Arthur Brisbane, the New York Times’ public editor, published a series of reader questions and newsroom responses in his Dec. 26 public editor column (see here).
One reader, Ben Carlisle, noted that Times columnist William Rhoden’s Dec. 6 column on National Football League teams the New York Jets and New England Patriots — initially published before the teams played each other — was revised following the game to be “a new, watered-down version that was significantly different.”
Carlisle wondered if the Times permitted rewrites of columns “just because events have proved their opinions to be wrong-headed.” In response, sports editor Tom Jolly accepted the blame for the incident. Jolly explained that “columnists and feature reporters occasionally write before a big game at night with the idea that it gives them a starting point to update when the game ends, which is often right on deadline, and it gives a presence on the game in the early editions of the paper online.” Jolly noted that Rhoden’s column was much read on the Times’ website.
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Brisbane commented as well, commending Jolly for “falling on his sword on this one.”
iMediaEthics notes that there is a correction appended to the column; however, it doesn’t mention or discuss the apparent revisions to the column.