Bloopers aren't bloopers when it comes to fact-checking
For the daily viewer, it's always very amusing when live TV coverage captures simple mistakes made on air, whether it is a studio failure or a common slip of the tongue. So much so that this form of slip-up has its own show: News Bloopers. When it comes to written media such as newspapers, the number of similar mistakes falls considerably, yet it is not nonexistent. One such mistake was made in Daily Sabah recently.
Last week, Daily Sabah's Oct. 21 Friday issue had a news article on the back page titled "First major US Quran exhibition set to open." Let us look at the first sentence of the said article:"Turkish Qurans, dating back 47 centuries, will be presented Saturday at the first major Quran exhibition at the Smithsonian Institution."
Our attentive readers have probably caught the mistake already but for those who have a lot on their mind, let's give you a clue. The factual mistakes in newspapers usually stem from dates, numbers or names. Considering the birth of Islam or the first revelation, which is also the first revealed sentence of the Quran, was in the year 610, it seems a bit far-fetched to find a Quran dating back 47 centuries - in other words - 4,700 years.After several readers pointed out the mistake, we notified our web team for correction. Let this be a correction for the printed version as well.
While in this case the mistake seems innocent enough, our editors should be careful, as such mistakes, if made in the future, may not be so innocent. A mistake written in the form of a name with regard to a sensitive news story may result in infinite problems for the person who is wrongfully named, as past cases have shown. We must pay meticulous attention to names, dates and figures as they are the foundations of the news story and closely related to the 5W1H principles of every news story. Even if we cannot check the entire story with an equal amount of attention, fact-checking these three important and easily mistyped subjects will go a long way in the quest for providing accurate and factual news coverage.
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