3 Things to Remember When You Correct a Story

ericschererWhile it may be true that when you talk about trust and journalism, we’re talking about protecting sources and being brave enough to publish things that challenge the powers that be. But it’s also just about being trustworthy as a news source. And that means correcting your mistakes. As I notice poorly worded, or not even acknowledged, corrections floating around the Internet on a daily basis, it might be time for some refreshers.

1) Make it immediate. Since most of the time the reason for the mistake may be that you were rushing through the 24-hour news cycle, you should also remember that you can correct anywhere, anytime. As soon as you notice a mistake, announce it on Twitter even before the copy editor finishes updating the story for that matter. I think being overzealous is a good thing in this case.

2) Once you make the correction, make sure you’re announcing it right. Correct the story, your tweets, the tagline of a Facebook photo. Also, remember that semantics matter. An update is an update. A correction is a correction. This is bad form:

MORE is what you use when adding a link to video that complements the previous link to story. This is good form, all the way through:

3) Don’t forget that even silly things need to be corrected, like the print on someone’s jacket at the Kentucky Derby. And they should follow the style of your publication. Uber serious news org? Get uber serious about corrections. Serious, with a side of (god forbid) snark? Feel free to poke fun of yourself in the correction, too. Maybe be playful about it on social media so it garners attention, but keep it professional in the story body itself.

How are your corrections policies? Still evolving? Any major missteps? Let us know in the comments or tweet us @10,000Words.

Image via IJF14.