Check Your Facts has learned that the New York Times may finally be making good on one of the recommendations laid out in a 2005 report titled “Preserving Our Readers’ Trust.”
Fresh from a “training class,” a well-placed source at the Times says a computerized correction tracking system is being implemented.
Correspondent Adam Klasfeld learned of the new system through correspondence with a New York Times editor (Check Your Facts is withholding the editor’s name in order to maintain open communications on the matter). The NYT editor said that no tracking system as described in the report currently exists but that a “training class” was held for a new system. “We are just implementing it,” wrote the editor. “We are beginning with corrections on October 1.” (We were in touch earlier this week with NYT public relations rep Abbe Serphos and have sent an email to public editor Clark Hoyt for confirmation. We have not received a response.)
To find out just what might be in the works, Klasfeld contacted Boston Globe librarian Lisa Tuite to find out more on that newspaper’s internal correction tracking system. For the last four or five years, says Tuite, the Globe, which is owned by the New York Times Company, has used a computer database to track errors and reporter performance. The system allows them “to get a handle on bylines and . . . where the error rate is most prolific.” While Tuite says the data is collected in an easily accessible form, it does not tell editors about whether an error is “minor” or “egregious.”
The 2005 NYT report – authored by a “Credibility Committee” headed by now-retired assistant managing editor Allan M. Siegal – made several recommendations aimed at improving transparency and reader relations. Specific measures included setting up a system to give readers better access to source documents; designing a Q & A blog “that promotes a give-and-take with readers”; and developing “a newsroom-wide corrections tracking system . . . to detect patterns of errors and take action to avoid repetition.”
Reporting by Adam Klasfeld
We regret the error: A previous version of this story incorrectly referred to Allan M. Siegal as a retired copy editor. According to the New York Times, Siegal was hired as a copy editor in 1963. However, Siegal retired from the Times in 2006 with the position of assistant managing copy editor