Home > accuracy > You’re the editor: How would you handle online errors?

You’re the editor: How would you handle online errors?

If my name is spelled wrong in a story published online, how should the paper correct the error? Should my name simply be fixed in the story or should a correction be attached? What if the error is more substantive? What if the original story says my favorite part of Nebraska is the Sandhills but I’ve never really been to the Sandhills? Instead the reporter misunderstood when I told her my favorite travel experience in Nebraska was seeing the Sandhill cranes – not going to the Sandhills.  Should the story be corrected? Should the correction be attached to the story so readers know an earlier version was wrong? What if the newspaper reports on Harvey Perlman’s salary and gets it wrong. The salary is off by $50,000 annually. How should the story be corrected online? Should the paper simply update the story with the correct salary? Should it attach a correction to the original story? And what if I’m arrested for drunken driving and the paper writes a story about it? If the charges are dropped, should the paper remove the story from its archive? Should the paper attach a correction to the original story? Don’t forget, chances are the original stories will show up in a Google search.

Read the Columbia Journalism Review story on archival research by Craig Silverman here. Then read this piece on Online corrections. Silverman, who writes the Regret the Error blog and tracks media mistakes,  obviously feels strongly about the issue. But it may not be as easy to deal with as it sounds at first glance.

Once you’ve read the stories, answer the questions I raised in the first paragraph of this post. And tell me briefly how you think newspapers should handle online corrections overall.    If you were the editor what would your policy be for fixing online errors? Write your responses in the appropriate class section below. This is due by Monday, Oct. 4, at the start of class.

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