‘N.Y. Times’ Baghdad Correspondent Corrects ‘E&P’ Story

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By: E&P Staff

To the editors of Editor & Publisher:

I’m writing to correct an error in your article titled, “N.Y. Times Documents Killing of Civilian in Fallujah,” published on Nov. 20. The article recounted a story I wrote about an Iraqi woman, Sahar, whose mother was killed on Nov. 12 by American Marines during the seige of Falluja.

The final paragraph in your story implies that our newspaper, for whatever reason, decided to hold off on reporting on the incident when our embedded reporter, Dexter Filkins, and our embedded photographer, Ashley Gilbertson, first witnessed its aftermath.

You wrote: “A picture of the aftermath of the incident, by Times photographer Ashley Gilbertson, accompanies the story. There was no explanation of why the story did not run until eight days after the fatal incident.”

In fact, this incident was documented in several paragraphs in a story that carried Mr. Filkins’ byline on Nov. 13. He provides a first-hand account of the aftermath of the shooting. Some of the material in my article — the
recounting of the reaction of the Iraqi soldiers, for example — comes directly from Mr. Filkins’ story. Furthermore, the paper ran on Nov. 13 two photographs taken by Mr. Gilbertson of the incident — one on the front
page, and one on the inside.

Days later, we encountered Sahar purely by coincidence while searching the hospitals of Baghdad for civilians who had been injured in Falluja. When she began telling her story, I recognized it as the same incident that Mr.
Filkins had written about earlier. The details in the earlier story differ somewhat than those in the second article for various reasons. But the two stories are about the same fatal shooting.

Edward Wong
The New York Times

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