Blog etiquette 101: Correct a post, or take down?

Some readers spanked me today after I wrote about a certain suntanned, treehouse-dwelling, retired millionaire media mogul in Cocoa Beach, Fla.

“Jim is a hack,” one reader declared flatly.

Then, lightning fast, another reader wrote: “How about simply changing the headline or removing the erroneous item entirely?”

I followed past practice, updating the post to reflect new information. Here’s why: I read on the Internets that some bloggers consider it poor form to take down a post that’s incorrect — as opposed to fixing it, and leaving the original text in place. In an age of journalistic transparency, I don’t want to hide my boo-boos.

Now, what do you think? Please post your thoughts in the comments section, below. To e-mail confidentially, write gannettblog[at]gmail[dot-com]; see Tipsters Anonymous Policy in the green sidebar, upper right.

[Photo of eraser: chemistry]


6 Responses to “Blog etiquette 101: Correct a post, or take down?”

  1. Anonymous Says:

    I prefer leaving the error up for all to see and running a correction, say under the head? Fixing the head would be OK with me as long as the correction remained.
    Heck, my headline errors, published in 48-point type, live on for posterity. Why shouldn’t Jim’s?

  2. Anonymous Says:

    Jim, I agree. Just changed the headline to be prefaced with “CORRECTION:” and then the correct headline and then you can edit how you’d like if everyone’s in such a hissy-fit. Of course most of the people on this blog NEVER make mistakes at their newspapers/television stations, right? Right.

    This really is the most you should do, just to clarify things if someone finds the post later on without its corresponding correction.

    And it’s not nice, Craig, to call people hacks.

  3. Anonymous Says:

    One of the biggest complaints we hear from readers is that our boo boos never get the same play as the original story. “Sorry, folks, Truman won” on A3 isn’t quite the same.

    As you do with breaking stories, just throw an updated, or corrected line in the original post. That way if you get linked on Romensko or other places, the original link works and has accurate information.

    Much better than just fixing the info. Nothing makes me think I’m senile more than going back and finding words have changed…

  4. Anonymous Says:

    You can avoid having to make this decision by simply being perfect all the time.
    Oh, you say you’re human?
    In that case, just put up a correction.
    If some of the “important people” we know ever admitted they made a mistake (eg ShopLocal)we all might be in better stead.

  5. Jim Hopkins Says:

    Hah! As I said when I re-introduced myself on Jan. 11, 2008, in my 10 things about me post:

    No. 10. I try to be fair, accurate and ethical. But I am human.

    Please see the full post at

  6. Anonymous Says:

    I think changing the headline and adjusting the item was a fine way to go.

    For the record, I don’t know who is calling you a hack, but my criticisms about the Neuharth item were only about the inaccuracy in that posting.

    Jim does an incredible service in this blog (the roundups of layoffs alone makes this a have-to-read). But the blogging world should not be immune from the normal reporting basics, and that was all some of us were pointing out. In this instance.

    Those making the criticisms more than that do not speak for me, or Jim’s loyal perusers.

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