Mistakes happen. How we deal with errors in our reporting is important to maintaining
our integrity and the trust of readers and sources. When the Chronicle publishes an
error, we will acknowledge it and take appropriate steps to correct it as quickly as
possible, both online and in print and, if necessary, on social media and other
Readers who wish to alert editors to a needed correction can email
Factual errors must be corrected — even if the subject of the error does not formally
request a correction. We also correct factual errors made, for example, in an event
listing, even if the relevant event has passed. When in doubt about whether a correction
or clarification is needed, it is generally best to consult with your editor. Leaving anyone
with the impression that we do not admit and rectify mistakes could cause readers to
question our journalistic integrity.
Occasionally, an error may not be a misstated fact but a matter of nuance, context or
tone. Such mistakes may require clarifications, editor’s notes or a statement from the
editor in chief.
The information in a correction should be verified by the reporter, photographer or editor
who made the error. Source editors must fact-check the correction as well. All
corrections must be brought to the attention of and approved by a section or
masthead-level editor before being published.
If a request for a retraction or correction comes from an outside attorney or person
threatening a legal response, the editor in chief and our legal counsel must be consulted
before any response or decision is made about how to handle the complaint.
Generally, We Love Africa does not repeat the original error and does not editorialize
about the cause or implication of the error in publishing a correction.
It is expected that online stories will be polished and expanded after their initial posting,
and it is not necessary to flag every change for readers. But adding a correction or
clarification may be appropriate if new reporting has revealed a significant error in an
Occasionally, errors due to incorrect information by sources (e.g. law enforcement
misstating a death toll) may be handled within the story (e.g. “Police revised a
previously reported death count, saying only five people have been confirmed dead.”) If
there is any question about whether the error rises to that level, consult with the
appropriate section or masthead-level editor.
If an online error was a significant one that could give the reader a false impression,
factors such as the nature of the error and how long it has been posted should be
considered before a correction is written.
When a significant error is discovered, the story should be corrected and reposted as
soon as possible. The person making the change to the online story should first consult
with and obtain the approval of a section editor or masthead editor. Once the change is
approved, the story should be changed and a note appended to the revised story that
briefly states the nature of the change.
If a significant error appears in the url, editors and producers should change the url to
reflect the truth.
Placement: In general, the note about what has been corrected/clarified in an online
story should be appended to the end of the online version of the story. If an error is
deemed egregious enough — for example, misleading, fabricated, unethical — then the
correction may be placed at the top of the story.
Egregious errors that indict the entire
premise of an article may require deleting the entire article. In such cases, the content
should be replaced with an editor’s note explaining why the article was removed. This
decision must be approved by the Editor in Chief.
Workflow: It is vital to make corrections to online stories as soon as possible. Following
appropriate approval, the copy desk — if available — will be the initial group responsible
for quickly making corrections to online stories.
Social media: If incorrect information is shared on a news alert or on social networks,
we should notify readers using the same platform and provide the accurate information.
In many cases, it may be appropriate to delete the incorrect post. In such cases, a
screenshot should be taken of the original post, which should be shared with clarifying
information and explain that the post was deleted.