Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Even Fabricators Deserve Proper Treatment.

MEMBERS OF THE MEDIA are not perfect. We make mistakes all the time.

There is no acceptable excuse.

Craig Silverman, the blogger behind Regret the Error, reports, "Overall, the research suggests that between 40 and 60 percent of newspaper news stories have some type of error, be it factual or something of a more subjective nature. So that's the frequency. But here's the other part of the equation: Research from Maier published this year found that only 2 percent of factual errors were corrected."

A recent correction posted on his blog comes courtesy of Slate.com:

Dana Stevens originally and incorrectly identified Stephen Glass (pictured above) as a plagiarist. The former journalist fabricated stories; he did not copy the work of others.

How should journalists handle such frequent errors? Do corrections in print, on air or on-line make up for incorrect statements that are previously made public?

7 comments:

Cass said...

the public would be happier knowing that journalist care enough to go back through their stories and correct them, then for journalists to just let it go. All humans make mistakes so I don't mind if journalists get it wrong the first or second time through. They just have to keep changing and updating the facts.

Jason Pearlman said...

Well I'd say 40-60% of research has some type of factual error, be it factual or something of a more subjective error.

Who's to say that research isn't fabricated?

Who's to say that ALL published materials are not false?

It's probably an exaggeration, but to trust that tons of people researching articles is the same as trusting tons of people writing the articles.

All the people can't be all right, all the time.

No one reads corrections anyway.

Ariela Rose said...

Journalists who make mistakes should go back and correct their errors using the same mediums that the incorrect information was seen in. Even if no one reads the corrections at least the journalist will have something to refer to if they are accused of posting false information in the future.

Ariela Rose said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jason Pearlman said...

Maybe journalists should be paid not only by their skill, experience, etc, but also by how often they write factual incorrect things.

Kristen said...

I think that it depends on the story. All knowledge is merely an educated guess anyway. If the story is completely fabricated that is one thing, but if it's a minor detail I don't think they should waste their time.

If there was damage to be done it cannot be reversed.

Aidan Walsh said...

I think that there's a pretty big difference between getting some facts wrong and missing it as you write the article, and an editor and the rest of the line of gatekeepers not catching 30+ articles that were for the most part fabricated. And the majority of corrections are ignored by the public. All the more reason to spend adequate time and money in getting a real, and fairly accurate summary of events.