Errors, glitches and hype

October 1, 2009 1:27:51 PM PDT
There are many painful things we do in news. Reporting on death and destruction, violence and abuse, people treating other people badly, injustice - the list could go on for this entire column.

It's also painful when we make a mistake. And by we, right now, I mean me. Truth, trust and credibility are our most important "products" (and I use that word in the best sense), and when we make a mistake, it's painful.

In this space yesterday I talked about how a career criminal, on trial for armed robbery, dressed like a lawyer, and walked out of the courtroom, out of the courthouse and out of custody. I said the NYPD was in charge of guarding the prisoner and was now leading the charge trying to find him. Only the last part of that sentence was accurate. It was, instead, the New York City Dept. of Corrections that was in charge of the prisoner.

Just sloppy writing on my part. I've apologized to the cop shop, and I apologize for the error here in this space.

As it turns out, there are all sorts of woulda coulda shoulda's in the past 24 hours. The column with the error was sent after we sent out a day-old column - a computer glitch sent out the outdated blog. I'm sorry for that as well.

And then today we had all sorts of plans to hop on board the U.S. Airways flight from LaGuardia to Charlotte, as the two pilots of the plane that made an emergency landing in the Hudson last January were making their first flight together since the accident.

That's what we thought was happening.

Instead, come to find out that this was actually going to be their fourth flight together, despite hype that this was to be their first. So we pulled our reporter from the plane; it's still an interesting story, but not the same.

We'll talk about the flight - the fourth, not the first - tonight at 11.

We're also covering some politics tonight, as polls show the race for Governor of New Jersey tightening once again. Jon Corzine, the incumbent and the Democrat, debating Republican challenger Chris Christie tonight in Trenton. Jeff Pegues is there for us at 11.

And we'll have the latest on the flu, as word spreads that there's likely to be a shortage of vaccines for the regular, seasonal flu. Part of the reason for the backlog in manufacturing is the push to produce millions of doses of the swine flu vaccine. The pharmaceutical company Sanofi Pasteur says it's shipping just slightly more than half of the 50 million seasonal flu vaccine doses that have been ordered.

The CDC today reported "significant" flu activity in virtually every state so far this fall - "unusual for this time of year," officials said.

Meanwhile, it got us wondering how local hospitals are gearing up to handle the flu - seasonal and swine. A new report today says 15 states could run out of hospital beds during a mild pandemic, including New York, New Jersey and Connecticut.

So we're looking into that tonight at 11.

And we'll have the story of the new federal order, signed by Pres. Obama, prohibiting federal employees - 4.25 million of them, including the military - from texting while driving. It applies to federal employees driving government vehicles, driving their own vehicles on government business, or using government electronic equipment in their own cars.

I know I've changed my ways - thanks to my kids and my wife. It's simply too dangerous.

And we're also taking a look at a fascinating - but disturbing - trend with credit cards. Turns out many people are having their credit limits cut back because they've changed their shopping habits - in part because of the recession. If you've been shopping regularly at, say Nordstrom's, and suddenly switch to, say, Wal Mart, some credit card companies are apparently assuming it's because you're hurting financially. And they're cutting credit limits. Lisa Colagrossi has our story.

We'll also have any breaking news of the night, plus Lee Goldberg's AccuWeather forecast, and Scott Clark with the night's sports. I hope you can join Liz Cho and me, tonight at 11.