The New York Times will soon launch an online corrections form to make it easier for readers to report an error.
Greg Brock, the Times editor who oversees corrections, shared the information with Journalism.co.uk when he was interviewed for a recent podcast about handling online corrections. (I was also part of that podcast.)
The paper is launching the form because it “want[s] to make it as easy as possible for every reader to report an error, or comment on an article if they want to,” Brock told Journalism.co.uk’s Rachel McAthy. When I contacted Brock, he said he couldn’t yet reveal the exact launch date.
Not many news organizations use corrections forms, but they should. The Washington Post launched a form in 2011 to make it easier to identify and respond to mistakes. Some of the Journal Register Company’s papers have a form in place, as do the Chicago Tribune and Toronto Star, to name a few.
Brock told McAthy that the form will be added to the paper’s online corrections page, which was redesigned in 2011. One goal, he said, is to give readers a place to easily report an error, rather than having them email them or note mistakes in comments on stories.
It’s not clear if the Times will also link the corrections form to its online content. The Washington Post, Huffington Post and Toronto Star all include a link on story pages that invites readers to report an error.
For example, a Post story includes this:
Recently, the Post’s corrections form morphed into a general contact form, rather than being corrections-specific. Greg Linch, a Post producer who worked on the original form, said in an email that the change happened a few weeks ago and that the new form is linked to a customer service management tool.
The Journal Register Company continues to use the form on content. I checked in with Matt DeRienzo, group editor of Journal Register Company’s publications in Connecticut, last year and he said placing the form on each story delivered good results.
“When we first launched the fact check box, it [was on our] homepages and we moved it fairly early on to have it at the end of every single story,” he said.
Placing it at the foot of every story resulted in a “big increase” in submissions, he said.