Breaking Out the Wite-Out

Distressing data from a new CJR report

The new CJR survey on the practices of magazine Web sites (read it here!) contains lots of interesting information, but one of the most striking nuggets relates to online correction policies. According to the survey, forty-six percent of the magazines at which a print editor is in charge of online content reported that “major errors” are corrected with no notice to readers. For sites where a Web editor makes online content decisions, the figure (54 percent) is even higher.

The findings suggest that many magazine sites haven’t internalized a point made by, among others, CJR’s Craig Silverman: that “one practice that simply isn’t an option for responsible journalists is scrubbing—removing incorrect or outdated information from an online article without adding a correction, editor’s note, or some similar disclosure for readers.”

We want to know: Are you surprised by this data? More importantly, what do you expect from the news sources you read online when it comes to correcting, updating, or revising content? What sort of notification is sufficient—and are there instances in which it’s not required at all? Let us know in comments below.

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The Editors are the staffers of Columbia Journalism Review.