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Errors, A.M. class

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  1. Lucy Fitzpatrick
    September 29, 2010 at 6:58 pm

    If my name were spelled incorrectly in an article, whether it was published online or in print I would expect for it to be corrected by the next publication of that news source. I think the correction should be included with an asterisk attached to the incorrect spelling like the organization Slate does. If I am misunderstood when giving an answer in an interview I think it should be common courtesy for the publication to clearly specify what my intended meaning was. This could be done with a correction notice following the article. If a matter of public interest, like Harvey Perlman’s salary is disclosed incorrectly, I think there should be another article printed that corrects the mistake and clarifies what his salary is. If someone is arrested for drunken driving and an article is written about him or her, that story should not be removed after a certain period of time. The news is the news and can’t just be deleted from archives just like a story can’t just be deleted from a reader’s memory. If the charges are dropped, that information should also be published, however the story shouldn’t be removed because the incident did happen.

    I think there should be a protocol for online errors that is followed by all publications, similar to the AP Style. I think that misspellings can be corrected without notice but, like was stated in one of the articles, anything that is factually incorrect should be followed by a correction. I don’t think that publications should be able to just simply correct the factual error. Some readers will have already consumed that information. If they happen to look at the article again for a second reference, they might be confused if information is just magically changed. However, if a correction is listed it will be clear what the mistake was and what the information should be. I think making corrections to factual errors and not just fixing them will help keep journalists accountable as well as ethical. If the public expects journalists to have a certain amount of morals, journalists themselves should be able to hold themselves accountable to those standards.

  2. Jeremy Hamann
    October 2, 2010 at 11:14 pm

    Transparency is a key to winning back readers of news. In the case of mistakes then, it makes sense to be up front to readers. I am of the notion that print and online publications need to do away with sly correction techniques or even no correction technique. If it takes the republication of a story with noted corrections, then that’s what it takes. It is also an idea to publish a half or third page of corrections from the previous week. It may cost the paper money but put the heat on the reporters to do better reporting, attach their name to their mistake. No matter the “size” of the mistake, incorrect name, misreported salary or even incorrectly reported accusations, there should be the same amount of attention given to the mistake and correction.

    The internet allows for an amazingly moldable aesthetic in that you can code a page a certain way it, instantaneously, will look that way. This is not so with the printing press. In terms of error correction I believe that web editors should employ attention grabbing techniques to point out their mistakes. This, I think, would not lessen the prestige or quality-reputation of a publication only the contrary. Readers would see that the publication is being up-front and transparent about its mistakes, in turn upping its reputation for integrity. A web editor needs to make corrections known before the reader starts reading the story. All “spoiler alert” notions aside, I believe that it would help the reader’s comprehension going into a piece where corrections have been made. Alert the reader with a dignified but not-so-dire warning (maybe an “oops” graphic) of how the reporter made a mistake in a story. And make it attention grabbing, not something that blends in with the page. A positive side effect would be that a reporter would not like to have this tagged onto their article, hence forcing them to report all the more accurately.

    Online archiving should take account for mistakes and how they were corrected. It is sloppy, and dishonest to history, to file-away a scrubbed article. There is no need for the notion of making mistakes to be a scarlet letter for a paper. Publications should embrace transparency and this includes archiving. Archive how you went about making corrections alongside of the mistakes. Let history judge you not only on how you messed up but how you, with dignity, handled and admitted those mistakes.

