Sunday, December 24, 2006

The Times Magazine correction comes too late

From today's New York Times Magazine:
An item in the Year in Ideas issue on Dec. 10 about the increasing size and scale of urban planning referred imprecisely to the Atlantic Yards project in Brooklyn. The New York City Planning Commission endorsed it but did not approve it; approval can be given only by state officials.

Now they tell us.

As I wrote the day the item was published, a correction was required in the daily paper, since it might be too late to correct it in the Magazine before the scheduled vote December 20 by the Public Authorities Control Board.

Senior editor Greg Brock wrote back and seemed to concur:
I have passed this query on to the magazine editors. As a rule, we run magazine corrections in the magazine, not in the daily newspaper. But the magazines have early closes, so if the magazine cannot print a correction before the vote, then a daily correction -- or more likely a correction next Sunday on Page A2, so magazine readers will see it -- would be an option.

Option avoided

There was no correction Sunday, December 17, so on the next day I wrote to Brock:
I'm following up on your 12/10 response. I recognize the appropriateness of correcting the error in the Magazine, but, as noted, the record also should be corrected *before* the vote of the Public Authorities Control Board, which is scheduled for Wednesday.
The Magazine has not published a correction. Time is running out. I trust your expeditious attention to this matter.


The board approved the project, but I never got a reply.

The answer came in today's Magazine.

Not the only way

In the past, the Sunday Times, on the usual A2 corrections page, has published corrections of articles appearing in the accompanying Magazine (which closes nearly a week earlier).

In other words, had anyone on Saturday December 9 noticed the error in that article early in the day--as opposed to my evening phone call to the Times--a correction would've appeared in the Sunday paper.

Instead, the Times fell back on following a procedure that, however internally consistent, shortchanged the readers.

It likely wouldn't have made a difference in the vote on December 20. However, it would've provided one more reminder to the Times's editorial writers about their silence on the Atlantic Yards issue.

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