She notes a letter from a subscriber of a half-century, wondering why so much information was inaccurate: the identity of the shooter, the way he entered the school, the suggestion his mother worked there, and so on. Much of it was unattributed and much was reported in the context of other similar reports elsewhere.
Sullivan thinks this iterative approach, in which online journalism corrects as it goes, is not acceptable if it isn't on a safer foundation of attribution and transparency. She likens the journalism of the shooting to that of the presidential election and the distinct caution the Times exercised in the latter.
"The Times can’t get pulled into the maelstrom of Twitter-era news," she wrote. "It has to stand apart from those news sources that are getting information out in a fast, piecemeal and frequently inaccurate way. That process has its own appeal and its own valuable purpose. But The Times should be its authoritative and accurate counterbalance."