What I’m about to say may mystify you, as I virtually throw myself over the bridge, in front of the bus, whatever metaphor you choose.
Whatever happened to accountability for fact errors in journalism? Yes, as a practicing journalist I realize just how easy it is to make a fact error accidentally. And every time a journalist writes anything, her byline and reputation is on the line. In the Internet age, that’s scary. Every word I’m writing right now is posted under a domain bearing my first and last name, it’s more than a little frightening.
But that’s no excuse for what I see from too many news organizations, which is corrections being issued by simply correcting the text in the article, and making a minimal mention of the fact that there is a correction, if it is mentioned at all.
Back in the old days of journalism, and by old, I mean mere years ago, a page was devoted to setting the record straight. The way things are now may be easier for journalists, but they are not serving the readers and viewers, who deserve the truth, as well as they could be served.
I believe corrections should be made in as public a way as the original content, making a maximum effort to make sure that all who received the misinformation, receive the correction to that information.
Not all publications have this problem, thank you Slate and it’s been getting better in the past year, but it’s still something I would like to see worked on as a community. Of course, a bigger and better change might be figuring out how to make a profit off Internet content. We can’t do that because users — myself included — like the comfort of not paying for things. Likewise, I as a journalist like having more obscured corrections pages. But that doesn’t make it right, for either issue.
So I threw myself under the bus, I can’t help it. I take ethics VERY seriously, perhaps sometimes too seriously, even when it causes me inconvenience.