CBSSports.com writer has ‘never seen corrections listed below an Internet story’

NBC Sports

CBS Sports writer Jon Heyman made a mistake when arguing Jack Morris belongs in the Baseball Hall of Fame, incorrectly saying Morris played alongside Bert Blyleven. Heyman didn’t acknowledge he’d corrected the piece later, Craig Calcaterra writes.

One Twitter user asked Heyman, who is very good about answering his readers on Twitter, whether acknowledging a correction isn’t a matter of “basic journalistic ethics.”

He replied by saying he had never seen corrections listed below an Internet story:

 

When Washington Post writer J. Freedom du Lac expressed some surprise Heyman had never seen a correction, the sportswriter replied, “big fan of professional nitpicking, huh?“ He didn’t reply to a comment that pointed out the error.

Reached by telephone, Heyman referred me to an editor, with whom I haven’t yet connected.

Last January CBSSports.com incorrectly reported that Penn State football coach Joe Paterno had died, apparently based on an erroneous report from Penn State student website Onward State. The news organization apologized to the Paterno family in a subsequent post, but it didn’t “add a correction or apology right away,” Craig Silverman wrote at the time. CBSSports.com’s Paterno story now carries a correction.

Heyman’s not incorrect when he calls this a “simple mistake.” But correcting such mistakes is how you build trust with readers, my colleague Mallary Tenore argued in 2010. Not acknowledging even a small error in the place you made it can allow a small mistake to grow into a bigger — and less easily dismissed — story.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/robert.knilands Robert Knilands

    Agree, as long as we’re talking about specific assumptions and not red/blue political stuff (although it does happen to some degree there, too).

    The difference I see is the Sports people keep doing it and doing it. Their information is generally far easier to verify, too. They just refuse to do so. Not only that, but then they blame the people who handled the article after them.

  • JTFloore

    this is not only a “typical sportsie mistake” — making a false assumption without checking out the facts — it is also frequently a general media failing.

  • http://www.facebook.com/robert.knilands Robert Knilands

    This should come as a surprise to no one. Even in print, Sports hardly ever runs corrections at many papers.

    The mistake cited here is the typical sportsie mistake, where the person apparently assumed a detail, then didn’t check it and ran with it. Of course, in the world of the sportsie, it’s the fault of “the desk” for not spotting it and correcting it.