Guardian readers editor explains web corrections policy

Siobhain Butterworth, the Guardian readers’ editor, wonders aloud whether news websites should “invisibly” edit errors to web stories – or publish an official correction.

Guardian.co.uk’s policy is to correct “very minor” errors such as typos without issuing an apology and web-only stories can be corrected up until midnight on the day of publishing. Other more serious problems are added as corrections as a footnote.

Readers and, increasingly, journalists now request that quotes and extra facts are added to stories online, says Butterworth, but as one Guardian journalist said, replying to one her frequent internal polls on ethical concerns: “I think it’s desperately serious, re-writing history. It threatens journalists with the burden of being in perpetual, distracting and potentially manipulative dialogue with the subjects of the articles.”

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