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.