Archive for February 7, 2009


February 7, 2009 Leave a comment


A week ago I had a post about John Updike that focused on his famous 1960 New Yorker article about Ted Williams’ final at bat. I noted that my favorite sportswriter (Joe Posnanski of the Kansas City Star and SI) and my favorite radio host (Jonathan Schwartz of WNYC), in reminiscing about Updike, focused on this article. Now the greatest of all living baseball writers, Roger Angell, has weighed in, in a lovely short piece in the current New Yorker’s Talk of the Town section, and he too speaks of the Ted Williams article.

Angell, of course, is the embodiment of New Yorker history: son of early New Yorker writer and editor Katharine (Sergeant Angell) White, stepson of fellow New Yorker writer E. B. White (yes, that E. B. White — Charlotte’s Web, Strunk and White, etc.), long-time New Yorker fiction editor himself, and starting in 1962, unparalleled baseball essayist in the pages of the New Yorker.

In the current New Yorker remembrance of Updike, Angell notes that they were “Colleagues for more than half a century, writer-editor partners for more than half that time.” I close with Angell’s account of Updike’s Ted Williams piece:
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Categories: Sports, Writing

More Fact-Checking

February 7, 2009 Leave a comment


In my previous post, I mentioned a correction that appeared on the NYT’s op-ed page Thursday and raised the question of whether they do fact-checking anymore. I saw the correction in the morning. Coincidentally, when I got home Thursday night, I opened the newly-arrived issue of the New Yorker and found an article on fact-checking by John McPhee. (My link goes to the abstract only, since the article isn’t available for free.) It’s a short piece about New Yorker fact-checking policies and some of his own experiences over the years. And of course it’s a delight to read.

If you have access to the article, be sure to read it. Here’s a taste:

The worst checking error is calling people dead who are not dead. In the words of [fact-checker] Josh Hersh, “It really annoys them.” [Famed New Yorker fact-checker] Sara remembers a reader in a nursing home who read in The New Yorker that he was “the late” reader in the nursing home. He wrote demanding a correction. The New Yorker, in its next issue, of course complied, inadvertently doubling the error, because the reader died over the weekend while the magazine was being printed.

Categories: Writing


February 7, 2009 Leave a comment


Two days ago, on its op-ed page, the New York Times had one of the most stunning corrections I’ve ever read. It had to do with an op-ed piece on the Heimlich maneuver by noted food writer Joan Nathan that had appeared the day before. I had seen Nathan’s article but didn’t pay it much attention, since I imagined that the headline (“A Heimlich in Every Pot) and the blurb (“Every chef should be able to save a choking victim. I should know.”) said everything that needed to be said. But the correction led me back to the article to see the two errors in context.

You won’t find the errors on line anymore. They’ve been corrected. I’ll describe them in a moment. But first let me say a few words about the incident that led to the article. Ezra Klein, noted blogger on health and food policy, wrote about it the next day, and I’ll quote his account.
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Categories: Food, Writing