Getting there first, but getting it right

I find coffee helps with clarity.

I find coffee helps with clarity.

Editors make mistakes.

Even good editors, when writing, need an editor to screen for potential errors before publishing their work.

I made a mistake several weeks ago. Surprise, surprise.

One reader called my attention to it in an email.

I cringe to think I’ll make that mistake again. But I will. At least, I’ll make errors in the future, no matter how hard I try avoiding them.

The highway of journalism is littered with mistakes, from spelling errors to misstated facts.

I had misstated a fact. I thought my fact checking had been thorough enough. But I missed a crucial detail.

At least two gentlemen in South Carolina share the same name. I had named the wrong one in a January story in The Carolina Ledger. And he let me know about it.

He was right to. Despite my embarrassment, I appreciated him mentioning the mistake and I issued a correction that day.

The event reminded me of the axiom that calls on journos to get there first, but get it right.

The get-to-the-story-first culture of news breeds errors, but the job demands accuracy.

In the end it won’t matter to readers if they “heard it here first,” or whether they read your exclusive content–if it’s not right.

As writers from various arenas, let’s get the content right by doing all we can–from checking facts to checking spelling.

Our credibility depends on it.

Excuse me. I have some fact checking to do.

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