When you should (and shouldn’t) ask the media to run a correction
We’ve all been there. That exciting moment when you see your client’s story published in that targeted outlet after a diligent round of media pitching. Finally! That hard-to-reach reporter ran your story idea and you experience the thrill of success and satisfaction of a job well done.
But then. You notice a glaring error – an executive’s name misspelled, product information incorrect, event location error. Cue sinking feeling.
Then the following question arises – should I reach out to the editor to issue a correction?
There are many cases that you should absolutely reach out to the media to inform them of a published error. Most editors hate publishing misinformation as much as you hate seeing your client misrepresented. In most cases, this can actually strengthen the relationship with an editor, as they will find value in you helping them improve the quality of their work. But there are also a handful of scenarios where reaching out to the media can have the opposite effect – rather, irritating the media and damaging a relationship.
So, what’s the key to knowing the difference? Below are a few do’s and don’ts to help you make the right call.
DO request a correction if the editor made a factual error, such as misspelling a name, misusing a title or providing a wrong description of a company.
DON’T request a change simply because you don’t like the tone of the article, or your client is portrayed in a poor light. Make sure it is a worthwhile correction.
DO maintain a good relationship with the media. Once you determine the correction is worthwhile, be kind, genuine and polite in your outreach. Compliment the editor’s work and/or thank them for the coverage. Then, politely inform them of the misinformation.
DO ask them to make the change. Make the desired end result of your request clear to prevent any further confusion.
DON’T make unwarranted demands. If the editor refuses to make the correction, reassess if it’s truly worthwhile. If so, it’s appropriate to ask to speak to their supervisor or next up in the chain of command to explain the situation. Take this route with caution and only pursue based on the severity of the error.
For further reading: 33 media errors from 2015 (the funny, the weird, the elaborate, the terrible). Enjoy!