Citizens have strong expectations that news media publish correct information and they have little tolerance for errors, states a new study by Michael Karlsson and Christer Clerwall of Karlstad University and Lars Nord of Mid Sweden University. Their recent article studies users’ attitudes towards inaccuracies in news and corrections in online journalism.
The authors used a survey addressed to a sample of Swedish population, and gained 2,091 answers. Results show that citizens have little sympathy for errors. Corrections can help with trust, but only infrequently. Attitude towards errors is not dependent on gender, age, education, media use, or media trust to any large extent.
Audience members with low trust towards the media don’t have their trust raised based on corrections – they are even less forgiving about mistakes than users with high trust. Only those who already trust the media seem to appreciate corrections. However, if the errors are small, the audience is quick to forgive them, the authors state.
The article “Do Not Stand Corrected” was published recently in Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly and is available online (free abstract).
Picture: Mistake by stevepb, licence CC0, colored