Leaders at the Washington Post were recently forced to make 15 major corrections to a story published by the newspaper on July 23.
“We are embarrassed by the widespread errors in this freelance article. We have published a detailed correction of each error and updated the story based on re-reporting by Post staff,” said Executive Editor Marty Baron.
The original piece, written by freelance writer Korsha Wilson, was updated by Washington Post staff members. A digital version of the story now includes all of the corrections that were issued.
The original article detailed the story of African American families who faced challenges “in their fight for land retention.”
The corrections addressed the misspelling of names, the number of one subject’s children, and the omission of key details.
Reports said that Wilson’s work has previously been published in the New York Times and food publications such as Bon Appétit.
“In February, she wrote a much-talked-about piece in Eater about how the character of much mainstream food criticism is still too white and male. In March, she spoke at SXSW as part of a panel discussion about how food can help ‘make a more inclusive world,’” the Washingtonian’s Andrew Beaujon reported.
The Society of Professional Journalists website states that “ethical journalism should be accurate and fair. Journalists should be honest and courageous in gathering, reporting and interpreting information,” and adds that journalists should “take responsibility for the accuracy of their work” and “verify information before releasing it.”
Likewise, the Washington Post said in 2016 that its policies and standards include telling the truth “as nearly as the truth may be ascertained” and that its reporters have the primary responsibility “for reporting, writing, and fact-checking their stories.”
The publication also noted that in the event of a major mistake, editors would issue a correction to the story.
“It is necessary to use a correction, clarification or editor’s note to inform readers whenever we correct a significant mistake,” the newspaper stated.