How long should ‘bad press’ stick around?

New York Times Public Editor Clark Hoyt reports that old news stories are making life miserable for people, even if the information they contain is outdated or just plain wrong.

People are coming forward at the rate of roughly one a day to complain that they are being embarrassed, are worried about losing or not getting jobs, or may be losing customers because of the sudden prominence of old news articles that contain errors or were never followed up.

[Continue reading When Bad News Follows You]

Yet another reason to get your facts straight. On the other hand, should even correct stories be thrust to the forefront by optimized search code such as that utilized by the Times? If you host a college party that gets raided, and police find a 17-yeard-old freshman there, should your arrest for “corrupting the morals of a minor” be the first thing people find about you online for the rest of your life? Hoyt is right to raise concern.

[Addendum (8/27): It’s not just the Times who needs to be worried about this.]

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This blog is maintained by Dr. Matthew M. Reavy as a service to journalism students at the University of Scranton.

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