3 things to do when you make a mistake

By · Wednesday, May 22nd, 2019

not teaching,
still THINKING …

Mistakes happen. But then what? To err might be human. But to err and then not take responsibility is unacceptable.

Here are some tips for handling the delicate process of correcting a mistake.

  1. Be disciplined. Know the process at your news organization for handling an error — whether you made the error or you are being told about an error.
  2. Be tactful. When explaining your own error, stick to the facts. Don’t make excuses. If someone is informing you of an error, let the person explain the error without interruption. Even if you disagree, do not say so. Repeat what you believe you heard. Take notes.
  3. Share the information. Know which person at your organization should be informed about the error. When in doubt, always tell your immediate supervisor about the error.

Take care if you are responsible for writing a correction. Policies vary, but corrections usually include the following details.

Finally, keep in mind these key points.

Trust can be broken when mistakes happen. But trust can survive when we take responsibility.

(These two profs are no longer teaching at Syracuse University’s Newhouse School, but we are still thinking.)

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