Have you ever read a newspaper or seen something on the TV news that you knew was just not right factually (not to be confused with a reporter’s criticism, characterization or tone)?
Well, contrary to most beliefs, the vast majority of reporters base their professional credibility on continuously distributing reliable information to the public. Reporters are just like the rest us and are known to make the occasional mistake, and will welcome the opportunity to correct it. If you happen to notice incorrect information, don’t hesitate to reach out to the reporter as soon as possible to alert them of the issue and offer your assistance in providing the correct information.
Numbers, dates, monetary r amounts, site dimensions and contract specifications are all black and white. If those items are published incorrectly, a brief, polite phone call to the editor or the reporter alerting them to the mistake and providing them the correct information is all that is necessary. This small action will not only protect your section or branch but it will also be appreciated by the reporter/ editor since their publications and professional reputations are at stake.
Incorrect attribution, however, is another story. Statements or facts that did not come from you or your Section or Branch should be corrected. Again, a brief and polite phone call to the editor or reporter requesting a correction is your first step. If, however, the incorrect information has a detrimental effect, another option is to send a formal letter requesting a correction or retraction.
If you have any doubts or questions, please don’t hesitate to contact ASCE’s communications department in Reston, Virginia at 703-295-6404.
Have you ever had a situation where a reporter misquoted you or reported incorrect information that was attributed to you?
Audrey Caldwell – Manager, Corporate Communications