According to NPR ombud Alicia Shepard (12/30/10), one very persistent letter writer named Henry Norr managed to get NPR to correct an error made several times by different programs–that WikiLeaks “published” the many thousands of State Department cables in its possession. The site has actually published few of them– less than 2,000.
On Dec. 21, I sent Norr’s 9 examples to NPR top editors and asked that a staff memo be sent out reminding everyone to be more careful in talking about the November document release. The memo went out on Christmas Eve.
Still Norr was (rightly) not satisfied. ‘Aren’t you going to run a correction as well?’ he asked. He prodded me. I prodded Stu Seidel, NPR‘s deputy managing editor who handles corrections. (firstname.lastname@example.org)
And, so thanks to Norr’s doggedness the correction is on the Web and hopefully, NPR won’t make the same mistake again.
It’s a reminder that media activism works.
Another reminder–Henry Norr was a journalist suspended by the San Francisco Chronicle over his opposition to the Iraq War, as FAIR noted here:
Henry Norr, a technology writer for the San Francisco Chronicle, was suspended without pay by his paper for using a sick day to get arrested at an anti-war protest. According to Norr (Berkeley Daily Planet, 4/1/03), his supervisors knew in advance he would be doing civil disobedience that day. Defending the punishment, Chronicle readers’ representative Dick Rogers (4/3/03) noted that subsequent to Norr’s suspension, the paper had “strengthened its policy to prohibit public political activity related to the war.” Rogers argued that the Chronicle ought to have a sign at its entrance reading, “Check your activism at the door.”