NJ Admits Error in Judgment

NJ has admitted an error it made last week in a story about a President Obama proposal to shut down two national labs. The proposal shuts down parts of the two labs. The publication has a policy in place that a note must accompany all major corrections. That didn’t happen. The story simply changed. After FishbowlDC approached the publication, they attached a formal correction to the story and offered a quote from Editor-in-Chief Ron Fournier.

“National Journal has an unequivocal policy of correcting mistakes immediately and transparently on all platforms that carry the error, and that includes informing our readers that a correction has been made,” Fournier said through a spokeswoman. “We didn’t follow that policy last week, regrettably, and that is my fault. We’ve addressed it now, and it will serve as a reminder to our team that accuracy and accountability are the foundation of the NJ newsroom.”

The story now has this correction underneath it: CORRECTION: This version of the story makes clear that President Obama’s proposed 2012 budget for the Energy Department shutters parts of two national labs.

When the story broke Friday, NJ took a big victory lap. They sent out a blast email, saying, “EXCLUSIVE: Obama Energy Budget Closes Two Nat’l Labs. . . .”  Fournier tweeted: “So damn proud of this team: http://www.nationaljournal.com/” (To be fair, he could have been tweeting about the day’s or week’s worth of stories, not just this story.)

Another detail: Fermi is the one in Illinois and Oak Ridge is in the one in Tennessee.  Oops!  That mistake has also been fixed. They were flipped in the original version.