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Still Vacant After All These Years
Okay, it's possible to make mistakes even if you're careful. But, every week, as I'm writing my column, I'm horrified at the prospect, and check and recheck words and terms I use until little spots of blood form on my forehead.

It's amazing to me when others in the newspaper biz have a much more...shall we say...casual...approach to what they write: The LA Times' error-prone Susan Spano, for example...who, at least in her blog items, rarely meets a fact she is curious enough to double or even single-check out. (My favorite of her gaffes was her blog item all excited about the nifty tents along the Seine...which anybody who lives in Paris and doesn't have their head totally up their ass knows are for the homeless.)

The latest from our intellectually lazy lady in Paris (temporarily [thank you, LAT!] replaced in her LAT Paris-blogging vacuousness by smart, interesting, and curious travel writer Elliott Hester while she's traveling in Asia for a month) ? Well, here's the correction:

Imaging satellites: An article in the Nov. 5 Travel section about Google Earth ["Talk About Global Outreach," Her World] called the Keyhole satellite system a fictional part of Tom Clancy novels. It is a spy satellite program by the U.S. military.

Of course, another issue, which I blogged about recently, is that she's only now discovering Google Earth, and only because her Los Angeles dentist told her about it. On the bright side, she at least has the good sense to get her dental work done in L.A.

Perhaps it's just me, but I think if you're really lazy about checking the facts, you shouldn't be earning a living as a journalist. I'm obsessed with getting it right. You don't have to necessarily be obsessed, no...but how about...concerned?

And a suggestion for the LATimes: When you run a a link to the story you're correcting.

Hey, LAT editors, if you want to continue to keep my column out of your pages -- eeuw!...hate those local writers, I know, and perhaps you actually think Amy Dickinson and Carolyn Hax are better -- well, that's your prerogative...but at least run people who make their writing look like it isn't a tiresome afterthought.

On the bright side, I've discovered a terrific (perhaps France-based?) journalist for the LA Times named Alissa J. Rubin. She's had two pieces I've forwarded to friends recently; one on Bertrand Delanoe, the mayor of Paris, and another on Segolène Royal (written with Achrene Sicakyuz); both stories insightful, well-explained, and filled with background that shows a real understanding of the subject matter.

Hellooo, LATimes, more of this, please...less of the Spanos of the journalism world.

Posted by aalkon at November 19, 2006 8:08 AM

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