Friday, August 17, 2007

They stand... uncorrected?

Jack Shafer's "Press Box" column on corrects the misimpression many have about newspapers and corrections policies, highlighting a forthcoming study from the University of Oregon's School of Journalism and Communications, which notes that fewer than 2 percent of erroneous daily newspaper stories are corrected. Some 3600 news stories were analyzed, and primary sources contacted, with almost 70 percent of the sources completing a survey. They found:
....2,615 factual errors in 1,220 stories. That means that about half of the stories for which a survey was completed contained one or more errors. Just 23 of the flawed stories—less than 2 percent—generated newspaper corrections. No paper corrected more than 4.2 percent of its flawed articles.
What's more, while 130 of the news sources asked for corrections, only four corrections were made. That tells us that too few sources are pursuing corrections, one factor on which you can have an impact. With new tools like the comments option on Google News, there's no excuse for not pursuing a correction in a news story.

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