June 21, 2003

Guardian Ombudsman Ian Mayes has

Guardian Ombudsman

Ian Mayes has another piece out on the Wolfowitz/Guardian story. Mayes called me to briefly interview me regarding this piece. The one interesting aspect was that, if memory serves, he told me that my E-mail (and those spawned by Sullivan and Reynold's links to the Belgravia Dispatch's catch) didn't arrive until 3:30 or so in the afternoon. The story was pulled about 24 hours later. What is interesting is that Mayes basically said that given that E-mails with corrections didn't get in until 3:30 it was not particularly realistic (the work day drawing to a close, I guess) to expect a correction in fewer than 24 or so hours.

Bottom line: I don't think U.K. papers update their websites and have as much staff devoted to them around the clock than their U.S. counterparts--particularly for editorial level decision-making on corrections and the like. Readers please chime in if you think I'm wrong on this because I'm mostly speculating on this one.

UPDATE: Reader A.R. writes in:

"I emailed them as soon as they put up their correction questioning why it took 24 hours and stating that this slow response raised serious questions about the Guardian's credibility. I have had no response to my email. If the slow response was because they are understaffed on the web version, I believe that this still doesn't excuse them. Even if the company only had one person responsible for the web in each twenty-four hours, and if this person had put the article up at 3:30 and left for the rest of the day, one would think that by 8:00 or 9:00 the next morning someone would be checking the site and would be able to correct or pull the article. This was, after all, the hot topic. Sixteen or seventeen hours, at a stretch, might be understandable; twenty-four isn't."

Ultimately, I think we're both being a bit too generous, but I think A.R.'s got it just about right.

Posted by Gregory at June 21, 2003 11:23 AM
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