Correction from Irish Examiner re: Vatican Closure

After some toing and froing and an email trail that included quotes from the Chairman of TCH (the parent company of the Irish Examiner) at #mediv2012 I finally got clarification from the editor of the Irish Examiner of their Vatican Embassy story (soon to be corrected on-line), which I first blogged about on the 19th of January.

At my suggestion, Dolan O’Hagan (the editor) provided the text of the clarification (which ran in the print edition two weeks ago but never made it online until today) for me to post here to close the loop so to speak. I’ve made the font bigger for the quote so that the text can be more clearly seen.

In an article published on January 16 headlined "Public decries closure of embassy to the Vatican" it was stated in the opening paragraph that  the embassy closure "was met with overwhelming opposition from the public with over 93% criticising the move".
The Irish Examiner would like to clarify that it was, in fact, 93% of those who had written to the Dept of Foreign Affairs in the immediate aftermath of the announcement who had voiced opposition to the move – a fact reflected later in the story but not in the opening paragraph due to a copy review error.

While I differ slightly on the claim that the latter part of the story reflected accurately the level of actual uproar about the Vatican closure (I feel that the section in question required some close reading to understand the actual sample size involved which the 93% referred to), I welcome the statement from the Irish Examiner that does go a substantial way to clarifying the issue. I look forward to seeing the promised amendments and clarifications in the on-line edition soon, and once that happens I’ll be gladly closing my complaint with the Press Ombudsman.

Of course, there is an important lesson for anyone producing information that is distributed through multiple outlets – an error may need to be corrected in a timely fashion in multiple locations. As such you will need to know when and where that information was disseminated and what control you have over getting the facts corrected.

(Indeed, under the Data Protection Acts if a Data Controller is informed of an inaccuracy in personal data they have to inform anyone they shared that data with in the previous 12 months who in turn must notify anyone they shared it with etc. Frankly it’s turtles all the way down until the data universe is as correct as it can be made).

Now my hope is that, with the correction on the part of the Irish Examiner, the other publications which picked up the 93% rallying cry will in turn correct their copy so that it reflects the reality of the situation, not hyperbole caused by an error in review.

2 thoughts on “Correction from Irish Examiner re: Vatican Closure”

  1. I note that the clarification in the Examiner is at the bottom of the page.

    Given that research into people’s attention and reading patterns shows that many are unlikely to get to the bottom of an article in the first place, having a clarification after the original incorrect article would seem to me to be a bit moot.

    Would be nice if journalistic standards dictated that a clarification should come prior to and not after the offending article.

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