The worst (fact) checking error is calling people dead are not dead. In the words of Josh Hersh (described in the preceding paragraph as the modern fact checker who is characteristically calmer than marble) "It really annoys them." Sara (the fact checker McPhee is writing about) remembers a reader in a nursing home who read in The New Yorker that he was "the late" reader in the nursing home. He wrote demanding a correction. The New Yorker in its next issue, of course complied, inadvertently doubling the error, because the reader died over the weekend while the magazine was being printed.
Tuesday, February 03, 2009
There are many reasons to love The New Yorker
Among them, this paragraph from an article on fact checking by John McPhee: