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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

Correction: Local tree is not protected by security guards

Canada's Hamilton Spectator today published an amusing correction to a letter to the editor that had included details that turned out to be fake. Here's the correction to the letter, which had focused on an endangered butternut tree that has delayed some construction work in the city: A letter to the editor about the Queen Street Hill butternut tree … Read More
NEWS

Researchers have 3 tips to help journalists debunk misinformation

Having the truth on your side is a necessary thing when trying to debunk misinformation. But it’s far from enough. The truth alone does not change minds, create belief. Convincing people of your argument, or correcting someone else’s lies, requires more than unearthing the truth and reciting the facts. So what’s a journalist to do? Brendan Nyhan and Jason Reifler continue to produce work aimed at identifying the best and most effective ways to combat political misinformation. (I also recently wrote about their research into whether politicians fear fact checkers.) Nyhan, a professor at Dartmouth, and Reifler, a lecturer at the University of Exeter, today added a bit more to their body of debunking work. They published a research paper, “Which Corrections Work,” with the New America Foundation that contains three specific pieces of advice for how journalists can best correct misinformation. That advice is coupled with related experiments they conducted to reinforce the tips. Read More
NEWS

AP corrects: Protesters were GMO critics, not 'hemp activists'

This Associated Press didn't quite identify these protesters correctly: In an Oct. 10 story about protesters dumping bags of cash in a Senate office building, The Associated Press misidentified in the headlines the people who were protesting and arrested. The protesters were critics of seed giant Monsanto and its role in genetically modified food production. They were not hemp activists. Read More
NEWS

Researchers find politicians may fear fact-checkers

In the months before the 2012 election, state legislators in nine states received letters from two political scientists. “We are writing to let you know about an important research project,” the letters began. It wasn't just a letter letting them know about the project — the letters were a core piece of the research, as were the politicians themselves. Some of the letters informed legislators that PolitiFact had set up shop in their state, and that the researchers were conducting work related to “how elected officials in your state are responding to the presence of this fact-checking organization during this campaign season.” It also told them that, “Politicians who lie put their reputations and careers at risk, but only when those lies are exposed.” Read More
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