Newspapers and online publications are constantly releasing content to stay up to date with the latest news. While trying to get this content out, there may be a few copy or factual errors that get swept into the finished article. Every online publication wants to be the first article people click on to be informed.
“Accuracy is our goal, and candor is our defense,” The Washington Post’s credo said, for handling corrections promptly in an interview with Nieman Reports.
News accuracy is a challenge that dates back. It is now heightened by the real-time reality of the digital world. There is now the challenge of average citizens reporting from their own multimedia as well as other professional journalists.
We live in a time where people can easily report and post their own news online without the advice and corrections from an editor. “The need is greater than ever to set in place a coherent system of correcting errors—despite the digital practitioners’ assurances about the Web’s inherent self-correcting nature,” Neiman Report’s Scott R. Maier said.
Some newspapers are hesitant to admit that they have made a reporting mistake, others release copy errors, updates and fact corrections or have them listed at the bottom of the online article.
In a factual errors study conducted by Maier, he found from 10 daily newspapers, nearly all errors—97 percent—went uncorrected.
The code of ethics of the Society of Professional Journalists states: “Admit mistakes and correct them promptly.”
Read more about Nieman Report’s view on this topic here.