In my experience as a former Executive Producer at a local CBS and NBC TV news station, most reporters take their jobs seriously and they really want to get the facts right. However, sometimes mistakes happen. There are a few things you can do if you are misquoted or incorrect information is reported by the media.
- Ask yourself, “Is it Malicious?” One important thing to remember is that just because the reporter got some information wrong, it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a case of malicious intent against you or your organization. Many times, mistakes are an honest (and unfortunate) misunderstanding.
- Assess the situation. You may have a gut reaction to call and yell at the reporter or media outlet. First, stop and think. The outcome will be much better if you contact the reporter to discuss the error after you’ve collected your thoughts and can calmly request a correction.
- Request a correction. Calmly asking for a correction is the best policy. Explain what is incorrect and request that the media outlet issue a correction as soon as they reasonably can publish or broadcast it. The media does not want to share incorrect information, so they will typically correct things like name misspellings and factual information errors.
Keep in mind that if you were quoted saying something you didn’t mean to say, the media is under no obligation to fix your error. However, you may ask if you can provide a clarification on your previous statement. It is best to correct errors immediately if you catch yourself misspeaking, rather than waiting to see what is published before you correct it.
Online rumors are another challenge you may face. Check out my tips for combating viral online misinformation.