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:
@thitchner not a simple mistake like that on the internet. I have never seen corrections listed below an internet story.
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeymanCBS) January 8, 2013
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.