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>What's really appealing: newspapers are usually quick to oust liars
>and incompetents, and then make public apologies and reiterate their
>standards. Where else do you see that?
Not really, in my opinion. In the most recent big cases that I've followed
the coverage of (Blair, Glass, and Patricia Smith & Mike Barnicle from the
Boston Globe), all of the parties had been engaged in the practices that
got them booted for several years at a minimum.
I'm also amused by the reports about Blair's published accuracy rate
requiring what's considered by newspaper types to be a large number of
published corrections. Um, given that *every single newspaper article* I've
ever read in which I personally was in a significant role, or was about an
event or activity that I had a large amount of personal knowledge, had
several factual errors, I was amazed at how much more accurate than that
Blair appeared to be. And given that pretty much everyone I've mentioned this
to has had the same experience, I don't think it's just me.
Bringing this back to tech writing, I think one reason for the extremely low
accuracy level in newspapers is that it's considered a bad thing for a writer
to show the subject of an article the article prior to publication. In effect,
the concept of a review by the subject matter expert is generally considered
*wrong* by newspapers.
Just once, I managed to convince a features reporter to let me factcheck
an article in advance of publication. I found about 3-4 factual errors, which
she corrected. The subject of the article was a writer, who at the time had
been writing for over 30 years and been the subject of very many articles
over the years. During his talk, he mentioned that that particular newspaper
article was the first one about him in his career that did not have any
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