Joshua Benton: How Should Newsrooms Talk to Readers When They’ve Really Screwed Up?

From a story on by Joshua Benton headlined “How do newsrooms talk to readers when they’ve really screwed up? With process, transparency, and trust.”:

How do news organizations respond when they screw up?

I’m not talking about a we-misspelled-someone’s-name level of screw-up, the sort of mistake that can be addressed with a quick edit and a correction. I’m talking about a big screw-up — the kind that makes readers raise fundamental doubts about an outlet and how they do their work.

“That 8-year-old heroin addict we wrote about, the story that won the Pulitzer? Yeah, he’s made up.”