Our Views: Getting facts right

If journalism is the first rough draft of history, it is important that our industry make every effort to get things right. And, if necessary, produce corrections for errors made in the haste of news gathering and writing.

Of course, much of the value of corrections — just as the value of journalism — is in immediacy. So maybe The New York Times is going a bit overboard in a correction to its 1853 article on the plight of Solomon Northup.

The hero of the Oscar-winning “12 Years a Slave” is long gone, but the Times recently acknowledged its mistake in misspelling the victim’s name. James Karst, the Sunday editor for the Times-Picayune, pointed out the error in the original story, now widely read because of the movie.

A long time coming, more than 150 years, but nevertheless another step toward accuracy in the profession. And a lesson that in the tsunami of reporting and writing in a digital world, maybe those old values still have a place.