Craig Silverman


Craig Silverman ( is an award-winning journalist and the founder of Regret the Error, a blog that reports on media errors and corrections, and trends regarding accuracy and verification. The blog moved to The Poynter Institute in December 2011, and he joined as Adjunct Faculty. He also serves as Director for Content for Spundge, a content curation and creation platform used by newsrooms and other organizations. Craig has been a columnist for the Toronto Star, Columbia Journalism Review, The Globe And Mail and He’s the former managing editor of PBS MediaShift, and was part of the team that launched, a Canadian online news start-up. His journalism and books have been recognized by the Mirror Awards, National Press Club, Canadian National Magazine Awards, and the Canadian Online Publishing Awards.


Quartz experiment: Shades of gray distinguish facts from hearsay

As of Sunday night, there remained many unknown elements about the over-the-top subscription service that HBO will launch this year. CEO Richard Plepler confirmed back in October that the premium cable channel would offer the service in 2015. But what would it be called, when would it launch, and on what device(s)?

Quartz writer Adam Epstein wanted to do a story that summarized what was confirmed, likely to be true and as yet unknown about the HBO service. The challenge was to mix information with three different levels of confirmation in a way that readers could understand, while not ruining the flow of the article.

“I had the idea for the piece after browsing Reddit and seeing that despite there being a ton of interest in the upcoming service, there was still some misinformation floating around,” Epstein said by email. Read more


The lesson from the dress color debate that every journalist needs to know


Yesterday’s insane Internet debate over the color of a dress offers a critical lesson that every journalist must incorporate into their daily work.

This lesson has nothing to do with viral content, fashion, BuzzFeed, social media, the future of media, Tumblr, or audience engagement.

Many of us looked at a very simple photo of a dress and saw something different. This had nothing to do with intelligence, experience, fashion sense or any other personal characteristic.

We are all at the mercy of our brains and its cognitive processes. Our eyes took in the information in front of us, our brains processed it, and in many cases it gave us the wrong answer. But the fact that it was coming from our brain meant that it seemed like exactly the right answer. Read more

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Move quickly, keep it simple and other tips for debunking

I recently completed a research project that saw me spend several months studying how news organizations handle online rumors and unverified claims. I also examined best practices for debunking online misinformation. This work, which was the focus of my fellowship with the Tow Center for Digital Journalism at Columbia University, is collected in a report I published this week.

It examines the human factors that drive rumors, the challenge of debunking online misinformation, and it provides a data-driven look at the bad practices that cause news websites to spread dubious rumors, and to play a role in disseminating misinformation. Identifying the challenges and problems in this area also helped me formulate a set of recommendations for newsrooms. This guidance can help journalists do a better job of offering debunkings that can spread the truth. Read more

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The year in media errors and corrections 2014

Correction of the Year

This New York Times correction combines Kimye, butts and a writer treating a fake news website and a fake radio station as real. Bravo:

An earlier version of this column was published in error. That version included what purported to be an interview that Kanye West gave to a Chicago radio station in which he compared his own derrière to that of his wife, Kim Kardashian. Mr. West’s quotes were taken, without attribution, from the satirical website The Daily Currant. There is no radio station WGYN in Chicago; the interview was fictitious, and should not have been included in the column.

Runner Up

The Sun (U.K.) offered a correction that detailed just how ridiculous their original “reporting” was:

In an article ‘London Bridge IS Falling Down’ (16 June) we stated that the iconic bridge, now a tourist attraction in Arizona, was falling into disrepair and could soon be bulldozed.

Read more

11 years later, Idi Amin’s son objects to Guardian obit for his father

Ugandan dictator Idi Amin died over a decade ago, in August of 2003. Like news organizations all over the world, The Guardian published an obituary that told the story of how Amin grew up, came to power and then led with a bloody, iron fist. (As noted in the obit, the International Commission of Jurists in Geneva estimated the death toll during his leadership to be at least 80,000 and likely closer to 300,000.)

Amin’s death and the obits that followed it are old news. But not for his son, Hussein Amin. He recently wrote to Chris Elliott, The Guardian’s readers’ editor, to object. “Allow me to raise my displeasure at a Guardian obituary about my father, Idi Amin,” he wrote.

Amin, it seems, intends to run for public office and wants to clear some things up about his dad. Read more


New York Times column used quote from fake news site ‘without attribution’

A late entry for 2014′s Correction of the Year comes from The New York Times. It features an early version of a column published in error; a quote taken from ludicrous article in a fake news website that was treated as real and used without attribution; and a reference to a non-existent Chicago radio station with the call letters WGYN.

The offending article was the latest edition of Joyce Wadler’s humor column, “I Was Misinformed.” Here is what has been added (as an Editor’s Note):

An earlier version of this column was published in error. That version included what purported to be an interview that Kanye West gave to a Chicago radio station in which he compared his own derrière to that of his wife, Kim Kardashian.

Read more

3 lessons in mobile, social and viral from Latin American newspapers

I recently spent two days at the beautiful offices of El Comercio, the largest and oldest newspaper in Peru. Grupo de Diarios América bought together journalists from newspapers all over Latin America for a seminar about social media. I was fortunate to be a speaker. But, mostly, I was lucky to spend a couple of days listening to journalists from news organizations I don’t read or follow. I want to share three things I heard that transcend any linguistic or regional concerns.

1. You are not in control of how people consume your content

Last year at this time, El Nuevo Día in Puerto Rico was getting 30 percent of its digital traffic from mobile devices, with the remaining 70 percent coming from the desktop. Read more


Toronto newsweekly falls short on Buffy The Vampire Slayer trivia

Toronto’s NOW magazine had to issue a correction due its lack of Buffy The Vampire Slayer knowledge:

This article originally stated that Joyce Summers, the mother of Buffy The Vampire Slayer’s titular character, succumbed to a cancerous tumour. As pointed out by Queen’s Park Briefing’s John Michael McGrath, Summers in fact died from an aneurysm [sic] that resulted from the tumour’s removal.

  Read more


Amazing name leads to amusing Huffington Post correction

A Huffington Post story about a woman with an awesome name (“Cherries Waffles Tennis”) and her brush with the law resulted in an amusing correction:

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated that Tennis was arrested for allegedly making “fraudulent purposes.” Clearly that is neither a crime nor a statement that makes any sense. She was arrested for allegedly making fraudulent purchases.

But that may not have been the original version of the correction. According to the Twitter account @_youhadonejob, the correction originally restated the mistaken text:

Fair warning: I didn’t see the original allegedly incorrect correction for myself on the HuffPost site.


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NYT corrects: Bald eagles’ poop isn’t purple

A New York Times correction delves into the nitty gritty of bald eagle and osprey poop:

An earlier version of this article described bald eagles and ospreys incorrectly. They eat fish, and their poop is white; they do not eat berries and excrete purple feces. (Other birds, like American robins, Eurasian starlings and cedar waxwings, do.)

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