By Adrian Uribarri | January 11th, 2008
Tuesday, I suggested that Parade magazine’s slip up with a Benazir Bhutto interview might be permissible since the magazine is printed so far in advance of its distribution to readers.
The magazine’s publisher, Randy Siegel, said he let an interview with Bhutto go out without an update because the issue had already been printed before her death and the interview would still be relevant to readers. So it arrived at millions of doorsteps as if Bhutto was alive and (correctly) still fearing for her life.
“Fair enough,” I wrote, responding to Publisher Randy Siegel’s explanation.
Later that day, Poynter Online’s Amy Gahran used the exact phrase I did in response to Siegel’s defense. Then she did a great job aggregating the backlash to Parade’s press-time faux pas.
And apparently, “fair enough” was not what some readers were thinking.
If you judge from her post, there’s plenty of discontent over Bhutto’s posthumous appearance in some of America’s most hallowed newspapers. As you might have read in my earlier entry, The Washington Post was among the many that issued editors’ notes addressing the confusion.
Much of the debate over the interview surrounds whether news organizations should print material so long before they reach readers (in Parade’s case, about two weeks) — and whether they should reprint material, even at great cost, in light of significant news developments.
The questions are prescient. Have cost cuts in print media set a new and higher bar for stopping the presses? Exactly how late, or how wrong, must a story be to merit an update?