A note to readers in Sunday's Orange County Register from Gene Harbrecht, the paper's nation and world editor, announced that stories picked up from the New York Times will now undergo more scrutiny before being used on the Register's pages. He cited the recent flap over reporting on Iraq, and the earlier problems with stories by Jayson Blair and coverage of Wen Ho Lee.
The Times' credibility - and by extension the Register's - has unquestionably been damaged. We believe dropping the New York Times from our report entirely would be a drastic step that would deprive our readers of some of the best reporting in the world on the major stories of the day. However, the Register pledges to intensify its screening of all news service stories, particularly the Times.
We will question the conclusions drawn and whether they are based strictly on anonymous or limited sourcing. We will compare findings from the Times with other services to gauge their validity. We will note the track record for accuracy of the individual reporters as we have come to know their work.
We will only publish stories if they constitute good reporting supported by multiple sources.
We believe the New York Times is a reputable organization and will eventually repair its public image, but we can't control that. We can and will control the material we publish in a way that convinces our readers that credibility is our highest priority.
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