The Northern Star is committed to total accuracy and fairness in everything published or broadcast. We recognize, however, that this is a learning environment and that occasionally mistakes will be made.
If you realize there is an error in a published story, notify your editor immediately. Editors will work with the reporter(s) involved and decide …
- Is a correction or clarification needed?
- Do sources need to be contacted, to clarify the mistake and/or to apologize?
If the mistake is yours, don’t just silently hope that no one notices the error. Take steps to fix it!
Be specific enough in the correction that readers understand what the mistake was. Generally you shouldn’t repeat the mistake – especially if it was potentially libelous – but sometimes it’s OK for clarity’s sake.
No: In Tuesday’s city council story, a wrong percentage was used. It should be 4.5 percent.
Yes: Tuesday’s city council story stated taxes will rise by 45 percent. The correct amount is 4.5 percent.
It’s better to own up to a mistake – no matter how embarrassing for the newspaper – than to cover it up. The sources involved will not forget.
Run the correction by a source, or someone else close to the story. Be absolutely sure your new information is accurate. The worst thing that can happen is for another mistake to occur in the correction.
Act quickly: Corrections should be published immediately online, and in the next day’s print edition, in a place easy for readers to find them. Editors may decide, in extreme cases, to run the correction on the same page the error occurred – including page 1.
Tell the source(s) what you plan to do. Don’t just make them wait for the paper to come out.
Online corrections: These should be placed at the top of the original story, in a separate paragraph and in italics. Example:
Correction, 1-23-10: A correction has been added to the following story. The story states that taxes will rise by 45 percent. The correct amount is 4.5 percent.
Be sure the print correction and the online correction say the same thing.
Do not change or remove the original story, unless the original story may be libelous or have other legal problems. Any decision to remove or alter previously published material rests in the hands of the editor in chief.