Corrections offer a news outlet the chance to right their wrongs transparently. But because of the way corrections are issued—in a later issue, or added to an online story in an amended note—many who view false information may never catch wind of the correction.
Imagine instead that readers could receive corrections in an RSS feed or emailed to their inbox as a daily digest.
Craig Silverman writes in the Columbia Journalism Review that such a system is now at hand. Whether newspapers and magazines will ever adopt it (or something like it) is less apparent.
The program was created by Ben Welsh, Silverman says, while he was working on a project for the Los Angeles Times.
“In the course of his work, he created some code that would enable the site to publish all of the updates and corrections made to the map. He called it ‘django-correx’ to indicate that it was built for the Django Web application framework, and to indicate that it deals with corrections. This bit of code takes corrections and allows them to be customized and integrated as part of a Django-based Web site or application. It’s in effect saying: this is valuable information for readers, and here’s a way to manage it.”
Silverman thinks that corrections are indeed “valuable information.” Though “for whatever reason, corrections aren’t seen as being important enough to warrant this kind of treatment,” he says.
Any news organization using a Django-based website could use Welsh’s system, which is available to download from his website. But “we’re going to have to change how journalists view corrections before news organizations will think of implementing something like django-correx,” Silverman argues.
StinkyJournalism eagerly awaits such change of heart, if it would mean easier and more flexible access to press corrections.
Read Silverman’s story in full here.