Tuesday, April 12, 2011

The New Yorker: WTF?

By Robert Gammon
Tue, Apr 12, 2011 at 10:33 AM

Wow. We didn’t realize that New Yorker magazine, that venerable institution of journalism, was so desperate — or so careless. As some of you might know, the Express was unlucky enough to be mentioned recently in the New Yorker — unlucky because the magazine’s reference to us was both misleading and inaccurate. It also was just plain weird.

For those of you unfamiliar with the magazine, the New Yorker occasionally publishes a small feature, titled “Correction of the Week” that highlights funny/ironic corrections printed in other publications. In the April 4 issue, the New Yorker pointed to a correction from the East Bay Express. Granted, it was a funny correction, but the New Yorker’s reference to it had us scratching our heads.

Here is what the New Yorker printed:

CORRECTION OF THE WEEK
From the Emeryville (Calif.) East Bay Express: In our January 28 story about the Oakland Unified School District’s failure to provide heat for its students (“Too School for School”), we misquoted International School Principal Carmelita Reyes. She said “we’re all running a school district as leanly as we can” — not “we’re all running a school district as lamely as we can.”

Like we said, it’s a funny correction. But when we first saw this in the New Yorker, we couldn't remember running the correction. Here’s why: We printed it more than two years ago for a story that we ran more than two years ago. The story ran on January 28, 2009, and we printed the correction on February 11, 2009.

So here’s an obvious question: Why is the New Yorker trolling around our back issues looking for funny corrections from more than two years ago? Should we be honored by that? Maybe, but it sure looks as if the New Yorker is kinda desperate. Don’t you think?

And then there’s this: The magazine’s reference to us is clearly misleading. It makes it seem as if we recently ran the correction, when we didn’t.

Finally, the New Yorker’s reference to us is wrong. We left Emeryville nearly two years ago and moved to Oakland’s Jack London District. Of course, when we printed that correction, we still were in Emeryville. Maybe if the New Yorker had picked a more recent correction to feature, it would have gotten our location right.

Regardless, we’re now waiting to see if the New Yorker will print a correction to its Correction of the Week. We’re not holding our breath.

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