Hurricane Harvey Map Fail: Seattle Times Confused Mississippi with Alabama - iMediaEthics

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The original inaccurate map, via Twitter.

The Seattle Times left out Mississippi on a map showing the potential track and impact of Hurricane Harvey and then mistakenly labeled Mississippi as Alabama.

The map, credited to the Seattle Times‘ Mark Knowlin, was titled, “Hurricane Harvey’s potential path,” and accompanied an Associated Press article about the storm. The newspaper also tweeted the inaccurate map, reported.

iMediaEthics wrote to the Seattle Times‘ managing editor and the graphic designer. China Levy, a Community Engagement Specialist, responded to iMediaEthics’ inquiry.

“We regret and sincerely apologize for the map error,” Levy wrote. “Because we amended the mistake within 15 minutes and tweeted out an apology with a corrected map, we did not write a correction on the story itself.”

Levy added that “the error was brought to our attention by a reader. The inaccurate map was not published in print.”

Wendy Suares, an evening anchor for Oklahoma City Fox-affiliate KOKH, tweeted a screenshot of the inaccurate map, calling the Seattle Times out for its error. Her tweet garnered around 900 retweets and 2,000 likes.

The map has been updated online with one that includes Mississippi. However, the article it accompanies doesn’t carry any apparent correction or acknowledgement of the error. The Seattle Times did issue “apologies” on Twitter, though, writing Aug. 26, “We deleted a previously tweeted map that contained a geographical error. Apologies to our friends in Mississippi & Alabama! Correct map here.”

The Clarion Ledger noted that Mississippi was slighted five years ago in a weather map. “While tracking the path of Hurricane Isaac in 2012, The Weather Channel and other outlets referred to the state’s Gulf coast region as ‘the land mass’ between New Orleans and Mobile.”


The updated Seattle Times map (Credit: Seattle Times, screenshot)


In 2014, CNN made a noticeable geography error in a broadcast map about winter storms when it mixed up Boston and New York City. In 2013, CNN made another obvious geography fail when it put Hong Kong in Brazil in a broadcast map about hornet attacks.

Hat Tip: Robert Buckman

CORRECTION - October 8, 2017 9:07 PM EST

Due to an editing error, the first sentence transposed Mississippi and Alabama.

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Hurricane Harvey Map Fail: Seattle Times Confused Mississippi with Alabama

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