Holmes Report Blog

The Holmes Report blog focuses on news and issues of interest to public relations professionals. Our main site can be found at www.holmesreport.com.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

It's a Supply Chain Issue: Len Downie, executive editor of the The Washington Post, apparently disagrees with WaPo columnist Howie Kurtz (below). "Our story was a reflection of what was being said at the time," he tells USA Today. "I don't regard it as our error, but as an error by the people in charge of the rescue."

If you'll forgive me a brief digression: British Airways found itself caught up in a nasty labor dispute this past summer, one that grounded flights for a couple of days and meant no meals on BA flights for several weeks (no great hardship). The problem wasn't at BA itself, but with one of its suppliers, Gate Gourmet. Should BA have taken the position that since "it wasn't our error, but an error by out supplier" and refused to apologize to its customers? If it had taken that position, would editors like Downie applauded it for its integrity or accused it of failing in its responsibility to customers.

The Post now finds itself in an analagous situation: one of its suppliers (or perhaps several) screwed up. They delivered faulty information. The Post passed that information along to its readers. But it chose the supplier, and so it's responsible when that choice turned out to be a bad one. It owes its readers an apology.

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