Craig Silverman

Craig Silverman (craig@craigsilverman.ca) 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 BusinessJournalism.org. He’s the former managing editor of PBS MediaShift, and was part of the team that launched OpenFile.ca, 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.


San Francisco Chronicle blog fails video game trivia, issues correction

The San Francisco Chronicle’s pop culture critic had to issue a correction after he misstated the revenge intentions of video game aliens:

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this post suggested that a singular being named Yar was getting his revenge in the Atari 2600 game Yars’ Revenge. In fact, the Yarians were a race of aliens, and were collectively seeking revenge. The Big Event apologizes for the error.  (Thanks to TBE reader Marty for the e-mail pointing this out.)… Read more

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CNN serial plagiarist primarily lifted from her old employer, Reuters

Editors at CNN were performing a regular spot check of content in the organization’s publishing queue last week when they discovered that a story by London bureau news editor Marie-Louise Gumuchian included material taken without attribution from another source.

Using plagiarism detection software, they quickly turned up more examples and in the end have so far found that Gumuchian plagiarized in roughly 50 articles.

CNN leadership announced their findings and her firing in an Editor’s Note published today. Gumuchian was on the CNN world desk, and appears to have written frequently about the Middle East, among other topics.

“Most of what we found was [lifted] from Reuters, which she was previously employed by,” says a CNN source who asked not to be identified due to the fact that they were not cleared to speak publicly about the incident.… Read more

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Times public editor calls Joe Nocera column ‘intrinsically flawed,’ calls for more than a correction

New York Times public editor Margaret Sullivan has weighed in on a dispute between two heavyweights. In one corner is high-profile Times columnist Joe Nocera. In the other, billionaire investor Warren Buffett.

In the end, she sides with Buffett, writing that a Nocera column about Buffett is “so intrinsically flawed, a standard correction didn’t get the job done.” She’s right, for the reasons she cites and for another that I’ll note below.

Sullivan’s post focused on a pair of columns (1,2) by Nocera about Buffett and recent decisions related to executive compensation at Coca-Cola, a company in which Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway is the largest shareholder.

Sullivan notes that both of Nocera’s columns required corrections for factual errors. But even more than the mistakes, the major concern for her is that “The entire premise of the second column is built on a mistake: that Mr.… Read more

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New service will rate the authenticity of digital images

By the time an image makes its way online, it could have been opened and processed in any number of applications, passed through various hands, and been remixed and manipulated.

Today a new image hosting service, Izitru, is launching to give people new ways to certify the authenticity of a digital image. It’s also a tool that journalists can use to help verify images.

The Izitru website and iOS app can “distinguish an original JPEG file captured with a digital camera from subsequent derivations of that file that may have been changed in some way,” according to the company.

It mixes forensic image analysis with elements of crowdsourcing and human oversight. Izitru also has an API that will enable other services to integrate its technology.… Read more

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Times public editor Margaret Sullivan says journalists need to be like sharks

New York Times public editor Margaret Sullivan says journalists today are like sharks. “If you’re not moving forward, it’s over.”

Sullivan gave a keynote address at the International Journalism Festival in Perugia, Italy, titled, “What I’ve learned at The New York Times — and what that says about journalism.”

In her prepared remarks, she discussed what she sees as the emerging consensus about where journalism is heading, and Sullivan also shared four journalistic values that in her view will never go out of style. She also emphasized the rapidly changing nature of journalism, and why that means journalists, like sharks, always need to keep moving in order to survive.… Read more

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How ‘communicating imperfection’ can increase readers’ trust in journalists

After studying corrections from three newspapers in different parts of the world, Zohar Kampf and Efrat Daskal concluded that journalists don’t “understand the great ethical potential in corrections.”

That sometimes leads to corrections that are “incomprehensible, ambiguous texts, devoid of any significant content or meaning for the readers,” according to their paper, “Communicating Imperfection: The Ethical Principles of News Corrections,” which was published in the journal Communication Theory. Kampf is a professor and Daskal is a Ph.D. candidate in the department of communication and journalism at Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

In an email exchange, they identified the main barrier to effective correction for journalists and news organizations: a culture of shame around errors.

Newspapers shouldn’t be ashamed of errors or fear them, they said. “They are inevitable part of any human conduct, especially one that is restricted with deadlines.… Read more

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An NPR story ended up on the wrong end of cows and their contribution to greenhouse gas emissions:

An earlier version of this story said that the methane emissions associated with livestock come from their farts. In fact, most of those methane emissions come from belches.

Hat tip to Jonathan Eisen

NPR

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Last press council in U.S. will close next month

“It’s a fragile existence,” John Hamer, the executive director and chair of the Washington News Council, told me the last time we spoke.

It was August of 2012, and the WNC had just received its final grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Hamer needed to find new funders.

Funding proved challenging to secure, and the WNC’s board also recently concluded that the organization’s role itself needed to be completely reimagined.

Those factors led to a decision, announced yesterday,  to close the WNC on May 31.

“We had a great 15-year run, and we helped a lot of people who were damaged by media malpractice,” said Hamer, in the announcement. “But the news media have changed tectonically since we began. The eruption of online digital news and information made our mission of promoting high standards in journalism much more difficult, if not impossible.… Read more

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Publications aim to make debunking as popular as fake images

Adrienne LaFrance and Matt Novak live in different cities and write for different sites in the Gawker Media network. LaFrance is a freelancer who contributes to several other publications. Novak works full-time on his blog, Paleofuture, which is part of Gizmodo.

She often writes about tech and media. He writes about past visions of the future.

Despite the differences, LaFrance and Novak recently converged on the same idea: debunking hoaxes and misinformation as a regular feature.

LaFrance writes the Antiviral column for Gawker, which carries the headline “Here’s What’s Bullshit on the Internet This Week.” She identifies trending misinformation and new hoaxes and digs into them to reveal what’s fake.

Novak’s debunking effort, which appears roughly monthly, focuses on calling out fake images.… Read more

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This correction from the U.K.’s Ayrshire Post was probably long awaited by one Mr. William Scott:

 

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