Monday, October 29, 2007

Norman Lebrecht Article on Wikipedia

I've just been cited as a source for the Wikipedia article on Norman Lebrecht (along with Bob Shingleton of On An Overgrown Path) regarding Mr. Lebrecht's statements regarding the classical music blogosphere's perceived lack of accuracy and subsequent comeuppance on the recent withdrawal of The Life and Death of Classical Music after alleged false statements about Naxos Records and Klaus Heymann:

Lebrecht is on record as attacking the accuracy of music reporting in the blogosphere. In his Evening Standard column he wrote that "Until bloggers deliver hard facts … paid for newspapers will continue to set the standard as the only show in town".[4] Some bloggers used this statement to charge Lebrecht with hypocrisy in light of the Heymann settlement.[5][6]
The important issue is that we are all accountable to the same standard, whether bloggers, journalists, or historians, and have to answer to the consequences if we publish something incorrect or false. However, if a blogger is asked to retract, it can be done instantaneously through editing or deleting a post, whereas once a book is published, the process is much more difficult and the edition must be either reprinted with corrections or pulped.


  1. While this it is true that errors on blogs are easily corrected, it is fair to say that most bloggers don't have the time and resources to carry out in depth research/interviews etc.

    On the whole, those writing books do so the bar should be set higher. Sure, minor factual errors are inevitable but even a sympathetic interpretation of Lebrecht's alleged errors seem outside the arena of good faith.

    Why this incident needs its own wikipedia page is another issue entirely. It is hardly significant in the grand scheme of things.

  2. Thanks for the comment, Miss Mussel.

    I also thought the bar should be set higher for publishing companies, and their partial responsibility for checking facts.

    For the record, I have no idea who created and edited the Wikipedia entry for Mr. Lebrecht. It is not without trepidation that I noticed the citation of classical music bloggers in the footnotes--our influence, or perceived influence seems to be growing and we should be wary of both fact and intent when writing articles (esp. regarding British and Canadian libel law, which differs from First Amendment-governed American civil law).