Isabelle Roughol – The J junkie

The tribulations of a young journalist and writer looking for work

Reader comments on nytimes.com? Ever?

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I’m going to pick on the New York Times again. I just read an article on the impact of Karadzic’s arrest on the credibility of war crime tribunals. Interesting stuff. I did, however, find an error in the story. Nothing too dramatic really: it says the International Crimininal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia was created in 1983: in fact, it was in 1993. That’s not my problem; typos happen, and it doesn’t take away from the understanding of the story.

My problem is, there’s not one way on the page to notify the paper of the error. No comment option (seriously?), no way to email the writer or editor, not even an apparent link to a contact page. (My bad, it’s in 6-point font at the bottom if you scroll down all the way.) I don’t wanna write a gotcha comment; I just want to let a colleague know about something I noticed, so his error doesn’t stay up there for someone meaner to notice. That’s what you do; otherwise, it’s like letting someone walk around all day with a piece of lettuce between their teeth. You just don’t do that. So instead of sending a simple note to the reporter, I must resort to a blog post and hope it will register on their radar. (This shall be tagged appropriately.)

In addition to losing the precious insight of feedbacks, not making reader comments easy doesn’t make a paper look good. The Times doesn’t need another reason for someone to call them arrogant or disconnected.

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Written by Isabelle Roughol

Tuesday, 22 July, 2008 at 08:50

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