Notified Blog

How Do You Ask a Journalist for a Correction?

Each day, journalists across the globe publish millions of news stories, social posts and other content – directly influencing readers’ views on companies, technologies, products and more.

However, problems may arise if there's a mistake in a story – potentially harming a brand’s reputation if information is not accurately reported.

It's fundamental to understand that journalists are human too, and despite their best efforts, mistakes can happen. As a public relations pro tasked with shaping the narrative about your brand, you need to know how to quickly address these mistakes – without damaging your relationships with the media.

In this blog, we'll share guidance on when it’s OK to ask for fixes and the best ways to request changes from journalists.

When Is It OK To Ask a Journalist for a Correction?

You should request a correction when there are clear mistakes in reporting objective facts. This includes things such as incorrect names, false statistics or statements.

However, if the issue is more about differing opinions or interpretations, it might not be appropriate to ask for a correction.

Here are some situations when it's appropriate to reach out:

  • Incorrect details: If there are factual mistakes such as wrong names, dates, times, locations, numbers or quotes related to your company.

  • Misleading information: When the story presents events, actions or research inaccurately, giving a wrong impression of your company.

  • Harmful claims: If the article reports negatively about your company without proof, potentially hurting its reputation.

  • False associations: If the article unfairly connects your company to sensitive social or political issues without strong evidence.

Best Ways To Ask Journalists for Corrections

Knowing the right approach makes it easier to correct errors and keep news accurate.

Below, we highlight the simple and most effective ways to engage with journalists about making corrections:

  • Don’t assume negative intent: Journalists write many articles every day. Even with careful proofreading, mistakes can occur. They genuinely aim to provide accurate facts. Instead of getting upset, it's better to calmly explain why a correction is necessary.

  • Maintain respectful and open communication: Stay positive and open a clear line of communication to provide the right information. Even if you're upset about a mistake, be polite and explain the problem clearly and concise.

  • Be clear and specific: Point out the exact areas of the piece that are incorrect and explain why. Show evidence, such as quotes or data, that provide an easily digestible source for the reporter to reference.

  • Be patient: Newsrooms are busy, so it might take a week or two for a response. If you don't hear back after 10-14 days, send a friendly reminder about your request.

  • Provide ideas: Instead of just correcting what's wrong, in some cases, you may want to provide ideas on how to efficiently fix the problem. With this, avoid providing unnecessary details that might detract from the main issue, but provide brief pointers or ideas for how the story can be framed correctly to streamline this process for journalists.

  • Ask for help if needed: If the reporter or editor does not respond, you can reach out to the publication’s editorial team and inquire about their specific process for getting mistakes corrected. With this, respect their process and don’t demand immediate results.

It's important to reach out to get incorrect information corrected, to protect your company’s reputation – but remember to always be respectful.

Reporters care deeply about maintaining journalistic integrity, so if you show them the facts, they are more likely to make a correction.

Keep in mind, engaging in a positive conversation is key. Staying professional and showing that you care about getting the facts right increases the chances of a positive outcome.

We trust this article offers valuable guidance on approaching journalists for corrections. Thanks for reading!

Discover Our Verified Media Database

When it comes to engaging with journalists, with all the changes to the media landscape, a verified media contacts database has become more important than ever before for in-house and agency teams.

To see a verified database for yourself, check out our interactive tour of the Notified PR Platform.

You can also request a demo to see how Notified can help you take control of your brand story and make your media relations more efficient.

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