The statistics you cite make perfect sense to me [Hot Type, April 22]. And it’s all about local news.
I talk to people of all ages, and often the conversation turns to things in the newspaper. For most people, only every few years do they see an article in the paper about something with which they have direct involvement. And every time it’s wrong. Sometimes it’s just somebody’s name that’s been mangled. Sometimes someone they know has been misquoted. Not infrequently, the newspaper write-up bears no resemblance to the event they witnessed. What they remember is that the article was wrong.
So after 20 years of reading the paper, there have been five or ten times the newspaper has written about something or someone they know–and every time it’s been wrong. For these people, the newspaper’s inaccuracy is no longer a suspicion, it’s a fact.
And that’s what people tell me: that if the papers can’t get right what’s happening in their own town, how can they possibly accurately report on events thousands of miles away?