Correcting the Past

Posted on 03. Dec, 2009 by in Uncategorized

Greg Brock, Senior Editor of Standards with the New York Times is responsible for corrections at the paper. Since the advent of Google, he has seen a new wave of requests as accessibility to older articles increases. Where before a searcher would have to comb microfiche or old copies of the Times, now a simple online search will bring up a laundry list of articles on a person or subject. Brock explains scenarios in which Google has lead to interesting requests from readers.

Here Brock gives an example of how updates in crime stories can affect their subjects:

[audio:http://cdn.journalism.cuny.edu/blogs.dir/87/files/2009/12/Greg-Brock-Audio-4_1-2.mp3]

Brock went on to explain that in cases such as these, if the subject can provide legal documentation that they were exonerated, the Times will update their archives and issue a correction to help prevent misinformation that comes about from internet searches.

Click hear to Brock tell a story about a woman who requested a correction to her wedding announcement from the 1980s:

[audio:http://cdn.journalism.cuny.edu/blogs.dir/87/files/2009/12/Greg-Brock-Audio-1_1-2.mp3]

Here Brock tells the story of a woman who regretting revealing her clothing size in a Style piece:

[audio:http://cdn.journalism.cuny.edu/blogs.dir/87/files/2009/12/Greg-Brock-Audio-2_1-2.mp3]

In this case, The Times was able to track down the reporter’s notebooks from the interview and verify the information she provided for the article.

Brock also gets readers who take pleasure in correcting the simplest mistakes. Listen below to hear him discuss a baseball fan’s dilemma:

[audio:http://cdn.journalism.cuny.edu/blogs.dir/87/files/2009/12/Greg-Brock-Audio-3_1-2.mp3]

The answer, in case you were wondering, is that the Yankees sell the most hotdogs.

Brock said he is considering starting a Corrections blog on the Times website to share stories like these with the public and the Times’ regular readers.

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