Correcting media mistakes

January 17, 2013

in PR

Occasionally it’s the media which makes a mistake rather than the organisation handling the PR campaign.  So what do you do in this instance?

My view is that after talking to your client about the likely impact of the mistake, a phone call to the relevant journalist is the best first step to talk through the situation and your desired solution. A light touch is always preferable in the first instance but make sure you have all the facts – and the correction – at your fingertips so that you can argue your case as necessary.

Here’s a great example of a correction from The Economist:

Correction: An earlier version of this article claimed that journalists at Bloomberg Businessweek could be disciplined for sipping a spritzer at work. This is not true. Sorry. We must have been drunk on the job.

The Economist Article: The Boredom of Boozeless Business

While the system of press self-regulation is currently under review by the Leveson Inquiry, it is still useful to read the Editor’s Code of Practice issued by the Press Complaints Commission

Newspapers have their own codes ranging from The Sun’s Ombudsman to The Guardian’s policy which is to correct significant errors as soon as possible.

The public editor of the New York Times has a great blog entry about how the the Washington Post handles corrections –  Make no mistake, but if you do, here’s how to correct it!

For mistakes in the social media arena, this podcast from contains good advice.

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