When all of us have the capacity to, as Dan Gillmor said, commit acts of journalism, to create and disseminate content, to share and publish information, then we are all now bound by the contract of correction. People should be given the skills and tools to better verify what they see and read and hear, improving what Howard Rheingold calls “crap detection.” They should also be shown better ways of verifying what they choose to share and publish. With those skills comes the need to embrace the importance of correction, and show the ways in which one can help others to fix their errors, and how we can correct our own.

What was once the province of professional content creators and disseminators is, much like the tools of our trade, now available to all. Journalists can play an important role in helping share and spread the skills of verification and correction—and, in the process, help raise the bar for quality information and content in society.

Correction of the Week

“Gun-control advocates praised Justice John Paul Stevens after he announced his retirement Friday. A Saturday front-page article about Justice Stevens’s retirement incorrectly said he had been hailed by gun-rights advocates.” – The Wall Street Journal

Craig Silverman is the editor of RegretTheError.com and the author of Regret The Error: How Media Mistakes Pollute the Press and Imperil Free Speech. He is also the editorial director of OpenFile.ca and a columnist for the Toronto Star.