Regretting the Error: 2010’s funny, dumb and important corrections

For a few years now I’ve been aware of the often funny and important website Regret the Error, which analyzes and responds to the year in journalism’s errors, corrections, retractions and apologies. The year is Crunks 2010: The Year in Media Errors and Corrections and features errors from big events as well as geek-driven corrections that we’ve come to expect from a life in balanced fact-driven journalism. We ourselves at dvafoto had to recently extend a retraction to a story about a Kuwaiti ban on D-SLRs. You can see the original post and the retraction.

Here is one of my favorites from this year’s list; it elaborates on a media practice that most in the US market are unaccustomed to (and of which I was recently schooled by a English friend). Take a real complaint about a story and then smash the complainant over the head with it while you divulge more embarrassing information. There are a few versions of this in this year’s list (e.g. from The Sun, the Daily Mail and Daily Star). I don’t remember seeing anything like this in the US but it seems to be a real model of issuing corrections in the UK and in Canada. You complain about one fake point we agreed upon, I’ll spill the beans on all the other weird stuff we talked about in the interview.

Sentinel-Review (Canada):
In the Sept. 1 article “City councillor race grows crowded with two more entrants,” it incorrectly stated that Joseph Molnar was a newcomer to municipal politics. Molnar was, in fact, previously a city councillor in the early 1980s. While interpreted as a comment on his candidacy, the quote from the brief discussion — “I’ve never done this before” — actually referred to Molnar’s request for payment from the Sentinel-Review for an exclusive interview. The request was denied.

But none of the contendors from this year beat the 2004’s Correction of the Year from the Lexington-Herald-Leader:

It has come to the editor’s attention that the Herald-Leader neglected to cover the civil rights movement. We regret the omission.

Be sure to read the list and follow their work throughout the year to promote accurate and monitored journalism. They do a great and important service, with just the right amount of humor.

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