Digital Publishing Guidelines

The Southern Maryland Chronicle always seeks to publish corrections and clarifications promptly after they come to our attention.

The process

Reporters, producers and editors should promptly relay reports about potential corrections to originating editors or via the reader correction-request form. Corrections and clarifications to online articles should be submitted and approved via the editor correction-request form.

When a correction is made online, the story editor is responsible for alerting universal, home-page and social teams to make the necessary changes to headlines and blurbs. The change should be made within the article and the correction should also be noted at the top of the item.

Articles

Clarifications and corrections should be clear, concise and direct. They must be comprehensible to anyone who reads them, including readers who may have missed the story that is being corrected. Anyone reading the correction should be able to understand how and why the mistake has been corrected.

Blogs

Blog posts should be updated quickly and transparently to correct erroneous information. The placement of the correction should reflect the gravity of the error. Major corrections (e.g., when the headline or driving premise of the blog post is wrong) should be noted in the headline and at the top of the post as well as within the blog item.

Minor mistakes may be corrected and acknowledged within the blog post, using either strike-through text or parentheses. In many cases, commenters may alert bloggers to mistakes. When this happens, bloggers are encouraged to acknowledge the mistake and subsequent correction within the comment stream as well.

Alerts

If we have sent out incorrect information in an alert, we should send out an alert informing people that the news reported in the earlier alert was wrong and give readers the accurate information.

Social media

When we publish erroneous information on the social Web, we should correct it promptly by publishing a new status or post acknowledging the error.

If it is possible to edit the original post to note the error and correct the information, this is preferred. Once the information has been corrected, the incorrect post may be deleted.

Take-down (“unpublish”) requests

Because of the ease with which our published content can be searched and retrieved online, even years after publication, we are increasingly being asked to take down (or “un-publish”) articles from our Web site. Typically, these requests come from the subjects of unflattering or embarrassing news articles who claim that they are being harmed by the articles’ ongoing availability.

As a matter of editorial policy, we do not grant take-down requests. If the subject claims that the story was inaccurate, of course, we should be prepared to investigate and, if necessary, publish a correction. And there may be situations in which fairness demands an update or follow-up coverage — for example, if we reported that a person was charged with a crime but did not report that the charges were later dismissed for lack of evidence. In short, our response will be to consider whether further editorial action is warranted, but not to remove the article as though it had never been published.

 

Published: November 2017