The slip of a tongue, or in this case, the non-slip of a key, can have a detrimental impact on a journalist’s credibility. Former TBD reporter Amanda Hess learnt the importance of a thorough proof-read the hard way.
The top of Hess’s original blog post on the 8th of October 2010 is now stamped with the correction; ‘this blog post originally stated that one in three black men who have sex with me is HIV positive. In fact, the statistic applies to black men who have sex with men.’
Tenore’s article, published on the Poynter site, follows Hess’s scramble to correct the humorous slip-up. Hess noticed her mistake after seeing a tweet 10 minutes after publishing. Hess tells Tenore she wouldn’t usually correct mistakes, but ‘“I felt like because there was the possibility of me being embarrassed, I should put a correction on it… it’s one of those typos that could be an error if, in fact, taken literally.”’
Tenore covers the reaction of TBD staff members and their correction policy. TBD has a traditional ‘commitment to accuracy’ approach.
Setting the record straight is a must in the digital age of journalism, when journalists’ trust and accountability is always questioned. Hess’ me/men mix up has taught her and hopefully all journalists ‘what a difference the letter “n” can make.’
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