A new way to report media errors

Report An Error is a new site that offers news organizations an easy way to allow readers to report inaccuracies in stories.


The initiative was launched by two error-hunting journalists: Craig Silverman of corrections blog (and book) Regret the Error and Scott Rosenberg of MediaBugs.

“We’ve seen the maturation of online journalism, but corrections and error reporting haven’t advanced at the same rate,” Silverman told NPR in an interview. “In the online environment, mistakes move much farther and faster. It’s extremely important we do our best to prevent and correct them. It’s just basic journalistic hygiene.”

The idea: news organizations (and individuals) put Report An Error’s free icon (a simple black and red X/arrow combo, see above) at the top of each story page, so as to allow readers to report errors without leaving the story, or sending them on a hunt for the proper procedure.

The Toronto Star has long had a “report an error” icon at the end of each article, in hopes of turning its readers into de facto factcheckers. The reports are reviewed by the Star‘s public editor Kathy English. Salon and PoynterOnline also use the icon.

“If someone is reading an article and they see a mistake, most aren’t going to search for a way to report an error,” Silverman told NPR. “We are really losing a lot of corrections because news organizations make it so difficult to report a mistake.”

The reporting of errors is the easy part, Silverman notes. He hopes the Report An Error Alliance — 82 members strong, at the time of this post — will encourage newsrooms to streamline and perfect how they publish corrections.