The New York Times issued a lengthy correction to its Dec. 16 obituary for Christopher Hitchens, Regret the Error’s Craig Silverman — now at Poynter — noted.
The Dec. 17 correction notes that the Times’ original obituary included incorrect information about “the circumstances of his death,” how often he wrote for the Nation, and “the source of a remark by Mr. Hitchens, an avowed atheist, about the possibility of a deathbed conversion. ”
We wrote Dec. 16 after the blog JSchool Buzz posted a screen capture of the Washington Post’s obituary for Hitchens indicating that the newspaper published quickly with placeholder text. The Washington Post’s ombudsman, Patrick Pexton, told iMediaEthics by e-mail Dec. 16 that the newspaper says the placeholder text was only up for 3 minutes, which is why the newspaper didn’t add a correction or note to readers.