July 28, 2011
"Readers of the The Atlantic, I feel compelled to explain to you that the freakin’ dog ate my homework."

This is from an actual note that an actual journalist for The Atlantic sent to readers of his blog at The Atlantic site. It attempts to explain to those readers why his update to a post (Mumbai comes to Norway) suggesting radical Muslims were behind the killing spree in Norway made it look like he had presented this claim as just one theory among many, when in fact, he had not. You can get the full background here (and you should; it’s interesting.) But enjoy the note. It’s a masterpiece of its kind. On the other side of it, I will tell you what he should have said.

Jeffrey Goldberg of the Atlantic explains why his update didn’t look like an update.

UPDATE ON THE PREVIOUS UPDATE (Monday the 25th): A number of readers have pointed out that my previous caveat give the impression that it was an instantaneous caveat, when in fact it wasn’t. It was written a short while after the original post went up, and was labeled “Update” originally (I’ve since affixed the word “update” to it again. What happened was that I was driving and had connectivity problems, and so when I added further updates (below), I inadvertently erased the whole post, and had to rescue it from a Word document, but in re-posting that word document (or most of it—I saved only most of it) I dropped the word “update,” along with a couple of other things. And then I thought I had saved it and posted it, when it fact the “save” didn’t go through until a later “save” of another update. When the post went out on my RSS feed, I believe it still had the word “update” in it. Though I don’t know for sure, but will check my RSS feed when I get back. I’m sorry this sounds so confusing, but I want to clear up the impression that I folded in caveats later without saying that they were added later. In truth, I can’t figure out what happened, because I thought when I wrote the aforementioned caveat, it had successfully posted, when it seems that it hadn’t.

i barely understand the previous paragraph. Suffice it to say I don’t want to leave anyone with either the impression that the caveat paragraph was posted simultaneously with the original content of the post, or that it was added hours or days later. I wrote it almost right after I posted originally, but it apparently wasn’t saved into text until one of the next times I opened up this post. My bad—no blogging and driving for me. And of course it was my bad not to lard even more caveats into the post in the first place.

Jay Rosen’s recommended update to Jeffrey Goldberg’s, “Mumbai Comes to Norway” post. 

UPDATE, JULY 23. Well, it’s now clear that I should not have written the paragraphs above. This is a well known peril in blogging: posting without a net. And I know all about that peril. But I let my reptile brain override my internal editor, and that was just dumb of me, not to mention unprofessional. So I apologize to readers of The Atlantic.

MY UPDATE: Goldberg responds on Twitter. Twice.

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