GrokSurf's San Diego

Local observations on water, environment, technology, law & politics

Changes at North County Times

Posted by George J Janczyn on November 5, 2009

I’m a little wary now about the North County Times.

On Tuesday, after the workshop held by the California Department of Water Resources which wrapped up at 1pm, I took the trolley home, wrote down some highlights, and posted them here at about 4:45pm.

After posting, I decided to check if any reports from local media had appeared. Nothing so far…except one, from the North County Times. I took a look at it and as far as it went, it certainly appeared consistent with what I heard. What caught my eye was the timestamp on the post: 12:20pm, forty minutes before the workshop had concluded.

Well, that was enough to make me pause. Normally, I like to make links to local media reports on topics I’m writing about but I did not do so this time. My reason was that it would have to be a progress report and not an account of the entire event, unless it was actually published later and something is screwy with their server’s time. I even tweeted about the curious timestamp.

Well, today I checked back and the original story is gone; in its place is a new story (and I’m pretty sure a different headline, but I didn’t think to make a copy for comparison) with a new timestamp of 8:20pm. And further, in the first paragraph, an error was introduced: the workshop is now said to have occurred on Monday! This time I grabbed a screenshot.

NCTimesWater

So, I’m still not going to link to it. But it sure brings home to me an issue that has been widely discussed already, that being the (quiet or not) revision of online news stories. While that’s a topic well-covered already elsewhere, I will say here that I believe when changes to stories must be made, they should either be done via a separate new story (with links between the two stories) or else it should be explicitly clear in the revised story where the changes were made. I don’t think it’s enough just to generically write “updated” at the bottom of the story.

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