Sunday, June 18, 2006

Preventing fraud in news reporting

Byron Calame, Public Editor at the NYTimes, has a column on the changes implemented in the Times' newsroom that would have nipped the Jason Blair scandal in the bud:

The first is a simple procedure with far-reaching impact: The standards editor conducts weekly random checks of articles containing anonymous sourcing to make sure that an editor knows the name of the source. Let's assume Mr. Blair had been forced to tell an editor the name of each anonymous source he relied on in a December 2002 article that listed evidence pointing to young Lee Malvo as the primary triggerman in the Washington sniper case. The random checks could have given the editors a much better chance to detect that two pieces of evidence didn't exist — as The Times noted in a subsequent correction.