How to respectfully set the record straight

While journalists are intrepid in their pursuit of the truth, everyone makes mistakes. Here’s how to go about asking for a correction or a retraction without upsetting the apple cart.

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You’ve probably never woken up to a faux-lethal case of “obiticide” while sipping your morning coffee.

That’s the journalistic crime of “murder by obit,” when you read about your own death in the local news while you’re still very much alive. Whether the result of laziness, fact-checking avoidance or poor judgment, such egregious reporting errors can carry long-term consequences for sources.

More common are less damaging factual errors and routine oversights, such as name misspellings, title inaccuracies and misquotes. Although you don’t have to be “journalistically dead” to demand a correction, you do have to be prepared with facts that prove the error wrong—or with an argument for why the coverage was otherwise off the mark.

Types of errors

Here are three common errors and how to ask for corrections:

1. Glaring typos

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