Washington Post Issues 15 Corrections On Single Story!
Gathering the news is a tough business.
Good reporters check and double-check and triple check the information they collect, and good editors go over every word with a magnifying glass.
But still, mistakes happen. Reporters get things wrong from time to time, and news outlets often add corrections to a published story on the internet.
The Washington Post, though, took all that to a whole new level.
“According to the 2017 U.S. Agricultural Census, the number of black farmers has increased to 45,508, a fraction of the 3.2 million white farmers in the same report. Yet black owner-operators are losing farmland at a higher rate than their white counterparts. Since 2012, about 3 percent of farmland owned and operated by African Americans has been lost, compared to 0.3 percent of farmland owned and operated by whites,” the piece said.
But there turned out to problems with the piece. Lots of problems.
The piece has been updated with 15 corrections. 15!
“Corrections: A previous version of this article contained many errors and omitted context and allegations important to understanding two families’ stories. This version has been updated,” a note atop the story reads.
Some of the corrections were minor: “The first name of Emanuel Freeman Sr. was misspelled,” said one. “The number of children Freeman had with his second wife, Rebecca, was eight, not 10,” said another.
Others were more substantive. “The story omitted key details that affect understanding of ownership of the land. Melinda J.G. Hyman says ‘Jr.’ and ‘Sr.’ were left off the names of father and son on documents, and the land was mistakenly combined under Rebecca’s name, meaning some descendants did not receive proper ownership. After requesting a summary of the property, Hyman says, she found her great-aunt, Pinkie Freeman Logan, was the rightful heir to hundreds of acres, but they were not properly transferred to her. In 2016, Hyman says, 360 acres of the original 1,000 were auctioned off after a lengthy court battle, a decision she says she and some other family members dispute.”
Another said: “A law proposed to protect heirs from losing land in partition sales is called the Uniform Partition of Heirs Property Act, not the Partition of Heirs Property Act. “Tenants in common” are not solely defined as those living on a property; they are all those who own a share in the property. The act would not require heirs living on a property to come to an agreement before it can be sold, but would instead provide several other protections.”