posts about or somewhat related to ‘corrections’

Corrections: Setting the Record Straight

Via The New York Times:

This just in: we made a mistake – 136 years ago.

It was in a Jan. 9, 1877 article about a police officer shot by a saloon burglar.

The Times called him Officer McDonnell.

His name was McDowell.

The error came to light when we researched a correction to a recent article about the history of the New York Yankees logo.

The record is now set straight.

FJP: We give the Times a pass but presume this caught mistake won’t be the last.

Never Let a Correction Interfere With a Headline
Lessons learned from the Washington Post.
H/T: Jay Rosen

Never Let a Correction Interfere With a Headline

Lessons learned from the Washington Post.

H/T: Jay Rosen

wnyc:

In the newest Vogue. Greatest correction ever? (h/t buzzfeed)
-Jody, BL Show-

FJP: Corrections are beautiful things.

wnyc:

In the newest Vogue. Greatest correction ever? (h/t buzzfeed)

-Jody, BL Show-

FJP: Corrections are beautiful things.

The Missing Link →

Ian Kramar takes us to task for a post earlier today about Sky News reporter Alex Crawford. Seems we forgot to link our attribution:

C’mon futurejournalismproject, you should know better… Including a link to MacGuyver’s wikipedia entry but not The Daily Mail’s article you swiped the info from. I guess this is the future of journalism, cutesy links to bs on wikipedia instead of meaningful attribution.

Nope. That’s not what the future of journalism looks like.

But it is a good catch of a missing link, not of missing attribution. The original article is at the Telegraph (not the Daily Mail as Ian writes), and can be read here.

Shocking as it may seem, we sometimes mess up too. Our original post is now updated to include the link to the Telegraph story.

Thanks Ian for catching that. 

We will, however, make no excuses for MacGyver.

Update: We originally misspelled Ian’s last name as Kramer. It is “Kramar” and been corrected above. Sorry Ian.

The Morning Retraction →

On Tuesday we linked to a Reuters article stating that News Corp received $4.8 billion in tax refunds from the US government. The reporting was incorrect.

Via Reuters:

Please be advised that the David Cay Johnston column published on Tuesday stating that Rupert Murdoch’s U.S.-based News Corp made money on income taxes is wrong and has been withdrawn. News Corp’s filings show the company changed reporting conventions in its 2007 annual report when it reversed the way it showed positive and negative numbers. A new column correcting and explaining the error in more detail will be issued shortly.

As the big boys and girls say, we regret the error.

Correcting Errors Via Twitter
That misinformation can spread at lightning speed across social networks is a contemporary fact of life. News organizations — and those that watch them — have long tried to figure out how to correct errors post-publishing in a world where an initial misguided tweet takes on a life of its own in a spiral of retweets.
Paul Bradshaw of the Online Journalism Blog wrestled up an interesting hack to address the issue. After seeing reports that News of the World could destroy incriminating evidence against it once it shut down, he created @autodebunker in order to counter the information.
The idea here was to automate feedback to those retweeting information that had been debunked. His MacGyvered solution:
Create Twitter Account - in this case, @autodebunker
Grab RSS feed for Twitter posts that need debunking - done via Twitter advanced search
Create new RSS feed with Feedburner - This gives you some flexibility with the feed parameters
Use the Twitterfeed app to auto-publish your debunking - after all, you can’t manually chase down every retweet.
If interested in doing the same, check out Bradshaw’s post where he explains each of the steps above. It’s not a foolproof solution, and obviously can’t tackle all the errors we find online, but it is a neat hack to counter the misinformation that bugs you.

Correcting Errors Via Twitter

That misinformation can spread at lightning speed across social networks is a contemporary fact of life. News organizations — and those that watch them — have long tried to figure out how to correct errors post-publishing in a world where an initial misguided tweet takes on a life of its own in a spiral of retweets.

Paul Bradshaw of the Online Journalism Blog wrestled up an interesting hack to address the issue. After seeing reports that News of the World could destroy incriminating evidence against it once it shut down, he created @autodebunker in order to counter the information.

The idea here was to automate feedback to those retweeting information that had been debunked. His MacGyvered solution:

  1. Create Twitter Account - in this case, @autodebunker
  2. Grab RSS feed for Twitter posts that need debunking - done via Twitter advanced search
  3. Create new RSS feed with Feedburner - This gives you some flexibility with the feed parameters
  4. Use the Twitterfeed app to auto-publish your debunking - after all, you can’t manually chase down every retweet.

If interested in doing the same, check out Bradshaw’s post where he explains each of the steps above. It’s not a foolproof solution, and obviously can’t tackle all the errors we find online, but it is a neat hack to counter the misinformation that bugs you.

