On Nixing Fixes


Michelle Nijhuis mourns the death of the corrections column:

[T]he real power of the corrections column is rooted in good old shame. Journalists trained in the practice of public corrections learn that while it’s shameful to make mistakes in print, it’s even more shameful to hide them. Corrections columns serve as both punishment and partial absolution. And corrections columns get read because—well. Don’t we all love to read about others’ mistakes once in a while? Corrections also offer hilarious contrasts in tone and content. “Mr. Vidal called William F. Buckley Jr. a crypto-Nazi, not a crypto-fascist, in a television appearance during the 1968 Democratic National Convention,” The New York Times wrote in a correction to its obituary of Gore Vidal. …

I say every publication should have a corrections column. Many digital publications append corrections to individual posts and articles, which is a good start but lacks the shaming power of the column. The column form allows readers to judge the publication’s overall reliability—and forces us writers to make prominent, appropriately embarrassing confessions.

The Dish does its own part to draw attention to corrections. Some classics here, here, and here. The Dish’s blunder of the decade here.

(Image via HuffPo)