From the morning when reporters roll out to their respective destinations to the presses that finally send out the issues to the readers, news making is a daily struggle that is prone to many mistakes lying in wait. In order to combat this tendency, newspapers employ many safeguards and oversight processes. While a simple typo once in a blue moon does not gather much attention from readers, a material error about a date, name or location, in other words, the cornerstones of a news article, tend to be noticed by readers relatively quickly and lead to corrections and lowered expectations of credibility. It does not matter if a material mistake is made on the published or digital platform, the result is the same. However, digital material has the ability of taking the necessary steps faster and therefore can limit the damage a mistaken article causes.
Unfortunately, Daily Sabah had a similar mistake last week. A date was incorrect in an article published on March 8. The article was on the business page and the error was in the title and persisted throughout the article. The article in question carried the headline "Turkey and Qatar ready to sign a deal for 2020 FIFA World Cup." Of course the correct date was supposed to be 2022, but writing it as 2020 made this a case of a serious material error. The article itself was from the Sabah daily and was signed by its reporter Barış Ergin.
The mistake also led to a complaint, and after reviewing the case thoroughly, we find out that the mistake did not originate from Barış Ergin himself. After all Ergin's article, which was written in Turkish in Sabah, had the correct year as 2022. The error in Daily Sabah's article and title emerged during the translation process.
The translation process, however, is not alone in sharing the responsibility for the mistake. No matter the origin of the mistake, as long as it belongs to a process before the final editorial review, the editor is also responsible. After all, editors are the foremost individuals responsible for the accuracy of the articles on their pages. The mistake itself was not obscure, it was in plain sight, yet the editors missed it as well as the managing editor. The explicitness of the mistake can only testify to the truth of the necessity of an extensive process of double checking the facts in newspapers.
Daily Sabah's management reviewed the case and accepted their mistake, officially warning the editor and translator who were responsible.
While such errors are the easiest to spot out, the number of times newspapers commit them shows us that we need to double check all the names, dates and locations and make sure all of the facts are accurate before weaving them into an article. And even if a material error slips through the cracks after this double checking, editors should notice them by reviewing their pages with a critical eye in order for us to achieve the bare minimum, which is in Daily Sabah's case: None. After all, a newspaper's credibility runs parallel to its truthfulness, and readers are reluctant to except human error as a credible excuse if the problem persists. Our hope is that it will not.
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