I didn’t get the same reaction when reading TBD’s offerings about its correction. In truth, journalism could do with a little more boasting about transparency. And by that I mean we should strive to have news organizations that put enough effort into implementing the concept that they feel justified in crowing about it.
The admirable thing about TBD’s boast—as opposed to an empty accuracy boast like Dobbs’s—is that it’s rooted in the admission of a mistake. It also stimulates discussion, such as the one that took place on Twitter between Buttry, Robinson and Krewson. If you’re going to boast about transparency, people are going to call you on it. The result is likely to test the limits of your commitment to the concept. It’s either deflating or reaffirming. Either way, that’s a good thing if you’re willing to engage, listen and learn.
The problem we have today is a lack of transparency from news organizations. So if TBD wants to blog about all of the “Likes” and tweets its corrections received, put the offending blogger on air to talk about the mistake and its reaction, and blog about the same, I say good on them. They’re responding to what other people have responded to. They’re explaining why and how Hess added the correction, rather than just have her fix the typo or scrub it.
Of course, this kind of boasting involves risk. If TBD should fall down on the job in terms of corrections or find itself committing a litany of silly, embarrassing, or obvious typos, the copy editor argument will once again rear its head. Rightly so. And if TBD isn’t as open about its failings in the future, this week’s correction will seem like a link-baiting anomaly. That’s fair game, and I suspect Buttry et al. agree.
The key is that they continue to engage when there are errors or issues that aren’t quite so amusing, or good for traffic. That’s the true test of transparency, and it will ultimately determine whether this was empty boasting or an example of their overall approach.
Correction of the Week
“An article in the Sept. 1 El Paso Times stated that Dallas Nights Country Saloon employee Joshua Kennon was engaged in “sexual activity” with a woman and allegedly intoxicated at the time of his arrest. According to an affidavit, he was “making out” with the woman while he was allegedly intoxicated. Also, although the saloon was cited twice for liquor violations, those violations were later dismissed, according to bar owner David Cooper.” - El Paso Times