Journalist readers among you will know that print newspapers work in different editions. When I worked in the Irish Examiner there were two editions – first edition, which was the first print run and went to the four corners of Ireland in the early hours of the morning, and the second, later edition, which was finished later and went mainly to the local Munster audience (and was localised to that audience).
The same is true of the Sunday Independent. It has a “city edition” which is printed on Saturday night and you will see on the shelves in Dublin city centre on Saturday night. Later edition(s) are then later printed and distributed.
But I was surprised to see significant edition differences between a column that Sunday Independent editor Anne Harris wrote in reaction to a piece in the Phoenix this week.
In the city edition – the early one – Harris wrote quite a strongly worded piece defending her role as editor, following a Phoenix article recently which she described as “lies”. There was one critical paragraph that was substantially edited between editions (there are other changes too but I think this is the more significant).
The early edition of the paragraph was written thusly (emphasis mine):
Since, as I pointed out earlier, none of this is true, I am clearly not the only one defamed. Denis O’Brien is the major shareholder in INM. In theory, with 29pc of the shares, he does not control it. In practice, he does.
But in the later edition of the paper, it said:
Since, as I pointed out earlier, none of this is true, I am clearly not the only one defamed. Denis O’Brien is the major shareholder in INM. In theory, with 29pc of the shares, he does not control it.
That’s quite a difference. The online edition does not contain the bolded sentence.
I’m not sure this clearly significant change could be blamed on an over zealous sub-editor. The meaning of the entire paragraph has been altered.
Why was the column changed and by whom? Was it done with the permission of the editor and author? Which column represents the truly held beliefs of that author? Surely it can’t be both?
For the record here are photographs of both versions:
The early edition:
The later edition: