Monday, February 15, 2016

Sloppy Post-Star's death by a thousand (self-inflicted) cuts

I know quality control at the Post-Star has become pretty close to non-existent but this is inexcusable even by their standards.
They ran a front page graphic earlier this week which claimed that teachers at Warrensburg missed an average of 10.6 days per year per teacher. This was far higher than any other local school, so obviously it gave the district a black eye.
Then the paper ran a correction - buried in middle of the paper in a tiny segment - stating that OOPS they had used an incorrect data point and that Warrensburg teachers had actually missed only 3.27 days per year per teacher. This was well within the norm of local schools. 
So what did they do yesterday? The print edition* re-ran the old graphic with THE DATA THAT THEY THEMSELVES HAD STATED WAS WRONG.  
(*-this has been corrected in the online edition)
Incidentally, this discredited table was paired with a deceptive editorial using a troubling national statistic and implying that it was a problem locally, even though local numbers are 1/2 to 2/3 lower.
This is what you get in product whose price has doubled in recent years. 
Mainstream journalists like to tell themselves that newspapers' implosion is due to the increased desire for commentary and contempt for objective journalism. And to a large extent, that's true. But there's also a large number of people who see sloppiness like this and no longer see the use in spending their money on an entity with a credibility suffering a death by a thousand self-inflicted cuts.

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