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July 24, 2007

Edited AGAIN! NYT Just Keeps Changing TNR Story

The story as I saw it ten minutes ago.

Last paragraph:

The magazine granted anonymity to the writer to keep him from being punished by his military superiors and to allow him to write candidly, Mr. Foer said. He said that he had met the writer and that he knows with "near certainty" that he is, in fact, a soldier.

That's the end of the story; nothing follows, as you can see from my screecap above.

The new version:

The magazine granted anonymity to the writer to keep him from being punished by his military superiors and to allow him to write candidly, Mr. Foer said. He said that he had met the writer and that he knows with "near certainty" that he is, in fact, a soldier.

After this article appeared, Mr. Foer said he was "absolutely certain" that the author is a soldier.

There's nothing really nefarious here, I guess. The NYT owes it to Foer to note his new, less nuanced position on the identity of "Scott Thomas." They're just adding in some, errm, context that probably should have in the first new version of the story, but didn't get to it to a few minutes ago.

So no big deal, I guess, except we're seeing, yet again, how that sausage is made. It's often not as pretty as the sausage-manufacturers at the NYT would have you believe, with their vaunted multiple layers of painstaking editorial oversight and rigorous fact-checking.

I guess this is what happens when you try editing your reporter's story on the fly, after it's already been published.

Again: For the NYT's and Franklin Foer's benefit, these edits and fact-checks are really better done before publishing.

Thanks to Dusty.


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posted by Ace at 05:43 PM

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