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Public editor: The tricky business of correcting videos

In the various branches of the media, there are varying practices for correcting errors. Most – whether newspapers, television, radio or digital – do a very good job with the online "permanent" record: The errors are corrected, and the nature of the correction noted. Newspapers in general do a pretty good job of correcting errors on Page 2. For television and radio, it's tough to acknowledge errors on air and most stations count on their online platforms to do this.

There was one correction and one clarification from Globe material on Wednesday that were more challenging because one was in a video and the other in a graphic.

The graphic from the Report on Business section had incorrect subheads. Here's what the correction said: In a Wednesday graphic on organics and the halo effect, the taste ratings were incorrectly described as "high in fat," "high in calories," "nutritious" and "a lot of fibre." They should have been "appetizing," "flavourful," "tasted good" and "tasted artificial."

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So while you could say what was wrong, you really needed to look at the chart again. Normally all print corrections go on Page 2 in the A section, but the corrected chart had to go on another page (Page 2 of ROB) because it was simply too large for the A2 space. In the digital sphere, incorrect graphics are deleted and simply replaced with the correct version, with an appropriate notice.

The second issue Wednesday was trickier because it involved viewers being left with a wrong impression in a video – the most-viewed video on our site – about cable TV subscriptions. When speaking off the cuff, you are sometimes less precise than you would be when you are writing. Several readers who wrote to me believed that the reporter in the video was saying that many more subscribers were signing up for new cable while a small number were dropping it. The story was somewhat more confusing because the video was comparing a percentage decrease with a number of subscribers increased, so you couldn't compare apples-to-apples. In fact, the study showed that the number of people signing up for cable had slowed quite a bit, but there was still an increase. The video editors looked at the possibility of re-editing the video or re-shooting parts to make it more clear, but that proved not to be the best solution. So, the following was added to the video:

Editor's Note: The report by Convergence Consulting referred to in this video said 1.3 per cent of television subscribers (approximately 170,000) cut their cord in the last year. Based on market trends, the industry could have expected as many as 220,000 new subscribers in 2012. Instead, it only added 52,000. The consultants put those numbers through their algorithms to determine the likely rate of cord cutting. So while there was an accelerated rate of cutting, the number of subscribers to paid television services still increased year-over-year in Canada.

If you have any comments on these or other corrections, please comment below or send me an email at publiceditor@globeandmail.com

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About the Author
Public Editor

Sylvia Stead has been a reporter and editor at the Globe since 1975, after graduating from the University of Western Ontario in Journalism with a minor in Political Science. She won the Board of Governors Award there in 1974. As a reporter, Sylvia covered courts, education and Queen's Park. More

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