The head of NBC News called out The New York Times for their recap of Ann Curry's Today Show goodbye that featured a description of a video package that never aired during the episode.
The Times' Alessandra Stanley wrote about Curry's final appearance on Today for her TV Watch column, but the original version of her column had a description of an Ann Curry highlight package that was never on the broadcast. It's only available on NBC's website. The passage was removed, but Poynter picked it up before they could scrub it:
Highlight reels are the gold watch of television news, and “Today” showed a long, affectionate one of Ms. Curry, from her first days in local news to her trip to the South Pole, where she planted the NBC flag. It included goofy moments clowning on the set, and also a tableau that seemed — under the circumstances — somewhat insensitive. Ms. Curry, ebullient as ever, leaned in to Mr. Lauer, who was wearing an arm sling. “Don’t come anywhere near me with a hug,” he said, jokingly, but perhaps not entirely so.
Now at the bottom of the page there's this correction:
The TV Watch column on Friday, about Ann Curry’s final appearance as a host on NBC’s “Today” show, referred erroneously to a highlight reel of Ms. Curry. The highlight video was available on the show’s Web site; it was not shown on the television show Thursday and should not have been included as part of the critique of Thursday’s show. The highlight reel was created last year, when Ms. Curry started in her role as host, not in connection with her departure.
Unfortunately for Stanley, that wasn't the only mistake in her column. She also mistakenly wrote that Savannah Guthrie was included in Curry's goodbye segment, and the photo accompanying the column misidentified Natalie Morales as Guthrie.
Stanley justified the mistakes in an email to Poynter, saying "I watched the show on TV, but didn’t tape it so I rewatched it online; the highlights reel was online, but was not shown by Today."
Stanley picked a bad week to make a mistake on such a big story. Gaffes are the journalism word du jour, with CNN and Fox News both screwing up their health care coverage.
Steve Capus, President of NBC News, told The Hollywood Reporter it was just another case of sloppy journalism. "I think there are a lot of sloppy examples of journalism these days," he said. "When a television critic writes a critique of a program and then later admits she hasn’t watched the television broadcast, that’s bad journalism. That’s not just a mistake." Stanley said she watched the show live but failed to tape it, so Capus himself wasn't exactly correct. Everyone makes mistakes, nobody's perfect. Let's hold hands and sing "Kumbayah."