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 earlier account.
Occasionally, errors due to incorrect information by sources (e.g. law enforcement misstating a death toll) may be handled within the story. 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.