Public editor

Error corrected, repeated on the same day

Updated: 2013-11-28T00:30:41Z

By Derek Donovan

The Kansas City Star

In today’s print edition, there is a correction to a listing from “The Week Ahead” column in Monday’s Sports Daily. An item about Turkey Trot events confused runs in Kearney, Neb. and Kearney, Mo. with the same name. Nothing particularly egregious, though all mistakes are of course regrettable.

But most unfortunately, today’s 913 newsmagazine (distributed on the Kansas side, with two counterpart 816 editions in Missouri) picked up the same column — and repeats the error from Monday.

By next Wednesday’s 913, the run will be long over so there’s no point in correcting it there. But how could that mistake have happened?

It’s a little complex. The Star’s computer publishing system is a pretty sophisticated piece of software that allows different departments to share relevant content. Calendar items are a category that often is particularly useful to re-run in multiple places. While there’s overlap between people who read both Sports Daily and 913, not everyone sees both sections every day, so it makes sense to run those listings both places.

The problem, though, is that in to the Sports department, which originated the errant item, the correction was in the past and they had no plans to re-run the same column. But the Metro desk, which put together 913, was indeed re-using it. And since I’d shared the upcoming correction only with Sports, Metro was unaware it was coming to head it off at the pass.

I have initiated a conversation with the relevant parties in the newsroom to put a new policy in place going forward. I think that policy should state that all errors should be corrected inside the publishing system in the story where they occurred, whether there are currently plans to re-use the material or not. That should avoid further mistakes such as this one.

To reach Derek Donovan, call 816-234-4487 weekday mornings or send email to publiceditor@kcstar.com. Follow him at Twitter.com/KCStarPublic.

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