  3. Danielle Kaster
    October 3, 2010 at 3:43 pm

    In one of the articles it was mentioned that the Internet makes correcting mistakes an easy process, but instead it has caused many journalists to become sloppy with their work. No matter what the error, a correction should always be addressed. A lot of people have very little trust in the media; to gain credibility journalists need to face their error and correct it. I would be more upset if a newspaper tried to hide a mistake. It would make me wonder what else they have tried to hide that I have not found?
    I think the best way to correct a mistake is to place an asterisk after the correct. When the asterisk is clicked it brings the reader to a page that addresses what the error was. If my name is spelled wrong, an attachment should be created. It may not seem like a big deal, but a simple misspelling could be a whole other person. If the writer says my favorite place is somewhere I have never been, then the writer reported something false. It is his or her duty to correct it. Once again it may seem like a simple error, but where do you draw the line? What translates to a big mistake and one a small mistake? If Harvey Perlman’s salary is reporter wrong, an attachment needs to be included. I also think that if charges are dropped for someone, any articles regarding that issue should be erased from the archive. Information like that can be very detrimental to someone’s reputation and livelihood. I do not see why it would be necessary to keep an article that is irrelevant.

  4. Marissa Coopersmith
    October 3, 2010 at 9:58 pm

    “For Silverman and others, it’s a matter of truthfullness.”

    This simple statement explains why all errors deserve a correction with special attention: because we’re journalists and we’re responsible for the truth. Journalists and news sources want to be known for their credibility, and not correcting errors will damage credibility in a heartbeat, especially when the mistakes are repeated and continue to not be corrected. Journalists must do their job with a commitment to accuracy and honesty. This includes, as both articles talked about, not “scrubbing” or fixing an error online with no notification of doing so for the public. Not doing so is a matter of ethics.

    If my name or any other was misspelled in a publication, it should be corrected in the soonest publication after the mistake was caught. If published online, the error should be recognized by an asterisk next to the name and then the correction of the right spelling of the name should be placed at the bottom of the article. If I had conducted an interview and missunderstood the person, the publication should fix the error by clearly specifying what the person interviewed meant and what the mistake was on the part of the reporter in order to distinguish the error from the truth. This would best be done with a correction article or note that is published with the next publication, specifically stating the error and referring to the article it was in. Maybe it would even be wise to include the excerpt of the sentence that had the error in it. If the newspaper reports an article online about Harvey Perlman’s salary and gets it wrong, especially if the salary is off as far as $50,000 annually, the story should be corrected through a re-write. The article with the error should be tossed and the new updated article should be the only one available with a spcific note pointing out the error and making clear that there was a previous publication with the error and what the error was and now, what the correct number should be. If someone is arrested for drunken driving and the paper writes a story about it and the charges are later dropped, the paper should not remove the story from its archive, but either attach a correction to the original story or publish an updated new one, attatching the original story to it. Either way, the two should somehow be strongly linked.

    Fixing all of these errors that happen every day may seem difficult and time consuming, but it is important for a news publication to be diligent about this and take errors seriously, since it’s so easy to just “scrub” things away, especially online, and hope that nothing happens or there is no uproar as a result. If I was the editor, my policy for fixing online errors wouldn’t be very strict, but my main and most important rule would requireat least some sort of correction. Having a correction in general is more important than being picky about the type or the way the correction is made. Once my newsroom can dominate this, then I could move on to enforcing stricter standards for correction. But the quote from the two articles that I like most (by Craig Silverman) says this very well: “A story doesn’t end or resolve when it’s published online. It begins, and we’re responsible for it.”

  5. Elle Engebretson
    October 3, 2010 at 10:30 pm

    When errors occur in the paper or online newspaper, certain corrections need to made. If my name was spelled wrong online the paper should correct it and update the article immediately. A person’s name is their identity and it is a big spelling mistake that shouldn’t happen. If the error is more substantial, like a wrong quote from a person, the story should absolutely be corrected with an attachment. If the story is online it could be updated at once. A quote from a person is vital in a story, if there is a written error in it readers need to know that the quote written was not correct. It can alter how a person feels about the story and the actual person whose quote was used could see damaging effects from the story depending on the error. Online errors are the easiest to correct. There can be immediate changes and corrections. However, a simple update of the original version isn’t enough even for an online newspaper. Journalists and the media need to be held accountable for their errors and a correction needs to be made. Harvey Perlman’s salary is a perfect example of a correction that should be made. The updated story should have the correction on it, visible enough for readers to notice. If I was arrested for drunken driving and the charges were dropped I would want the original dropped from the archives. Since nothing is ever really deleted once it is on the Internet, the original should be erased and only there should only be version of the new updated story for people to read. Also, a correction should be made since the original story could ruin my reputation and would be considered inaccurate information once the charges were dropped. If I was an editor I would absolutely not allow scrubbing to fix errors. When journalists use the method of scrubbing they are acting as if the error never occurred. My online policy would be to update the story with corrections as soon as possible and also attach a correction to the original story.

