Under “partnership” with Kaiser Health News, Post retains control of editorial content, editor says

In his farewell column in The Denver Post years ago, the great food writer John Kessler wrote: “You’ve kept me honest through numerous gaffes. You let me know when my Chinese Orange Chicken recipe was missing a key ingredient (chicken)”

Mistakes are part of journalism, but that truism will never stop people from getting mad about them, and rightfully so.

Serious errors, for example,  in a recent Post piece about Obamacare were spotlighted by ColoradoPols, and to it’s credit, The Post quickly made a bare-bones correction and clarification to the article.

The story, written by long-time Denver journalist Art Kane, was the product of a “partnership” between The Post and Kaiser Health News.

I wondered if somehow the partnership, described briefly in The Post piece, was the root cause of the errors.

Asked for details about the partnership and whether the stipulations of the partnership could have led to the errors in Kane’s piece, Post Editor Greg Moore wrote:

Moore: Regarding the Kaiser relationship, we are among a half dozen or so newspapers and outlets such as NPR that accept a grant from the Kaiser Family Foundation, which has nothing to do with the health provider of the same first name, to supplement our coverage of health news. The only condition is that it be focused on issues related to universal health coverage. We get a modest monthly stipend that we can use to do graphics, stories, photo work, etc. We are completely free to decide how to use the stipend within that general subject matter. Neither the foundation nor Kaiser Health News has any control over content. We do by agreement allow KHN to post all content supported by the Foundation grant on its website. We can link to all content on the KHN site unless there are some exclusive rights issues.

We have contracted with Art Kane to do health related stories through the period of the grant in June. The grant can be renewed, and we are currently planning to renew our grant application.

We believe this additional resource will enrich our coverage of this important issue.

Moore declined to explain why the mistakes were made in Kane’s piece, saying that “we correct lots of mistakes we make in the newspaper.”

I don’t blame Moore for not wanting to get into the details of the causes of errors in stories. You don’t have to be much of a news consumer to know that staff cuts, including disappeared copy editors, and veteran reporters jumping ship, have made all facets of journalism, including fact checking, more difficult. But, staff cuts aside, errors happen. And so should quick and detailed corrections.

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