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Corrections r me

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by JayFarrar, Feb 13, 2009.

  1. JayFarrar

    JayFarrar Well-Known Member

    Had to roll out my first correction today.
    I was at an event on Thursday and an elected official was speaking.
    I wasn't there to cover it, I had been at another event in the same building earlier and I came up only to say hello to a couple of people who were at the event.
    Well, I heard the official say "stupid" in reference to some ongoing legislation, so that caught my attention and I started scribbling some notes.
    Went back to the office and told one of the legislative guys and he was interested, so I typed up some notes and sent them his way.
    I thought it would be a blog item or a brief.
    He packages what was said as the lede to a larger story on the ongoing legislative fight.
    Now the guy who said "stupid" is now saying he said no such thing.
    I wasn't recording what was said, all I have are notes, and rather incomplete ones at that.
    The official video taped the event, but wouldn't provide that, instead it was the audio. So that gets brought over and I've been sitting in the publisher's office listening to the recording. The audio isn't perfect, you can't hear bits and pieces of what was said, and after listening to the recording, I can't tell where "stupid" was said and no word sounding like stupid is on the recording.
    I've called people at the meeting and they've said they couldn't say one way or the other what was said because they weren't really paying attention.
    So the boss man orders a correction sent out, and the originally story has been corrected with a note.
    I'm totally and completely freaking out right now. I keep expecting to get a call back to the publisher's office.
  2. Moderator1

    Moderator1 Moderator Staff Member

    Did you talk to the official about this after he said it?
    If you heard it and just ran with it without doing any checking or asking for his side *** shit, I don't know what to say.
    Sounds to me like he didn't say it, which may not be what you want to hear.

    I also can't believe the other reporter didn't ask to hear it first.
  3. Stitch

    Stitch Active Member

    My audio recorder isn't great, but I can make out words, even during board meetings. You have to be careful when you think an official is disparaging some sort of legislation. If heard a quote and wrote it down, use it.

    If you're not really paying attention, you need to double check.
  4. Killick

    Killick Well-Known Member

    Does the rest of what he said lend contextual support to him saying "stupid"? I mean, it's not like he would have called it stupid then gone on to say what a great bill it was. If not... yeah, hate to say it... but red flags should have been waving emphatically in your head.

    I'd keep trying to get your confirmation, though. If you think you're right, don't let it go. I was once vindicated on a similar (though on a much smaller scale) instance. I insisted we run a correction to our correction. Didn't make the ed happy, but I didn't give a shit. I was right.

    Most of all, Jay... don't beat yourself up for too long. Lesson learned, and get back at it.
  5. forever_town

    forever_town Well-Known Member

    If I hear something that doesn't sound right and I can't corroborate it with my notes or with the audio I have, I don't run it period. Unless I get someone saying on the record the thing I *think* I hear.

    If you didn't do all those things, I don't know what to say.
  6. silentbob

    silentbob Member

    First, make sure you apologize to the reporter you tried to help. Don't make excuses. Just tell him you f-d up. Then let it go. Sounds like you've beat yourself up enough already. Every reporter makes mistakes. The good ones learn from them; the bad ones keep repeating them.
  7. Fredrick

    Fredrick Well-Known Member

    Sounds bad. You can't run a controversial quote unless you are sure he/she said it.
  8. crusoes

    crusoes Active Member

    Well, if you messed up, confess, eat the humble pie, then go and sin no more. Make sure you sinned, and make sure you don't ever have to do it again.
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