  6. Mitch Mattern
    October 3, 2010 at 11:30 pm

    If a name is spelled incorrectly in an online story, the name should be corrected in the story, and a correction should appear on the same page as the story. If a reporter mistakenly writes that someone likes the Sandhills, rather than Sandhill cranes, a correction should also be attached to the story. If a newspaper incorrectly reports Harvey Perlman’s salary by any amount online, I think a correction should definitely be attached to the article. I think in that situation another article should also be published announcing that the original salary was incorrect. If a person is arrested for drunken driving and the charges are later dropped, I don’t think the story should be removed from the archive. An update should be attached to the story saying the charges were dropped, but the fact that they were arrested was a news story, and it should remain in the news archive.

    I think corrections should be made to online news stories with nearly all errors. I completely agree with Craig Silverman when he says, “[i]f a mistake introduces a factual error, introduces confusion to the reader, misleads the reader or changes the meaning then you need to append a correction.” No correction is needed for most simple grammatical errors, but in every other case a correction should be attached to the story. I think it shows a lot of professionalism to admit a mistake and correct it. It is also a disservice to the public if the paper just scrubs the errors, and it also creates more confusion. In my opinion, corrections should appear at the top of the story just so that people know right away the story has changed from the original. If the correction is just slapped on to the bottom a lot of people won’t even see it. I think many papers are afraid of admitting their mistakes, but whenever I see a correction, I appreciate that the editors took the time to fix their mistake and let me know about it.

  7. Justin Van Nostrand
    October 4, 2010 at 8:51 am

    If a name is spelled wrong in an online story it should be corrected in the article but there must be clear indication that is was corrected at the beginning or end of the article. If the reporter writes about the Sandhills instead of Sandhill Cranes then a correction should be made in the article so that no one looking at the post later gets the wrong information. There must be a note and clear indication on the page showing that the correction was made. If Harvey Perlman’s salary was reported incorrectly in an online story, it should be corrected in the story but then a note at the beginning or the end of the article should show that the correction was made. If someone is accused of drunken driving and the charges are dropped a followup news story should be written with links to the first article. The first article should be updated and the followup should be attached to the original article.

    Corrections in online stories need to be obvious. The only exceptions are spelling errors, gramatical errors and small errors that don’t change the meaning of a story. Factual errors need to be blatantly corrected with a crossed out text and then the correct facts inserted after. At the top of the article there needs to be a disclaimer of some sort indicating to readers before they even start reading to be aware of the upcoming correction or (hopefully not) corrections.

  8. Samantha Rendon
    December 8, 2010 at 1:33 am

    If I were the editor of a newspaper, I would not unpublish stories. After reading the archival research article, I feel making corrections in the form of adding a section to the original story is the best way to go about making the necessary changes.
    If my name or part of a story about me was incorrect, I would expect the paper to publish an apology and correction on the same page as the original story. This not only pleases the subject but also shows that the paper and editors value their readers and community. The corrections should also be noticeable on the page. For example, in bold or highlighted text- showing that the paper takes the information seriously and making sure readers see the correct facts.
    The issue of people being arrested and having the charges dropped is a sensitive one. In this area, the paper should act in a way that benefits the majority. For example, if it was an insignificant misdemeanor then it’s probably okay to remove the story from the archive. However, if the story is about a sexual predator living near a school, even if the charges are dropped, I feel it would be in the best interest of the community to have that information available.

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