AP executive editor: 'Our goal is to not make any mistakes'


Associated Press Executive Editor Kathleen Carroll talked with WNYC host Brian Lehrer about the news cooperative's reporting following the Boston Marathon bombings.

Why, Lehrer, asked, did he end up reporting news from the AP that turned out to be wrong, like the claim one of the suspects was a second-year medical student? "How much were you struggling with what was worthy to print and how quickly?" Lehrer asked.

Carroll replied:

"We, as you know, like every news organization we're working to not make any mistakes at all." She continued:

And sometimes we do anyway. And...we take that really seriously.... We understand what a big deal that is, even a little mistake. Take for example that the young man was a second-year medical student. Well, that came from his father and, you know, very quickly somebody here said -- it came from his father who was in Dagestan -- very quickly somebody said nobody 19 can be a second year medical student, he might be pre-med. Let's go back to him, but let's fix it on the wire until we know exactly what it is because he can't be a medical student when he's only 19. So, yeah, we have a lot of people filing reporting from all over the world in a circumstance like that and we do need to cross-check it with things that we know and we do that all the time, and sometimes things get past us, and we fix it as soon as we can and declare it, but our goal is to not make any mistakes.

Previously: Carroll: "The world only occasionally remembers when AP held the line and didn't report something that turned out to be wrong. Our mistakes, however, live on and on and on" (Huffington Post) | Confusion reigns in reporting of Boston ‘arrest’ | Wenatchee World editor: ‘Too late to fix our front page’ after AP corrected report | How the AP verified photo of Boston bombing suspect leaving scene

Correction: This post originally referred to a different suspect's purported medical studies.

  • Andrew Beaujon

    Andrew Beaujon reported on the media for Poynter from 2012 to 2015. He was previously arts editor at TBD.com and managing editor of Washington City Paper. He's the author of the 2006 book "Body Piercing Saved My Life," about Christian rock and evangelical Christian culture.


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