We regret the error(s)

April 2, 2014

Day in and day out, the three reporters and lone news editor in The Daily Journal newsroom strive for accuracy and can be proud of our efforts to share stories that impact the community, for better or for worse.

Whether it’s kids at play, adults choosing a healthier lifestyle or a community group coming together to assist people in need, there are many reasons that allow us to have fun on the job and meet some really great people in and around Richmond County.

Unfortunately, we’re all too human and mistakes are made — sometimes on tight deadlines and, most embarrassingly, sometimes not. The problem and consequences are compounded because our mistakes are published online and in print, made visible to thousands of people each day.

In recent months, it seems that Richmond Community College has suffered the worst of our mistakes — and on an all-too-frequent basis. There is no grudge for anyone at RCC or the institution itself. Indeed, Richmond Community College is a shining example of what is right in Richmond County and surely a key cog in the county’s future educational and economic development.

In September when the new editor took over, The Daily Journal proudly announced a new, more transparent corrections policy that we still follow. The updated policy states that “corrections to stories published on page 1A will be made on 1A. All other corrections will appear on 2A.”

Rather disappointingly, we’ve had to use that new policy on a far more frequent basis than we care to admit.

In a Chamber of Commerce gathering in January at, appropriately enough, Cole Auditorium in Hamlet, RCC President Dale McInnis was honored as the chamber’s Citizen of the Year. The next morning, the Daily Journal helped sully the previous night’s festive mood when staff writer Matt Harrelson erroneously reported that McInnis was from Marston instead of his true home stomping grounds of Norman.

In February, staff writer Amanda Moss reported the incorrect start date for RCC’s new dialysis program that begins this fall.

Then Tuesday night, new staff writer Melonie Flomer and editor/content manager Kevin Spradlin made a series of errors in a single report about repairs needed at Cole Auditorium. The words in Flomer’s report, echoed in a headline written by Spradlin, indicated there were significant “structural” repairs needed at the facility.

That’s not true. While the more than $1.2 million in repairs and upgrades were mentioned Tuesday as short-term projects — some of them more urgent than others — none of them appeared to impact the building’s ability to retain its occupancy permit.

We don’t like the errors. At the same time, it’s important for us to acknowledge them in a public, transparent manner. By publishing the corrections and making every effort to correct our mistakes, both online and in print, we let readers and sources alike know that accuracy is important to us.