Correction Tallies

Toronto Star corrections up 50 percent so far in 2012

2012 has so far been an error-filled year at the Toronto Star, Canada’s largest daily circulation newspaper. (Disclosure: I write a weekly column for the paper, about the media error of the week.)

In a column last week, Public Editor Kathy English highlights statistics about the number of corrections the paper has published so far this year: “In the first three months of 2012, the Star has published 123 corrections,” she writes.

That number is a 50 percent increase compared to the same period in 2011 (“from 80 in the first three months of 2011 to 123 in 2012″). Other data from English: “93 of the 123 corrections were attributed to reporters, columnists and freelancers. Only 25 were classified as editing errors.”

One important question about these data is whether corrections are up because readers, sources and journalists are spotting and reporting more mistakes. Read more

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How The New York Times’ corrections tracker improves accuracy

How do you handle a reporter who’s making more mistakes than usual?

The New York Times recently confronted this issue with a regular freelancer whose corrections total was spiking.

Greg Brock, the Times senior editor who oversees corrections, was able to detect and ultimately address the issue because the paper is one of a handful of media organizations that track errors and corrections in an internal database.

The details of this mini case study was contained in a new column about errors and corrections from Times public editor Arthur Brisbane. His piece details how the paper handles mistakes and how it works to prevent them. Brisbane also offers a nice precis by Scott Maier, the top newspaper accuracy researcher working today. (Brisbane quotes me in the column, too. Read more


Editor of NY’s Daily Star alarmed by low 2011 correction total

Earlier this month I wrote about three newspapers — the Toronto Star, Kansas City Star and Washington Post – that publicly released their 2011 correction totals. I noted that, compared to previous years, there seem to be fewer papers releasing correction totals.

I’m happy to report that The Daily Star of Oneonta, New York released its numbers Saturday in a column from editor Sam Pollak. He said the paper published 116 corrections last year — a figure Pollak said bothers him, “but not for the reasons one might think.” He explained:

It’s too low.

In 2010, we ran 178 corrections. In 2009: 187; in 2008: 174; and in 2007: 176. That’s an average of 178.75 over those four years. Why, then, was last year’s number so small in comparison?

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Washington Post, Kansas City Star, Toronto Star publish 2011 correction tallies

It used to be that December and January would bring with them the publication of columns by newspaper editors and ombudsmen that offered an accounting of the number of corrections published by their organization that year.

So far, I’ve seen offerings from the Kansas City Star, Washington Post, Toronto Star, and… that’s about it. (Did I miss some? Email me and I’ll add them to this post.)

Post ombudsman Patrick B. Pexton shared this data:

The Post published 875 corrections in the print edition this year through Dec. 30. That’s down from 1,054 in 2010, with one day left in the year. The 17 percent decrease is significant, and the total is the lowest for any year since The Post began counting in 2005, when it had more than 1,300 corrections, according to Managing Editor Raju Narisetti.

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