just going to stay quiet and try and let this whole thing blow over. I appreciate you approaching me to tell my side of the story, but I think the statement on Facebook and our site says all that I could and would like to at this time.

* Earlier: Onward State managing editor resigns after incorrect Paterno report
* Onward State managing editor posts resignation letter on Facebook
* apologizes to Paterno family for incorrect report

* Onward State managing editor resigns: “I would like to issue a retraction of our earlier tweets.” Devon Edwards continues:

I never, in a million years, would have thought that Onward State would be cited by the national media, and today, I sincerely wish it never had been. To all those who read and passed along our reports, I sincerely apologize for misleading you. To the Penn State community and to the Paterno family most of all, I could not be more sorry for the emotional anguish I am sure we caused. There are no excuses for what we did. We all make mistakes, but it’s impossible to brush off one of this magnitude. Right now, we deserve all of the criticism headed our way. || The statement continues.

FROM EDWARDS’ ONWARD STATE BIO: “Devon is a senior majoring in sociology and political science, and is Onward State’s managing editor for the spring of 2012. Devon joined Onward State in January of 2011, after a lengthy stay in the comment section.”

* Read reactions to the error: Comments from Onward State’s Facebook page

* ShortFormBlog: “CBS Sports’ original report on Joe Paterno’s death failed to source Penn State student-run blog Onward State.”

Greg Wyshynski (@wyshynski), editor of Yahoo Sports! Puck Daddy blog: “I think this is 1 of those times when revealing details will be essential. Apology’s nice; now why did it happen?”

Jim Brady (@jimbradysp): “Certainly a terrible screwup on the part of @onwardstate. But impressed with the honesty and decisiveness of that Facebook note. Good model.”

Joe Flint (@JBFlint) of Los Angeles Times: “Definition of sad: Website that supposedly covers Hollywood going after hits with Paterno news. Can’t wrap my head around that one.” (Referring to The Wrap, Joe?)

Carl Lavin (@FromCarl): “Another national media site, @MarketWatch, has failed to tweet anything about Paterno since sending out wrong info (attributed to ‘report’).”

Chris Jones (@MySecondEmpire): “A good night for me to repeat one of my probably wrong-headed beliefs: Readers remember the best story, not the first story.”

Kathryn Quigley (@WriterChickNJ), journalism professor: “Dear #journalism students: “Be Accountable” is part of the SPJ Ethics Code. @OnwardState did that tonight and that is commendable.”

An article on Monday about Jack Robison and Kirsten Lindsmith, two college students with Asperger syndrome who are navigating the perils of an intimate relationship, misidentified the character from the animated children’s TV show “My Little Pony” that Ms. Lindsmith said she visualized to cheer herself up. It is Twilight Sparkle, the nerdy intellectual, not Fluttershy, the kind animal lover.

Twilight Sparkle

New York Times corrections, December 30

I asked Amy Harmon, author of “Navigating Love and Autism,” about the correction that’s gone viral. Her story:

My little pony problem came to our attention through multiple channels. One was a call to the reader comment line, prompting the clerk who checks those messages to send this email to an editor who handles corrections:

–From the story “Navigating Love and Autism” by Amy Harmon, 12/26

On page 6 of the web version there is a “nerdy intellectual character” referenced from the My Little Pony TV series named Fluttershy. A reader seems quite convinced that the character Twilight Sparkle fits that description more so than Fluttershy.

That is all.

When I got the email, with a request to check it out, I had just spoken to the young woman in my story, Kirsten Lindsmith, about the mix-up. Kirsten did not formally request a correction — it came up as we debriefed on the broader response to the story. But the passage was clearly unsettling for someone with her penchant for both Ponies and accuracy. (In a way it looked like SHE had been confused, which I worried would cause other pony devotees in her online forums to give her grief.) I had also received email from a reader that was generally positive — he had autism too, and hoped to have a romantic life of his own, he said — but which pointed me to the Wiki pages for Twilight Sparkle and Fluttershy. “I hope this will help you to understand,” he wrote.

Amy Harmon

Yes, I knew the correction was funny, on some level. We even tried, a little bit, to maximize its entertainment value in the way we worded it. The editor who helped me did predict that it would earn a place in the correction hall of fame. But I have to say I’ve been surprised at the extent of the reaction, especially the comments – well-meaning as they are — that imply we went above and beyond in making it. “Perhaps the reporter has undiagnosed Asperger’s,’’ someone wrote in a Facebook comment forwarded to me by an amused friend.

The Times’ rule is, we correct anything that is wrong, no matter how small or seemingly silly. And I don’t know any of my colleagues who would want to do differently. I hate to get any detail wrong, and when I do, I often have a moment of fantasizing about just letting it slip. But as I sat there that morning, kicking myself for a relatively small mistake that marred a story I had poured my heart into, it seemed so much worse to let it stand. Not correcting it would have undermined the credibility of the other 5,011 words of the story – at least for “My Little Pony” fans. And I think we have seen now that they are not an obsessive subculture to be taken lightly.

Another part of the Times’ corrections policy, which arose after the awfulness of Jayson Blair, is that each correction is entered in a tracking system that includes who was responsible, and an explanation of how the error came to be.

So in case you were wondering, it was my fault, and this is what happened:


I was accompanying Kirsten to school, taking notes on my laptop as she drove. She was listening to music on her iPod known to Pony fans as “dubtrot,” — a take-off on “dubstep,’’ get it? – in which fans remix songs and dialogue from the show with electronic dance music. Anyway. The song features Fluttershy exclaiming “yay,’’ which I wrote down. Then Kirsten told me that in the Pony universe, the seasons do not change on their own. She talked animatedly about one episode in which the ponies do “winter wrap-up,’’ bringing back the birds that had migrated, clearing away the clouds.

I remember thinking the manual season-changing was a metaphor for people with autism, for whom the social interactions that come naturally to many of us have to be consciously learned. (This seemed way too tortured when it came time to write.) Twilight Sparkle had a big role in that episode, and it was then that our conversation then shifted to her nerdy intellectual personality. But I never wrote down her name. I did run the sentence I ended up with by Kirsten, but it was one of a million things I was checking with her over the course of several drafts, largely by email. I failed to adequately flag it, and she was understandably focused on the other details, many of them deeply personal, that she was choosing to share.

I truly regret the error.


* The best New York Times correction ever