First, a correction.
In Tuesday’s story about recent spending decisions by Richland County Council, the article stated that new Councilwoman Dalhi Myers had a primary role in initiating the $1.2 million renovations, and the reason for this was unhappiness over desk space on the dais and in the room behind Chambers where Council members take refreshments before meetings. This was incorrect, and Quorum regrets the error. That decision was initiated by staff with limited input from Council members other than to approve it.
To remedy the error, I’ve taken down the story to prevent any further confusion about or harm to Myers. The rest of the story — Myers’ motion to add an additional $12,000 to an existing $7,000 individual discretionary fund for increased travel and education and the creation of new offices, of which Myers received one of only three with windows — is accurate, but while arguments for and against each decision are legitimate, the affect of the incorrect piece of information is strong enough in my opinion to do what’s best for the injured party, whose motives were incorrectly represented by multiple sources and reflected in the story, and kill the piece.
It’s the right thing to do, as is apologizing to Ms. Myers personally, which I have done.
Which brings me to my second point.
Running corrections and admitting mistakes should be a point of pride for news outlets (or anyone else, ahem, SCANA) because ignoring or diminishing or burying a correction does nothing for the person about whom something wrong was written, no matter how inadvertently, nor does it do any favors for an outlet’s credibility, which is everything.
Everyone makes mistakes — in our personal relationships, with our children, in our jobs, you name it. Journalism, to a degree, makes a living off them. A talented quarterback makes the wrong read and throws an interception. A coaches calls a bad play on fourth-and-short. A referee makes a bad call that costs the game.
It’s not making a mistake that defines us, it’s what we do afterward. For journalists, corrections are paramount. They are non-negotiable. They are, to prolong the sports metaphor, the journalistic equivalent of the instant replay booth overturning a call made on the field in the heat of the moment.
Trust is the currency of this profession, the pact between writer and reader and, just as importantly, between reader and source. That trust is based on two things — accuracy and fairness. Those two measures should be the only ones guiding a reporter writing a story. In-depth stories are complicated and mistakes can happen. Correcting those mistakes once understood is the only mechanism to ensure trust and affirm a commitment to accuracy and fairness.
Quorum’s goal is to hold decision-makers in education, business and state and local government accountable for their actions and decisions. It is why I started this site on little more than faith that, if done well, people would care and the unflinching support of a loving wife and understanding children who have taken this journey with me.
Getting it right is what matters, and corrections are t For that reason I’m happy to admit the mistake and get it right moving forward, not just through a correction and retraction but with an apology that I hope underscores the earnestness and honest sincerity of this venture and its author.
To Ms. Myers, whose role and motivations were improperly stated and characterized based on incorrect information and belief, I apologize, hat in hand. Corrective measures have been taken that I believe reflect a concern for the truth that must exist, vigorously, inside those of us who believe this work it too important not to be undertaken.