Conscientious readers should recycle their old newspapers, but papers shouldn’t be recycling their stories.
Mediawatch listeners get in touch from time to time when they see the same stories appear in their papers twice - often a few days apart, but sometimes in the same edition.
It happens more often these days because different parts of the paper are edited by different people in different places. They hope readers won't notice the error, or that they won't complaint about it if they do. So credit is due to The Southland Times this week.
When a reader in Invercargill wrote in to point out the paper had run a story about pop star Katy Perry trying to buy a convent on both page 8 and page 15 last weekend, the paper published her letter and the editor fronted up with this reply:
"Well spotted. It is certainly not our intention to double up stories, but despite our best efforts it sometimes does happen. We'll try hard not to let it happen again"
But it would have been better if they’d tried harder when putting out the Tuesday edition of the paper that the mea culpa appeared in.
At the top of the very page that carried the letter and the apology, was this editorial:
But The Southland Times had already published the same one day before, albeit with a different headline.
In Monday’s paper, the headline was: "The government made the right call by keeping Kiwirail"