Better Late Than Never?  | American Journalism Review
 AJR  The Beat
From AJR,   October 1998

Better Late Than Never?   

San Jose Mercury News searches for closure.

By Lori Robertson
Lori Robertson (robertson.lori@gmail.com), a former AJR managing editor, is a senior contributing writer for the magazine.      



More than two years after the San Jose Mercury News reported that the San Francisco Examiner would soon shut down, Merc Managing Editor David Yarnold tries to bring closure to the debate over the obviously inaccurate story. In an August 30 column, Yarnold wrote, ``Our prediction turned out to be wrong." Nothing in particular prompted the clarification, Yarnold says, adding, ``I've known for a while that we needed to close a loop, and it was just time to do it." In his column, he explained the rationale: ``because there's no statute of limitations on issues of fairness or accuracy." The Mercury News had tried ``repeatedly," he says, to follow up on the story, but some sources backed off while others were no longer close to the situation. Did the somewhat miffed Examiner provide the pressure that made the Merc come clean? Yarnold says the Ex would mention the Merc story occasionally, but that his column was of the Mercury News' own ``volition." Coincidentally, Examiner Managing Editor/News Sharon Rosenhause wrote a letter to AJR, published in the September issue, about her surprise that Mercury News Executive Editor Jerry Ceppos had been quoted in the magazine as saying his paper ``doesn't run enough corrections." She asked for, and still asks for, a correction for the premature Examiner obit. Yarnold ``never uses the word `correction' " in the column, she says. ``I've sent David a letter."

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