Toronto Star public editor Kathy English reviewed in a recent column the past decade of corrections from the Canadian newspaper. “In the past 10 years, the Toronto Star’s public editor’s office has handled almost 9,000 corrections — more than 1,500 alone in 2019 (to end of November),” English reported. (The final total for 2019 was 1,595 corrections).
iMediaEthics asked English why she thought the number had increased. English said by e-mail she suspects a combination of more accountability in tracking corrections, more content each day, and less copy editing.
In addition to the demand for faster and more news stories, English pointed to fewer copy editors and reporters as a reason for “more mistakes.” According to English, “most of the errors that result in corrections” occur because readers and sources have flagged mistakes. Most corrections are basic “errors in names, numbers, locations, recipes; factual errors about history, geography, science; mistake identities in photos, misquotes and mix-ups,” she added. Specifically, about 30% of corrections are incorrect names.
English included her favorite correction from the decade, published in 2013, which reads:
“A May 22 Opinion column about Mayor Rob Ford bringing shame to Toronto referred incorrectly to Ford’s brother Doug clipping his nails in council. In fact, it was Deputy Mayor Doug Holyday who was seen clipping his nails at council.”
Noteworthy corrections and errors from 2019 included mixing up “medicate” and “meditate” and calling Pink Floyd’s famous song “Comfortably Numb,” “Comfortably Dumb.”
In 2010, the Star published 328 print corrections.
In 2011, the Star published 366 corrections.
In 2012, the Star counted 695 corrections.
In 2013, the Star ran 403 print corrections, and 582 online-only corrections.
In 2014, the Star published 813 corrections.
In 2016, the Star published 1,049 corrections.
In 2017, the Star published 1,179 corrections.
In 2018, the Star published 1,197 corrections.