'12 Years A Slave' Leads To Correction Of 161-Year-Old Story | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

NPR : News

Filed Under:

'12 Years A Slave' Leads To Correction Of 161-Year-Old Story

Here's something of another victory for new media over old media.

The New York Times on Tuesday corrected a 161-year-old report about the enslavement of Solomon Northup, after a Twitter user pointed out that the story had twice misspelled Northup's name — including in the headline.

Northup is the Saratoga Springs, N.Y., man whose story is told in 12 Years a Slave — the movie that on Sunday night won an Oscar as 2013's best picture.

The error was noticed, it would seem, after a sharp-eyed reader came across this PDF of the Times' Jan. 20, 1853, report about Northup.

The newspaper says today in its correction that:

"An article on Jan. 20, 1853, recounting the story of Solomon Northup, whose memoir '12 Years a Slave' became a movie 160 years later that won the best picture Oscar at the 86th Academy Awards on Sunday night, misspelled his surname as Northrop. And the headline misspelled it as Northrup. The errors came to light on Monday after a Twitter user pointed out the article in The Times archives. (The errors notwithstanding, The Times described the article as 'a more complete and authentic record than has yet appeared.')"

This is the second decision in recent months by a newspaper to correct an error made long ago. Last November, as we reported, The Patriot-News in Harrisburg, Pa., retracted an editorial written in November 1863 that had panned President Lincoln's Gettysburg Address.

By the way, it looks like NPR.org has gotten Northup's name wrong at least twice — in posts by The Record and Code Switch blogs. We've alerted our corrections desk.

(H/T to USA Today.)

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

NPR

'Little House,' Big Demand: Never Underestimate Laura Ingalls Wilder

Wilder's memoir reveals that she witnessed more violence than you'd ever know from her children's books. The South Dakota State Historical Society can barely keep up with demand for the autobiography.
NPR

Coffee Horror: Parody Pokes At Environmental Absurdity Of K-Cups

The market for single-serving coffee pods is dominated by Keurig's K-Cups. But they aren't recyclable, and critics say that's making a monster of an environmental mess. Meet the K-Cup Godzilla.
WAMU 88.5

Maryland's Biggest Campaign Donors Didn't Get Results In 2014

A lot of dollars from big donors went toward Democrat Anthony Brown's loss in the gubernatorial election.

WAMU 88.5

Concerns About Digital Snooping Spur Bipartisan Legislative Push In Va.

Former state Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli and the ACLU are supporting legislation that would limit the ability of law-enforcement and regulatory agencies to collect information and build databases without a warrant.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.