Not so fast on the Globe and online corrections

What would a post about corrections be without more corrections? On Monday I wrote that The Boston Globe had finally started posting corrections on its website instead of simply appending them to the original articles (not that that’s not important too). By the end of the day, though, former Globe digital guy Joel Abrams had tweeted that, in fact, it was nothing new:

But wait! It turns out that though Monday wasn’t the first time the Globe had published a separate corrections item on its website, it still hasn’t managed to do so consistently. For instance, if you look at the print edition of March 12, you’ll find three corrections — but nothing if you go to the Today’s Paper section of BostonGlobe.com for the same date.

I can’t think of a newspaper that gets online corrections exactly right. For instance, The New York Times runs corrections on its website, but they don’t appear in its iOS apps. The print edition of The Washington Post today includes four corrections, but they don’t seem to be online.

It’s time for newspapers to start getting corrections correct.

The Globe corrects its online corrections practices

If I’m not mistaken, today marks the debut of a freestanding correction section on The Boston Globe’s website. The move is long overdue; nearly two years ago I wrote about the shortcomings of online corrections in both the Globe and The New York Times.

Though the Globe appends online corrections to the original articles, it had not up until now run them separately, as it does in the print edition. That was fine for archival purposes. But if you simply read the paper online every day, you had no way of knowing whether something had later been corrected.

In any event — kudos.

Correction: This is a whole lot more complicated than I had first thought. See my follow-up.

Globe, Times need to correct online corrections

Screen Shot 2013-07-11 at 9.47.00 AMThe Boston Globe published two corrections today. No big deal. It’s one of the ways that responsible news organizations hold themselves accountable.

But unless you read the print edition, you didn’t see the corrections — not even in the “Today’s Paper” view, which is supposed to include every item published in that day’s Globe. (Of course, corrections do appear in the ePaper, which is how I grabbed the image accompanying this post. But that’s just a PDF of the print edition.)

As someone who reads the Globe and The New York Times every day, I find myself scratching my head at how poorly the two papers handle corrections online. The Globe is worse, but the Times needs to improve, too.

The Times, at least, runs all corrections on its website and in the “Today’s Paper” section of its iPad-only HTML5 app. But they are missing from the iOS apps for the iPhone and the iPad, which are used by many of their customers. They’re also missing from Times Skimmer, an alternative desktop view based on the same feeds as the iOS apps. (I’m guessing the situation is the same with the Times’ Android apps.)

Unlike the Times, the Globe doesn’t run a separate section of online corrections anywhere — not on its website and not on its recently released iPhone app. When I posted a question on Twitter yesterday, Globe tech guy Damon Kiesow directed me to this. But it hasn’t been updated since April 4. In a follow-up, Kiesow indicated it would be fixed at some point.

I should note that both the Times and the Globe append corrections to online stories as necessary. That’s essential for archival purposes. But it doesn’t help if you read a story just once, on the day it’s published.

In any event, it’s long past time for both papers — and all papers — to take corrections as seriously in the digital space as they do in print.

More: Not long after this item was posted, New York Times public editor Margaret Sullivan tweeted:

Also, in the comments I’ve posted an email from Globe spokeswoman Ellen Clegg, who says my post “mischaracterizes” the Globe’s correction policy. I don’t think that’s the case, but I’m happy to offer a different perspective.

Tomorrow’s corrections today

The Boston Globe today reports that Republican Senate candidate Scott Brown last week played up his conservative bona fides in an interview with “Sean Hannity, cohost of Fox News Network’s ‘Hannity and Colmes.'”

Was there no one handling this story who was aware that Alan Colmes announced he was leaving more than a year ago? Hannity went solo on Jan. 12, 2009.