The Daily Star, Oneonta, NY - otsego county news, delaware county news, oneonta news, oneonta sports


January 10, 2009

Amid errors, committing to credibility

Sometimes, we screw up. Sure, everybody does, but not as obviously as a newspaper.

What makes me proud, despite our indisputable imperfection, is that I don’t know any other industry that so publicly acknowledges its foibles and tries to correct its mistakes.

The press is the only profession expressly protected in the Constitution. But with that comes a tremendous responsibility. It has become my custom to devote one of my first columns each year to acknowledging the miscues of the previous 12 months.

And a fine custom it is, too.

In 2008, The Daily Star ran 174 corrections, an eerily similar number to the 176 we published in 2007. To give a bit of perspective, we ran 202 in 2006, and 155 the previous year.

Most by far have been our fault, with the rest caused by inaccurate information in interviews or media releases.

And, as I acknowledge each year, these are only the mistakes we know about. There is no question that we made many more that weren’t brought to our attention.

In comparison with some past years in which some of our errors were painfully embarrassing, humorous or almost inexplicable, 2008’s corrections were fairly mundane.

Primarily, we misspelled some names, got some dates for events wrong, left out some relevant information and did some faulty math when dealing with statistics. While these are all things that can drive editors to drink, they were all honest mistakes and not the result of any preconceived prejudice or animus.

I know there are folks who will never believe that, and they are privileged to believe what they want.

But here’s the most compelling argument I can employ to make my point.

There’s a plethora of 24-hour cable networks offering news, sports, weather, business and all sorts of other things previous generations received from newspapers and in half-hour telecasts from CBS, NBC and ABC.

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