Update: On The Mistakes We Keep Making

In June, we put a spotlight on the number of mistakes we make and set a goal to cut them in half by October.

We haven’t gotten worse.

But the pace – 100 or so corrections per month – hasn’t slowed. The types of mistakes we most often make haven’t changed. They include:

  • Misspelled names.
  • Mistaken locations.
  • Messed up titles.
  • Miscalculated numbers.
  • Mangled histories.

In coming months, we’ll hold training sessions to talk about fact-checking and share best practices. As an editor at another news outlet told me recently, “this is a problem we’ll never solve – but we can get better.” The sessions should help.

In the meantime, use the NPR Accuracy Checklist to “CQ” your stories and scripts. I have more of the cards or you can download one from here: https://training.npr.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/The-NPR-Accuracy-Checklist_3x5in_horizontal_v21.pdf

Also, we’ve created a #corrections channel on Slack. It’s not public. It’s for NPR folks. Please follow it to see the types of mistakes we make. Knowing what we’ve gotten wrong will hopefully help us avoid repeating errors.

Finally, we’ll try to a better job celebrating success – such as the steps taken Saturday by Weekend Edition producer Ian Stewart.

(“Memmos;” Oct. 1, 2018)

October 1, 2018

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