Saturday, October 03, 2015

Should the correction be proportionate to the original article?

This debate still continues.

Newspapers tend to bury their corrections. (Of course, broadcasters just tend to ignore most of them -- there's always the next newscast to get it right.)

 The argument, at least one of them, goes that putting the correction in that small box on the same page every day means people will know where they are and can find them.

The counter is that people tend to look where they look every day, not necessarily at that page with the corrections box.

I can buy the same-place argument for your run of the mill brief or below-the-fold copy.

But when you banner something across the top of your business page and the central fact of your lede is wrong

Should the correction be done like this?

And when you make a strategic change in wording on your website, shouldn't the correction be noted, even to helpfully (assuming you caught it quickly online) to say it was wrong in some printed editions? (I don't see any note at all on this page giving readers any hint.)

And we wonder why the latest Gallup Poll shows a record low of trust in the media?

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At 2/20/16, 5:08 PM, Blogger Miranda Bradford said...

In this blog entry you mentioned the debate between newspapers placing their corrections box in hidden areas. In high school I used to be in charge of the corrections box for your newspaper and understand the struggle of where to place something like that for the readers to be able to find, yet keep it from being distracting from all the other important information contained in the newspaper. I do find it important to have a corrections box for print newspapers since it keeps a newspaper appearing more professional to their readers by realizing and accepting their mistakes and the importance of striving for perfection. I am now in college and i am a journalist with an online newspaper for the university. Do you think it is still important to have a corrections box for online newspapers? If so what is the best way to go about incorporating one on an online website?

At 2/20/16, 5:41 PM, Blogger Doug Fisher said...

The argument for the printed box is that people would always know where to go for the corrections. And for smaller stories/briefs, there's an argument for that (though there is some doubt that people really do use the publication that way).

Mine, however, was that when you mess up in a section-lead story, you shouldn't relegate it to a box inside. At least put the box for that correction on that page.

As for online, the correction definitely should be explained at the bottom or top of the story page. (I prefer top, but many news sites, in the gingerly way they hate to say they were wrong, put them at the bottom, sometimes of 10- or 15-screen stories.) There's even an argument (and some do this) that you lay the note pointing out the change in the text where the original error was made with distinguishing font, its own graf, etc.)

Arguments have been made -- and I like them -- that since it's so easy online to aggregate these, there also should be a corrections page for readers' convenience that points to however many you want to list (I hope not many!).


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