It’s easy to point a finger at a student news site that published inaccurate information. It’s humbling to see the managing editor there take responsibility and resign. It’s harder for the pros who run established newsrooms to look in the mirror and acknowledge where we’ve made mistakes. Harder still to share those lessons with our staffs and our community. Editors who takes those steps, however, build trust with readers. There will be time this coming week to carefully review what happened in your newsroom on Saturday evening, what might have been done differently, where you fell short and where you hit the mark.
Jeff Sonderman at Poynter has a good overview of the original error and correction about Joe Paterno’s condition. This post is about the second ring of error, the newsrooms that repeated the inaccurate information. There were many.
Rest in peace, Joe Paterno. The AP has reported that the family says Paterno died today. There will be many lessons from his life and career. These 10 lessons are drawn from my newsroom experience — decades that included my share of errors — and from watching across several hours as a false report of Paterno’s death spread and was debunked.
Suggestions? Do you have an example that shows how you turned this into a lesson in your newsroom? Leave a comment below, or email me firstname.lastname@example.org