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Central Illinois Editor

Central Illinois editor for Lee Enterprises Central Illinois.

We found out Thursday morning that Jacobson Warehouse Co. had filed a notice with the federal government saying 168 workers at its North 27th Street facility would be laid off. We posted a story at

What we didn't know then, and what were told later by county economic development leaders, was that another company was taking over the warehouse and those jobs would remain, according to those officials. 

The story quickly was updated Thursday to clarify, but not before some said we caused unnecessary commotion and stress.

Those people are right.

We jumped the gun and didn't have the proper context.

As the Society of Professional Journalists Code of Ethics puts it, "Remember that neither speed nor format excuses inaccuracy."

That's absolutely true.

Was our reporting intentionally malicious? It was not. Our job is to report news as it develops and update when details come to us.

But in a community such as ours, in which there is rightfully so much concern about jobs, more care should have been taken. There are countless backers working to ensure economic success. This was not needed.

​It's a lesson for all of us. I have long been an advocate that, as journalists, we correct our mistakes with speed and transparency, and we explain what happened. Admitting missteps helps us learn.

And learning will be happening after this case.

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Contact Chris Coates at (217) 421-8905. Follow him on Twitter: @ByChrisCoates


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