Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Credit Where Credit is Due

As readers of this space may remember, I have taken several media outlets to task in the past. I hold the media to very high standards and expect writers and editors to have very thick skins. I also expect them to always get the facts straight. It was in this context that I wrote to the Boston Globe’s Managing Editor for News Christine Chinlund last week.

Ms. Chinlund,
As I read the very disturbing Page 1 story by Matt Viser today,

I was taken up short by the statement that "The First Congressional District (of Kansas) covers more area than any other House district in the country. It is nearly 60,000 square miles, about the size of the entire state of Illinois."

I think this assertion would come as a big surprise to the citizens of Alaska, Montana, and Wyoming. Each of those states has but a single member of Congress, and each state is larger than the state of Illinois.

As a side note, I hope that members of the Secret Service also read Viser's piece. The quotes at the end, which threaten the life of the President, may be protected by the First Amendment, but should also cause all levels of law enforcement to be vigilant.

Ned  Daly

Well, a few days passed and I hadn’t heard from The Globe, so I wrote again.

Ms. Chinlund,
I wrote last week to bring to your attention what I believe to be an error in Mat Viser's story on politics in Kansas. I have not heard or seen any correction.

Does The Globe expect its readers to believe that there are more Members of Congress than there are Congressional Districts?

In short order I received the following email from Ms. Chinlund.

Dear Ned --
The lapse is entirely my fault, and I am on the case now. Sorry about that.


I was quite pleased by this and even more pleased to see the correction in the April 9 edition of The Globe.

For the record
“* Correction: Because of an editing error, a Page One story in Thursday’s paper about a conservative Kansas congressional district incorrectly stated its relative geographic size. The First Congressional District in Kansas is among the largest by territory in the country.”

Now that is a little more like it. Not the abject boot licking I was dreaming about, or a mention of which gimlet-eyed reader raised the issue, but a straightforward acknowledgement that they got the facts wrong. Over the past few years the Globe has issued printed corrections a number of times when I have pointed out errors. This is only one of the things I love about that paper. So I wrote-

Thanks for the correction. One of the reasons I read the story so closely is that I have been to that part of Kansas and hold great affection for the people there who saved my life after a heart attack suffered on a business trip 15 years ago.

Best always,

This letter got the following response almost immediately

Never be afraid to nudge me. In this case, I simply lost track of the correction in the flurry of other stuff. Not a good excuse, but the truth.

The Boston Globe should win awards for customer service. No one at an equivalent level of any other company I know would take the time to correspond with someone who buys less than $1,000 worth of product a year.

Nice to be on a first name basis with these folks too.

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