Editorial: Correcting the Sentinel’s Correction

The Orlando Slantinel, er, Sentinel took eight days to correct its mistake regarding an exhibitor at the Direct Marketing Association’s fall show, but it neglected to include “the rest of the story.” It would have made more sense if the correction had given some context for the Sentinel’s readers regarding its lopsided article “Spammers, telemarketers share secrets.” Instead, it merely corrected the error, which probably left many Orlandonians wondering what the mistake was in the first place.

The correction, as posted on the Sentinel’s Web site Oct. 22, said: “An article on the Oct. 14 Money front about the Direct Marketing Association convention misidentified a marketing-data business. The business is Hyphos360 Inc.” Wow, 24 words. Hope you didn’t waste too much ink there, guys. But the story appeared on the front page of the edition I bought while I was at the conference. Did it move to the Money section in another edition? Also, why the time lag? I guess it took eight days because the only person who handles corrections of this magnitude was “out of town most of last week” and no one else bothered to check into it, though the newspaper’s editors were notified of the mistake the day the story ran. Several other corrections ran, including much lengthier ones for the date of the University of Florida-University of Georgia football game (56 words) and a fire at a nursing home (136 words).

Here’s what the Sentinel should have run: “An Oct. 14 article about the Direct Marketing Association convention misidentified the business Hyphos360, which has nothing to do with hypnosis or shady marketing tactics as the story implied. In fact, the Sentinel, a DMA member, has used Hyphos’ services in its marketing efforts to send more targeted mailings” (49 words). CNN mentions its relationship when it does a story about AOL or Time Warner. The Sentinel should have done the same.

Passing the Spam Act

Two thoughts about the Senate’s approval of the CAN-SPAM Act: One, why include provisions for a no-spam registry? The Federal Trade Commission, which would be directed to create the registry, has said it won’t work. Two, everyone now wants the bill to get passed since it would supersede state laws, including that awful one in California. Is this why the Senate passed it so quickly?

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