New York Times apologises for Berkeley article

New York Times apologises for Berkeley article

By Eoin English

The New York Times has apologised if a controversial article on the Berkeley balcony tragedy gave the impression that the victims were to blame.

It has also accepted that some of the language in the news report published yesterday was "insensitive".

It follows widespread criticism today of its report on the accident in California which linked the partying lifestyle of Irish J1 students to the deaths of six young Irish students in Berkeley early yesterday.

The report also claimed the J1 visa programme had become “a source of embarrassment for Ireland”.

Equality Minister Aodhán Ó Ríordáin led the national outrage at the article here, branding it a “a disgrace” and calling on the newspaper to apologise for and withdraw the article.

“We have six people dead because a balcony collapsed — no other reason,” he said.

“The nature and tone of the article is a disgrace. I think it would be the right thing to do to withdraw that report and apologise.”

In a statement to the Irish Examiner this afternoon, the New York Times said the article was a second-day story following yesterday's news​ story​ of the collapse​.

"​It was intended to explain in greater detail why these young Irish students were in the US," its vice president of corporate communications, Eileen Murphy, said.

"We understand and agree that some of the language in the piece could be interpreted as insensitive, particularly in such close proximity to this tragedy.

"It was never our intention to blame the victims and we apologize if the piece left that impression. We will continue to cover this story and report on the young people who lost their lives."

Despite earlier reports, the article has not been removed from its website.

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