One of the difficulties in working in news is having to rely on so many outside sources. It’s the job of journalists to dig deep enough with sources and gather the appropriate documentation in order to ensure that the correct information is written and posted.
Sometimes, despite the intense effort to get information correct, misinterpretation by a writer, miscommunication from a source or the sheer amount of conflicting information can result in incorrect information being unintentionally reported as fact. So many factors are in play when it comes to a single news story that the even the most seasoned journalists will occasionally show their human side and make a mistake.
It’s necessary for any news organization to take all precautions necessary to avoid incidental misreporting, but when it does happy, the organization should act quickly to amend the story and get the facts the facts correct.
I just encountered our first misreported story at the Nicholls Worth. After a couple meetings and obtaining documents pertaining to our source, we made a correction to the story and moved on.
Making a mistake and having to issue a correct shouldn’t be seen as a negative thing, especially in student media, where the intention is to give future journalists the opportunity to get valuable hands-on learning experience. Having to correct a misreported story should instead be seen as an opportunity to better learn how to accurately obtain and report information, and where the holes might be in someone’s research.