Thursday, December 14, 2006

The Year in Corrections 

"Regret the Error" is a blog that tracks newspaper corrections throughout the year. Some are pedestrian. Others are whoppers. Blogger, Craig Silverman, has done a listing of the most serious corrections during the year. Note what he says about the Sago mine disaster when 12 miners died in a methane gas explosion.

The tale is well known, so we’ll offer one word: Sago. We considered demoting this error to second place, due in large part to the culpability of the mining company. As news of “12 Alive!” spread over the wire and airwaves, the company kept silent and didn’t do its part to reveal the correct information. The media, of course, deserves its fair share of blame for turning rumor into fact, but the company had the means to temper the story right away and instead remained silent. So a pox on both houses. Sago will live on as a tragic event made all the more tragic by incorrect reports that spread the world over. That’s a rare phenomenon, so it also earns Error of the Year honors.

This was a clear public relations failure on the part of the company.

By the way, a state investigation has apparently concluded that the mine explosion was caused by lightning. You will note that the cause of the disaster was buried in the newspaper by comparison with the failed rescue attempt. The company has been blamed for safety failures when it is arguable that such failures occurred.


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