If you don’t correct errors in the newspaper, they have a way of reapperaing. For example, last summer, my morning newspaper included a correction, buried at the bottom of Page 2. It took up less than 2 inches of space.
An article Aug. 14 about residents of Haven greeting visitors arriving for the PGA Championship misstated the surname of a man holding up a cardboard “Welcome” sign. His name is Raymond Oldbrantz, not Lobrantz. The mistake was repeated in an article two days later.
That’s what can happen if you don’t correct the record immediately when a newspaper or magazine gets a major fact wrong in your story.
Too often, people won’t call to correct the record “because I don’t want to call more attention to the error.” Then a few days later, a reporter who is writing about the same issue unknowingly copies wrong information from an earlier article. In my days as an editor, I saw this happen repeatedly.
The main reason you must ask for a correction is to alert the publication to the fact that the information is wrong and to keep the error from being repeated. When newspapers are told about corrections, they usually file the correction along with the story. That way, a reporter who pulls the story from the file for background information sees the correction.
PR people do a disservice to their clients when they tell them not to complain about things like this because you don’t want the media to think your gripe is petty. If more people had complained when Jayson Blaire was fabricating stories at the New York Times, editors would have fired him much earlier.