Los Angeles Times Corrects Its Story About Central Basin

Sep 30, 2011, 12:34 ET from Central Basin Municipal Water District

Central Basin welcomes the correction, urges better coverage of water issues

COMMERCE, Calif., Sept. 30, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Los Angeles Times printed a correction this week, setting right numerous errors in a story written by Sam Allen about Central Basin Municipal Water District earlier this month.

Specifically, the Times corrected a headline that accused the District of financing a website to create promotional stories.  Additionally, the Times addressed factual errors that had the District paying $200,000 for online media, when in reality the agency paid $70,000 for outreach services, an industry standard. Finally, the Times admitted that Central Basin had no contract with NewsHawksReview.com and that the website had not been created by Central Basin's consultant to tout the water agency, as previously reported.

"We thank the LA Times for its timely investigation and correction of the glaring errors by reporter Sam Allen, which included significant factual inaccuracies as well as loaded wording that created a misperception of the District," said Central Basin General Manager Art Aguilar. "While these are not the first mistakes to make it to print, they were egregious enough to take the newspaper to task."

"We know that it is rare for a newspaper to run corrections, but we must all remain steadfast in ensuring that journalism remains strong and accurate, particularly during this time of crisis within the industry, where strong reporters are few," Aguilar continued.

Since November 2010, the District has worked with Coghlan Consulting Group to provide news content for local news agencies, as well as for press releases and Central Basin website content. The stories have included reports on groundwater management, recycled water, global warming, California water supplies and drought threats among other topics.

"The issues surrounding water availability and water conservation are critical in Southern California and we will continue to inform the public about these issues," said Aguilar. "We hope to work with the Los Angeles Times and other media outlets to bring greater attention to these issues, given their importance to the people of the region that we serve."

Source: From the LA Times

For the record
September 29, 2011

Central Basin: An article in the Sept. 14 LAT Extra section about Google News delisting a website that had published stories "written in the image of real news" paid for by the Central Basin Municipal Water District incorrectly stated that the agency contracted with the website, NewsHawksReview.com, to create the promotional stories. The agency contracted with a public relations consultant, Coghlan Consulting Group, for the stories and other public relations efforts. Also, the article misstated that the agency paid the consultant nearly $200,000 under the contract. While the district approved paying that amount, it has paid only $70,000 so far, according to public records. The online and print headlines for the article also incorrectly said that the consultant created the website to tout the water agency and that it was financed by the agency. Although consultant Ed Coghlan stated that News Hawks Review was a part of his company and he was listed as a reporter on the website, he did not create the site for the agency and it was not directly financed by the agency.


Central Basin is a public agency that wholesales imported water to cities, mutual water companies, investor-owned utilities and private companies in southeast Los Angeles County, serving a population of more than 2 million. In addition, Central Basin provides the region with recycled water for municipal, commercial and industrial uses. Formed in 1952, Central Basin is committed to ensuring a safe and reliable water supply for the region. For more information please visit www.centralbasin.org.

Contact: Valerie Howard
Phone: 323.201.5552

SOURCE Central Basin Municipal Water District