CPJ, We Have A Problem

The Committee to Protect Journalists published an article yesterday exploring whether Google+ was a viable platform for journalists to interact with sources on sensitive topics.

In a generally positive review that outlines the dangers reporters and their sources face when communicating via digital channels the author writes:

So, how secure is Google+ for at-risk reporters? From Day 1, everything on Google+ is encrypted with https. That means that no one, not even a maliciously motivated government with control of your local ISP, can intercept your private conversations.

Let’s stop, pause, recalibrate and explore what HTTPS is and does.

HTTPS is a protocol that encrypts information shared at the point of contact between a User and the service that User is connecting with. You might know it from your experiences with online banking. That is, go to your bank’s Web site and instead of “http” at the beginning of the address, you”ll see an added “S” to the URL indicating that you’re now in a “secure” environment.

At a very high level, this is how it works: When you attempt to connect with a secure server, an encrypted “handshake” occurs. Basically, you say, “Hello” to the server, the server sends an encrypted message back which you (ie, your browser) then answer, and once the “handshake” is confirmed, the rest of your communications pass back and forth under this layer of encryption.

While secure for most purposes, it’s not fool proof. For example, “man in the middle" attacks can occur whereby an eavesdropping third party intercepts the initial request and fakes — and then controls — communication between the two parties.

Point being, to say, “[N]o one, not even a maliciously motivated government with control of your local ISP, can intercept your private conversations,” simply isn’t the case.

Beyond that, just because the servers are secure doesn’t mean they can’t be hacked or broken into. We need just look back a month to reports that Chinese hackers hacked Google’s Gmail which, yes, is HTTPS protected.

Go back a bit further and recall that a number of companies were hit with Operation Aurora, an attack that — among other things — compromised the Gmail accounts of human rights activists.

"As with most targeted attacks, the intruders gained access to an organization by sending a tailored attack to one or a few targeted individuals," George Kurtz, CTO of McAfee, a technology security firm, explained at the time. "These attacks will look like they come from a trusted source, leading the target to fall for the trap and clicking a link or file… Once the malware is downloaded and installed, it opens a back door that allows the attacker to perform reconnaissance and gain complete control over the compromised system."

So, long story long: HTTPS isn’t a security panacea and we hope the CPJ amends their Google+ review with these considerable caveats.

There are, after all, reporters and activists around the globe that listen very carefully to what they have to say.

Forty-eight percent: that’s the number of news stories with objective, factual errors in them, according to Jonathan Stray who references a 2005 study by Scott R. Maier (PDF).
Stray, who works for the Associated Press, writes that error frequency is largely unchanged in the eight decades that researchers have studied it. Remarkably, only about 3% of all errors are corrected.
What to do? One method to tackle the problem is crowdsourcing. We’ve noted before that Norway’s VG Multimedia lets readers help correct typos with some 17,000 caught in 2010.
Then there’s Mediabugs, an elegant solution any news site can put on its Web site. It’s a small graphic that appears with each story — like any of the “share” buttons you commonly see — that links to a form where readers can submit errors from that story.
Scott Rosenberg, a Mediabugs co-founder, writes about Stray’s work over at Idea Lab and notes that the culture of news organizations often prevents them from transparently dealing with errors. 
"Journalists aren’t very good at self-scrutiny, and the hardbitten old newshound in each of us might scorn such work as navel-gazing," Rosenberg writes. "Maybe it would help if we think of it, instead, as accountability reporting — on ourselves."
And just maybe, we’ll understand that our first drafts of history really do need revision.

Forty-eight percent: that’s the number of news stories with objective, factual errors in them, according to Jonathan Stray who references a 2005 study by Scott R. Maier (PDF).

Stray, who works for the Associated Press, writes that error frequency is largely unchanged in the eight decades that researchers have studied it. Remarkably, only about 3% of all errors are corrected.

What to do? One method to tackle the problem is crowdsourcing. We’ve noted before that Norway’s VG Multimedia lets readers help correct typos with some 17,000 caught in 2010.

Then there’s Mediabugs, an elegant solution any news site can put on its Web site. It’s a small graphic that appears with each story — like any of the “share” buttons you commonly see — that links to a form where readers can submit errors from that story.

Scott Rosenberg, a Mediabugs co-founder, writes about Stray’s work over at Idea Lab and notes that the culture of news organizations often prevents them from transparently dealing with errors. 

"Journalists aren’t very good at self-scrutiny, and the hardbitten old newshound in each of us might scorn such work as navel-gazing," Rosenberg writes. "Maybe it would help if we think of it, instead, as accountability reporting — on ourselves."

And just maybe, we’ll understand that our first drafts of history really do need revision.

