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Regret the Error

Craig Silverman reports on trends and issues regarding media accuracy and the discipline of verification.Stories about errors, corrections, fact checking and verification

NEWS

U.K. paper apologizes for misattributing 'goat war' comments

The Argus, a paper based in Brighton, England, would like to apologize for suggesting that the director of the Brighton Science Festival believes the "21st century will be remembered for a terrible war between mankind and goats." A goat in Washington, D.C., last August, perhaps making diabolical plans. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak) That contention, as well as another … Read More
NEWS

Photo debunking accounts spring up to call out viral fakes on Twitter

Paulo Ordoveza says there’s nothing complicated about what he’s doing. Ordoveza, 37, follows roughly 100 Twitter accounts that share remarkable photos of earth, space, historical moments and other events. Then he calls them out from his @PicPedant handle for tweeting fakes, not crediting the original photographer, and for scraping images. In a little more than a month his oh-so-simple … Read More
NEWS

Slate's good strategy for correcting errors on Twitter, elsewhere

On Saturday night, Slate made a very funny, embarrassing error on Twitter: Could Crimea become Putin's Waterloo? http://t.co/iTLNSh0jaV pic.twitter.com/OdvDLVLPRS — Slate (@Slate) March 2, 2014 Javier Bardem and Vladimir Putin aren't exactly lookalikes. It's a funny mistake, and thanks to Twitter's recent changes the mistaken image loomed large in people's timelines. Then came the … Read More
NEWS

Washington Post expands fact-checking project -- and not just to movie trailers

U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz and Leonardo DiCaprio are getting the same fact-checking treatment thanks to the latest evolution of The Washington Post’s Truth Teller project. The actor and the senator each figure prominently in new videos produced by Truth Teller, which takes video of someone (usually a politician) speaking and annotates their statements with fact checks from the Post … Read More
NEWS

Upworthy details why it fact-checks every post (and why it used GIFs in a correction)

In the battle for viral shares and views, Upworthy believes it has an advantage over other sites such as ViralNova: a team of fact-checkers. Ironically, this group's existence is today better known after an August correction from the site resurfaced on the weekend and ignited a debate about how Upworthy handled the error. The discussion about Upworthy's GIF-laden correction … Read More
NEWS

Placeholder text or band name? Guardian corrects confusion

A Guardian report about the Brit Awards included an error resulting from a band named the xx, an album called xx, and placeholder text marked "XX": Arctic Monkeys performed their song R U Mine at the Brit awards, not Do I Wanna Know? as we said in early editions (Starman shines all the young dudes, 20 February, page … Read More
NEWS

Upworthy's GIF-laden correction sparks debate

Viral news curator Upworthy featured a video that put McDonald's Chicken McNuggets under a microscope to reveal "strange fibers, blue objects, red coloring and other odd shapes." That's what the description of the video on YouTube says it shows -- and as of this writing, the clip has nearly 2.7 million views. But as for actually offering anything of scientific or factual value, it comes up far short. After featuring it, Upworthy realized it wasn't a piece of content worth sharing. Part of that realization came via comments on Upworthy's Facebook page, where people called out the organization for "fear mongering" and a lack of analysis and facts. Read More
NEWS

Wall Street Journal correction highlights paper's lack of hip-hop knowledge

A Wall Street Journal story about Philadelphia Eagles tight end Brent Celek features a correction that reveals the writer's (and editors') lack of hip-hop knowledge: An earlier version incorrectly said Mr. Celek had Two Chairs on his playlist instead of 2 Chainz. Hat tip to Deadspin for spotting it. Read More
NEWS

The Guardian corrects: Sir Patrick Stewart isn't gay

A Guardian contributor mistakenly cited Sir Patrick Stewart as being gay, resulting in this correction: This article was amended on 17 February 2014. The third paragraph originally said 'Some gay people, such as Sir Patrick Stewart, think Page's coming out speech is newsworthy'. This should have read 'Some people, such as Sir Patrick Stewart, think Page's coming … Read More
NEWS

The Economist offers a great drugs correction

The Economist with a lovely correction to a mistaken claim about its own coverage of the legalization of drugs: In a leader last month (Of bongs and bureaucrats, January 11th) we said that The Economist first proposed legalising drugs in 1993. In fact we argued for it in a cover story in 1988. Who says drug use doesn’t damage long-term memory? … Read More
NEWS

GAH: BuzzFeed launches new corrections policy, free style guide

How do you correct a listicle? If you're Shani Hilton, this is the kind of thing you have to think about. Her official title at BuzzFeed is deputy editor-in-chief, but internally she's also known as Keeper of the Standards. She is their Gandalf of style, standards and corrections. So, right, how do you correct a listicle? You can go read … Read More
NEWS

Announcing the release of the free Verification Handbook

A little over a year ago, I suggested to colleagues at Poynter that I write an e-book about verification. It seemed to me an essential project, but also a reflection of the shift I've experienced in my focus for Regret the Error. When I first launched this blog as a standalone site in 2004, I was primarily finding and publishing corrections. Over time, I began to look at errors — their cause, prevalence and effect. In the past three years, perhaps in part due to the spread of social media, smartphones and viral news, I've found myself more and more focused on verification. With so much misinformation flowing fast and freely, and the ability for anyone to easily shoot, share and/or manipulate images and video, the skills of verification have never been more important. Yet it's not taught on an ongoing basis in most newsrooms. And it's not just journalists who need the skills and knowledge to sift real from fake — this is a basic, essential skill of news literacy. We all need it. It's about cultivating a mindset to question and scratch away at the surface of what we see, hear and read. Today, I'm proud to announce the publication of the free Verification Handbook. It provides news organizations and others with detailed and valuable guidance for verifying information. It's live today as a website and we will soon release the handbook as a PDF and Kindle book, along with an Arabic translation. (More languages will follow, along with a print edition.) Sign up at the website to be notified when the other versions are released. Read More
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