Sunday, January 23, 2011

A second look at correction

The Bergen County courthouse in Bergen County,...Image via Wikipedia
The Bergen County Courthouse in Hackensack.

I took a second look at the correction that ran on Page A-2 on Saturday, as well as the headline and story that ran on L-1 on Friday. 

It appears that Staff Writer Jean Rimbach and head Assignment Editor Deirdre Sykes, the presumed editor of her story, contributed to the error in the headline through poor writing and editing, and a misplaced emphasis high up in the story on the Bergen County Prosecutor's Office.

Here's my revised commentary, which is also in the original post, Why this blast from the past?

'We goofed again'

Page A-2 brings two corrections, one from Better Living, which seems to get dates, telephone numbers and other basic information wrong almost every day. 

An L-1 headline on a lawsuit story by Jean Rimbach, one of the paper's investigative reporters, also was wrong Friday -- really wrong. 

The original headline says, "Papers sealed in suit alleging coverup by prosecutor." To be fair to the news copy desk, the story mentions a prosecutor's office -- "apparently the one in Bergen County" -- a number of times, and includes the Bergen prosecutor's name. 

The correction says, "The headline should have said that the suit alleges a coverup by the investigator's bosses in the state criminal justice system," even though that isn't clear from the story. 

The reporter worked on this sensitive story how long -- weeks or months? Did  Sykes edit it before it was sent over to the copy desk for a headline, and did she order the desk not to alter a word or challenge any vagueness, as she has done so many times in the past?

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