Can't "Recall" Facts? Corrections In A Viral News Age →

finger pointing

The Associated Press recently fell for a hoax, reporting that GE was giving back a $3.2 billion tax refund to the United States. A writer at USA Today made fun of the AP for that. Thing is? USA Today had both syndicated and Tweeted the flawed AP story — and he didn’t mention anything about it.

MediaBugs’ Mark Follman asks, now that content aggregation, curation, syndication and Twitter are pervasive in the news, what should disclosures and corrections look like, who should issue them and when?

From his post: 

There may…be an increasing tendency, navigating today’s ephemeral sea of news, to shrug off responsibility for nonproprietary content.

Is that understated, diplomatic or sarcastic? We can’t decide. We’d love to see someone create a technology that automatically corrects factually flawed stories in syndication, though.

Survey Says: A Collection Of Flawed Fox News Infographics →

Writer, environmental researcher and editor Amy Westervelt compiled botched infograhpics from the Fox News archives over on her blog. These would be funny if nobody believed them.

Thanks, @awestervelt

The Journalist’s Accuracy Checklist — via Regret The Error.
Craig Silverman, the list’s creator, recommends printing it, laminating it and taking a dry erase marker to it for each story you’re working on.
Original PDF.

The Journalist’s Accuracy Checklist — via Regret The Error.

Craig Silverman, the list’s creator, recommends printing it, laminating it and taking a dry erase marker to it for each story you’re working on.

Original PDF.

We Joined, You Should Too

The Report an Error Alliance launched yesterday to help publishers engage community feedback on errors in the stories they’re telling.

Craig Silverman, Managing Editor of PBS Mediashift and co-founder of the Alliance, explains:

This initiative aims to move news organizations of all shapes and sizes towards a common standard for online error reporting. The goal is to ensure more mistakes get corrected, and to find better ways of including the public in the correction process.

Most news articles have options that enable people to print, share or email the content; we’re endorsing a new option: “Report an Error.” Why? The vast majority of corrections that appear in the press are a result of readers and members of the public pointing out mistakes. Yet the best research we have revealed that roughly only two percent of factual errors are corrected by newspapers. We need more corrections, not fewer. And we need to enable the public to play a more active role in error reporting.

You can join the alliance in support of the idea at the Report an Error site. Hopefully, as they advocate, we’ll seem more icons like this across the web in the near future:

 REPORT AN ERROR.

Double hopefully: publishers will actually pay attention to crowdsourced fact checking as tips and comments roll in.

Serious Retractions →

If you’re going to run retractions, you might as well do them right. That’s the story from the editors of Cancer Biology & Therapy in response to a 2008 paper that appeared in their journal.

As Retraction Watch quotes:

1) Dr. Wei Jia Kong’s name was used as the corresponding author without his knowledge or consent. Furthermore, Dr. Cai Pengcheng was unaware of his status as an author of the manuscript.

2) A fake email address for Dr. Kong was constructed and used by the authors to intercept any information that would be sent to the corresponding author.

3) Dr. Zhang Song and Ms. Yang Juhong have modified their accounts of the events several times during the investigation, making it difficult to determine exactly what occurred with respect to the data in question. However, The Editors have determined that Figure 4 of this manuscript is a re-publication of data in Cancer Letters (2007) 253:108-114 [“Gene silencing of TKTL1 by RNAi inhibits cell proliferation in human hepatoma cells”, by Song Zhang, Ju-Hong Yang, Chang-Kai Guo and Peng-cheng Cai]. The authors have misrepresented their data as being from 2 separate cell lines.

As Retraction Watch notes:

For those keeping score at home, that’s hitting for the cycle! Misleading authorship, plagiarism, data manipulation. And let’s not forget tampering with email.

Correction practices at major news sites are a mess →

MediaBugs’ first survey of national media correction practices examined the websites of 40 major newsrooms, including those of five leading cable TV news networks, from New York to Los Angeles. We also examined the websites of a dozen leading national magazines.

We found that of the websites of 35 leading daily newspapers we examined, 25 provide no link to a corrections page or archive of current and past corrections on their websites’ home pages and article pages. Only about half, 17 of the 35, provide a corrections policy of any kind (which we define broadly as any explicit statement regarding corrections practices). Sixty percent of the newspaper sites (21 of 35) do provide an explicit channel (email, phone, or Web form) for the public to report an error to the newsroom. However, in most cases this information isn’t prominent or easy to find.

The sites that do offer corrections-related content frequently bury it, in many cases requiring visitors to use the site’s search function. If you can find it, this information is often poorly organized and not easily navigated.

The websites of the five cable news networks we surveyed performed somewhat better. MSNBC, CNBC and ESPN all provide more thorough corrections content. CNN has an email form for reporting errors, but no corrections page or policy.

Fox News is the exception in the group. Apparently the Fox network never makes errors. We found no corrections content at all on its website.