Washington Post Editor on Story’s 579-Word Correction: ‘We Are Embarrassed by the Widespread Errors’

Story originally published in July

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The Washington Post says it is “embarrassed” by “widespread errors” in an article about black families struggling to hold on to family farms, after issuing a 579-word correction and updating the story with new reporting.

“We are embarrassed by the widespread errors in this freelance article,” the paper said in a statement, attributed to Washington Post executive editor Marty Baron. “We have published a detailed correction of each error and updated the story based on re-reporting by Post staff.”

The story by freelance writer Korsha Wilson, initially published July 23, tracks two families, the Freemans and the Terrys, as they try to retain ownership of their family land. The correction, separated into 15 bullet points and amounting to just over a fifth of the original article’s length, was published earlier this week.

It details numerous factual errors of varying significance, among them: The misspelling of the name of one of the subjects; incorrect description of certain events in the Freeman family’s history; incorrect explanation of data used in the story; incorrect depiction of chain of ownership for at least one of the properties, as well as dates of certain events and other pertinent information; incorrect quotes from subjects; and the mis-naming of a pertinent federal law.

Read the updated article and the full editor’s note here.

Wilson did not immediately respond to a request for comment from TheWrap.