Updates and corrections

We applaud this simple acknowledgement of reality from MSNBC's new ombudsman (the term is gender-neutral), Dan Fisher:

Speed is one issue that Fisher thinks will crop up on his watch. “The stories in MSNBC may change 10–15 times in the course of a day, and some of the early versions are pretty sketchy. You and I may be used to that kind of updating that you see from the wire services or from radio news, but I’m not sure how readers will react if they see those incomplete reports and they only check in once a week.”

We're not sure entire policies should be developed to accommodate unnatural behaviour like reading an ongoing news story exactly once and complaining about its incompleteness. Isn't this like picketing The Last Temptation of Christ without seeing it first?

At any rate, we do note a distinction between policies about corrected errors (NUblog passim) and ongoing updating. It seems OK not to explicitly note updates and additions, except that the disposition of facts now known to be untrue that were believed true when previously published must still be documented. If the politician never actually was convicted of spousal abuse, then say so, even if what you found out at the same time was that she compared preoperative wristbands (if nothing else) with Walter Carlos before obtaining gender-reassignment surgery in ’79. If that is relevant.

Posted on 2001-08-17