On January 31, the Washington Post ran Media outlets choke on Heimlich obituaries by Erik Wemple about my string of successful requests for published corrections for errors in obituaries about my father.
He suggested that the corrections/amendments I got "from some of the biggest names in the news business, over a single news topic" may be a record.
Needless to say, journalists can be reluctant to publish corrections, therefore I was impressed by the professionalism and courtesy I experienced at most of those news outlets.
Then there's the New York Times.
Robert D. McFadden's December 17, 2016 Times obituary about my father included some factual errors along with what I considered to be some reportorial errors.
In response to polite, thoroughly-documented inquiries and my patient follow-ups that dragged on for weeks, I got the bum's rush, first from standards editor Greg Brock and then from public editor Liz Spayd, both of whom refused to discuss any of the facts. They both just told me to take a hike.
So I hiked over to Mr. Wemple at the Post.
After he followed up on my behalf, Mr. Brock was shamed into doing his job -- at least part of it.
That is, the Times published one correction, but failed to address another factual error as well as some reportorial concerns I brought to their attention.
According to the paper’s Guidelines on Integrity:
Reporters, editors, photographers and all members of the news staff of The New York Times share a common and essential interest in protecting the integrity of the newspaper. As the news, editorial and business leadership of the newspaper declared jointly in 1998: "Our greatest strength is the authority and reputation of The Times. We must do nothing that would undermine or dilute it and everything possible to enhance it."Re: the processing of my corrections request, I wanted to learn if Mr. Brock, Ms. Spayd, or others had violated those or other employee guidelines, so today I sent this inquiry to Marcijane Kraft, an attorney at the paper who handles concerns about employees.
...(It) means that the journalism we practice daily must be beyond reproach.
Corrections. Because our voice is loud and far-reaching, The Times recognizes an ethical responsibility to correct all its factual errors, large and small. The paper regrets every error, but it applauds the integrity of a writer who volunteers a correction of his or her own published story. Whatever the origin, though, any complaint should be relayed to a responsible supervising editor and investigated quickly. If a correction is warranted, fairness demands that it be published immediately. In case of reasonable doubt or disagreement about the facts, we can acknowledge that a statement was "imprecise" or "incomplete" even if we are not sure it was wrong
After I receive her response, I'll report it.