Excuses, excuses, excuses
I'm afraid I look like a proper patsy today, as Danwei, one of China's best blogs, points out.
My editors on the website, to spare my blushes, have simply excised my intro (you can see it on Danwei however).
There's no excuse for it. I didn't read the original source. I was in such a hurry to turn out a piece that I latched onto a snippet of hearsay and used it as a lively intro.
But the gist of the piece is still valid. China has had a "messy" year and if it wants to turn things around in 2009, it should (a) rethink how to better balance its economy and (b) start building a social safety net for the millions of workers who are being laid off.
Call me ungrateful, but the only complaint I have is with the man who actually tries to defend me on the Danwei comments section. I appreciate his good sense, of course, but it stings when he labels me a "lazy journalist".
It is laziness not to double-check the original source personally. And as you can see, journalists can't get away with this sloppiness.
But at the same time, the demands of writing simultaneously for several different platforms is stretching the traditional media thin, and I've had a long, hard week.
Anyway, I suppose the silver lining to my embarrassment is that it shows that even in the current climate , people still pay attention to newspapers. Now please do go and catch up on the rest of my work.