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Posts Tagged ‘Justin D. Martin’

Columnist: One Foreign Correspondent Does Not Equal a Bureau

Columbia Journalism Review columnist Justin D. Martin thinks it’s time for newspapers like the LA Times and Washington Post to stop referring to single, foreign-posted employees as a bureau. Combing through a 2011 American Journalism Review report, he found for example that eight of the LAT’s ten foreign “bureaus” consist of just a single employee:

I’m aware that the difference between being called a “bureau chief” rather than “correspondent” at some news organizations is similar to the difference between assistant and associate professors at universities: the coronation often nets greater job security and a bump in salary (and in some cases demands greater responsibilities). Still, journalists are supposed to use clear language. Period. A bureau in one’s bedroom is a chest of multiple drawers, and a furniture peddler who refers to a banker’s box as a bureau is being dishonest.

Another funny way Martin makes his case is to note that he is not the Columbia Journalism Review’s bureau chief in Orono, Maine. Rather, he is simply a columnist for CJR who happens to live in New England.

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Journalism Prof Recalls Laborious LA Times Correction

The world of newspaper corrections policies is also sometimes one of contradictions. For example, the website for the Columbia Journalism Review, where author Justin D. Martin blogs today about this topic, itself does not have a dedicated corrections page.

Martin, a Ph.D. credentialed professor at the University of Cairo and, starting next month, Maine, argues that a sound corrections approach is even more critical for the realm of international reporting, given the embedded issues of language, cultural chasms, and so on. He also recalls an interesting experience earlier this year with the LA Times:

In spring of 2011, it took me the better part of a month to get the LA Times to correct a minor factual error about a storied cafe in Cairo. I called the paper’s correction desk and repeatedly filled out their online correction form, but I was ignored. It wasn’t until I started slamming the paper on Twitter everyday (“Day 24 of uncorrected @latimes error,” for example), that they grew tired of my harassment and fixed the damn mistake. But this was atypical of how the LA Times usually handles errors.

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