So, despite the fact that I've sold out to one of the world's greatest corporate monsters, I am still interested in issues of journalism -- fairness, ethics, blah blah blah.
Which is why I love The Hindu's recent decision to create a reader's editor. In the States this is sometimes referred to as an ombudsman, and this person essentially works within the newspaper to monitor fuck ups, run interference with angry sources, and provide clarity on editorial policies. Some also write columns to address issues, and most handle set recs ("setting the record straight," or corrections/clarifications).
Set recs in U.S. newspapers are by and large dull, because it is anathema to restate the newspaper's error. While this does cover one's ass and minimizes the amount of newsprint devoted to incorrect information, it can leave the reader puzzled as to what was wrong in the original news item. They are at best obtuse, at worst irrelevant.
The Hindu, on the other hand, spices their corrections up. This column, run on the op-ed page, is often hilarious -- whether mocking persnickety readers or correcting idiotic staff errors. Today's prize goes to:
"A shy lad, the 19-year-old Raina has a steady shoulder on his head," was the last sentence in the last paragragh of "Suresh Raina -- India's rising star" (Sport, April 11, 2006). A reader points out that it is an anatomical impossibility!