Remember that whole “William Rhoden publishes the wrong column” debacle? The Columbia Journalism Review breaks down the entire ordeal nicely, giving credit to The New York Times sports editor Tom Jolly for admitting “We let down readers” and “Simply put, we goofed.”
But the article goes further than that and writer Lauren Kirchner’s take is a smart one: The Times‘ revisionist history opens up a slippery slope, and it’s important they recognize that fact. But, this isn’t the end of journalism as we know it. Rhoden’s mistake wasn’t changing his opinion; it was altering what he wrote without explaining his thought process.
As the CJR posits:
If journalists draw certain conclusions from one set of facts, and the next day presents a new set of facts, and new conclusions, okay. We should examine our views and why they may have changed, in a way that brings our readers into the process. It takes a lot of guts to question yourself and your viewpoints in a public forum. Politicians apparently aren’t allowed to do that. But as for journalists – lucky for us – it’s part of the job.
Hopefully we’ll all be better for going through it all. Hopefully.
(H/T Boston Sports Media)