Corrections to online content - the latest set of best practices from the CAJ

OTTAWA, Nov. 16, 2011 /CNW/ - The Canadian Association of Journalists is proud to add another set of best practices developed by its ethics advisory committee to a growing canon of materials that help define and foster good journalism.

A panel chaired by Toronto Star public editor Kathy English, media lawyer Bert Bruser, journalism professors Tim Currie, Shauna Snow-Caparelli and journalists Rod Link, Craig Silverman and Scott White pulled this latest report together this fall. Evolving from and complementing the 2010 report on 'Unpublishing Digital Content,' this latest report titled 'Best Practices in Digital Accuracy and Corrections,' helps answer the question of how newsrooms could handle correcting the work they've published online.

"To my knowledge, this is the first detailed guide to online corrections issued by a journalism organization," Silverman wrote in a piece published today on j-source.ca. "It collects the best practices in use and also offers newsroom leaders and journalists a simple and clear set of principle to guide their work."

The best practices recommended in the report are summarized in five points:

  • Be transparent with your online audience, telling them when you've made an error—be it a spelling mistake or new information in a developing story;
  • Engage your readers: Ask them to point out mistakes, verify the information they provide in correction and make this an easy process;
  • Be timely with your corrections;
  • Place your corrections with or as part of the article—there's no real "page 2" online that mirrors the newspaper tradition when it comes to corrections; and,
  • Have the same standard for accuracy and corrections across all platforms. If people clicked through via Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn or Google+ the correction and corrected items should also be found in those spots.

"Through best practices like this set for online corrections, the CAJ and its ethics advisory committee are helping journalists become better at what they do by helping to define good practice," CAJ president Hugo Rodrigues said. "Coupled with the CAJ's Principles for Ethical Journalism, these set a high standard for online journalism that every journalist should strive to meet."

The ethics advisory committee, formed in 2004, reports to the CAJ board of directors on a regular basis, providing advice and direction on ethical practice for journalists. Its 18 members represent a cross-section of media and journalism schools and its chair Ivor Shapiro is chair of the journalism program at Ryerson University in Toronto.

The CAJ is Canada's largest national professional organization for journalists from all media, representing almost 600 members across the country. The CAJ's primary roles are to provide high-quality professional development for its members and public-interest advocacy.

SOURCE Canadian Association of Journalists

For further information:

Hugo Rodrigues, CAJ president - 519-756-2020 ext. 2226, 519-535-8680 cell, hugo@caj.ca

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