Wikipedia Embarasses the New York Times!

So much for old media. It appears the New York Times this week changed and then back-dated an article after being notified by Wikipedia fact-checkers.

No correction, no attribution. The New York Times has simply re-written Tuesday’s article.

Here’s the low-down from Boing-Boing

1. On 3/27, someone submitted a question to the Wikipedia Reference Desk fact checking the New York Times claim that soy milk is not recommended as a substitute for cow’s milk.

2. Wikipedians quickly identified this as an error.

3. Wikipedian Jfarber wrote a correction letter to the New York Times on Wednesday.

4. As of today, the New York Times has completely rewritten the entire conclusion of the article, without citing any correction. The original wording of the article is on Boing-Boing. Apparently, many people read the erroneous article, as it was the most emailed NYT’s article for two days this week.

Tsk, tsk, traditional media.

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3 Responses to Wikipedia Embarasses the New York Times!

  1. Boyhowdy says:

    5. As of sometime early this morning, the Times article now includes a formal notice of correction for the original error…but no clear acknowledgment of the delay between the article changes and the correction text. This certainly completes the process of addressing our original concerns about the article, but I’m not sure it truly provides resolution this late in the game. As I wrote in Wikipedia before the Times’ correction appeared:

    On a side note: this seems to be turning into a story about journalist ethics, which is interesting to me. Our original concerns about the story, IMHO, seemed to point to the panel recommendations, not to the reporter, as being responsible for reporting outdated information. It is only since the article was emended silently, with no accompanying correction or acknowledgement, that the Times’ journalism has been called into question. One might say that this wasn’t about the Times, until the Times made it about themselves. Unfortunately for them, as the BoingBoing acceptance may suggest, in a world where blogger-journalists pass discovery around like lightning, the Times may be a juicer target than a study about the nutritional applications of beverages, no matter how popular the original article may have been.

    Thanks for helping pass this along!

    -Jfarber

  2. […] notice the excellent Andrew Lih covered the latest Wikipedia-versus-New York Times debacle (albeit, a full 24 hours after I did! ). The New York Times took the time to explain their side of […]

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