Even the best — The New York Times — makes mistakes

I find peace and assurance knowing that sometimes even the best news agencies such as the New York Times  needs to run clarifications and corrections. Staff members of the newspaper posted two corrections on its website on September 8. These errors were also caught by other news outlets, which was quite frankly embarrassing.

Initially, the paper identified Aleppo as the de facto capitol of the Islamic State, which is not true.

Correction: September 8, 2016 
An earlier version of this article misidentified the de facto capital of the Islamic State. It is Raqqa, in northern Syria, not Aleppo.
Correction: September 8, 2016 
An earlier version of the above correction misidentified the Syrian capital as Aleppo. It is Damascus.As an editor, and aspiring your journalist, it helps to know that even the best make mistakes because everyone who has been in the field will tell you that they’ve committed some sort of mistakes. It also goes to show how important fact checking is and why agencies that disperse information such as New York Times and maybe even Facebook need fact-checkers.

Hancher with a “t”

I found an error in a Iowa City Press Citizen piece on the new Hancher auditorium. It’s nothing big, but errors are errors.

There is an error in following paragraph of the article:

“Just days away from its ribbon cutting on Friday, when tHancher Auditorium will be open to the public for the first time, Swanson gave a guided tour to media Tuesday, through the auditorium, the dressing rooms and rehearsal rooms.”

There was a t in the tHancher.

Fallacious Fusion

An article on Fusion argues that despite the decrease in crime rates in the U.S., the country’s prison population has been steady since last year, opposite to the declining crime rates.

In the article, crime rates were at the lowest levels in more than four decades, despite the prison population continuing to be the same since 2015 — nearly one in every 200 people in America is incarcerated.

My critique of the article is that its based on research that is only done in one state. The study was done by sociologist Ryan King of Ohio State University. In the study, it is stated that his hypothesis is that “even though more crime isn’t being committed, the type of person who’s now in prison has changed over time. Namely, they are more likely to be repeat offenders, who are subject to rigid sentencing guidelines that put undue weight on an individual’s prior crimes.”

His data was based off case-level information from approximately 355,000 felony convictions in Minnesota between 1981 and 2013.

Although the writer did cite a source who acknowledged that the study focused solely on one state, I still don’t think it was good enough for the article to be cohesive enough. Their headline also seemed slightly misleading at first glance. It was sensationalized to some degree, in my opinion, because the results were solely based on a study that conducted its research in one state. A lot of factors affect research such as: population number, race, ethnicity etc.

Also, if you read the lede below, it feels like he was potentially going to discuss an issue that could be applicable to the whole of the U.S.

“Despite what you may have heard from Donald Trump, crime rates in the U.S. have declined steadily since the mid-1990s, and are currently at their lowest levels in more than four decades.”

Although he was referencing his lede to a different source, a huge chunk of his point in the article was based on that one Minnesota study.

 

Errors in the Cedar Rapids Gazette

I found several errors in a Cedar Rapids gazette article.

Firstly, I think there should be a comma after “Peterson” to create a slight pause because it reads weirdly if there isn’t a comma after the name “Peterson”.

Correction: Peterson, her daughter Tabitha McGraw, 24……

Original:

Peterson her daughter Tabitha McGraw, 24, and grand daughter Avah, 3, sat on the front porch of neighbor Smith. The two families met during the 2008 flood, they said, and planned to stick together this time around, too.

Secondly, the sentence below sounds confusing because I don’t know who is saying what.

 “If the water comes on the street, we are going,” Peterson said. “We won’t risk our lives for our house. Smith added, ““My husband or I will be up, or our neighbors will call us, or we will call them to let them know if the water is rising,” Smith said. “That’s what we do.”

If Peterson was quoted saying the one in red, then there should be a closing quotation mark after “our house”. Appropriately, the writer doesn’t need the part “Smith added” because he already attributed the quote to Smith later.

Also, I find it weird that there are two beginning quotation marks for the sentence below. There should only be one quotation mark.

““My husband or I will be up, or our neighbors will call us, or we will call them to let them know if the water is rising,”

Correction:  “My husband or I will be up, or our neighbors will call us, or we will call them to let them know if the water is rising,” Smith said. “That’s what we do.”

I would separate Peterson and Smith’s quotes because it gets confusing for me when I read it quickly.

Thirdly, I found the highlighted part in the sentence below weird. What are go bags? Or is the word “go” a typo?

Andrea Abernathy, 47, who lives on I Avenue, said she has go bags filled, dog and cat food packaged, and is ready to leave if necessary, but she plans to wait out.

Fourthly, the highlighted part of the quote below is a typo. I believe they meant: “We’ve already got things” Not “go things”

Original

“I feel pretty safe,” she said. “We are watching what is happening. We’ve already go things put up on the first floor.”

The Independent’s double whammy

This week, I’ve spotted two errors in the Independent, a British newspaper.

Firstly, they spelled Costco wrongly in this story.

I googled to double check. Instead of spelling it as “Costco”, it was written as “Cosco” by the paper.

At first she bought food in bulk, either online or from discount grocery chains such as Cosco and BJ’s. But then she realised she could feed many more people if she used coupons.”

The story is about a woman who is trying to help feed 30,000 hungry people by paying their food with coupons from supermarkets.

Secondly, there wasn’t a period at the end of the sentence for their story about Aung San Suu Kyi’s first General Assembly address. Super minor, but it just really annoyed me.

In Washington last Thursday, Ms Suu Kyi urged businesses to invest in Burma as a way to advance its democratic transition, a day after US President Barack Obama pledged to lift long-standing sanctions on the country

Seeing back-to-back “technical” errors by the Independent this week was rather shocking, because I’d expect them to hold higher standards for themselves, but I guess mistakes do happen.