Owning Up to Mistakes

It happens time and again: a writer writes about writing and the importance of mistakes, and I find a typo in the piece. My colleague and writing-group member Jennifer Lewington talks about how important it is for writers (and any creators, really) to own up to errors.

Waterloo Region PWAC

by Jennifer Lewington

The public might be excused for thinking that journalists are blasé about making mistakes. That’s not so, but tight deadlines, pressure to write short, punchy prose and, too often, a lack of knowledge about a subject raise the risk of errors even by the most responsible of writers.

The reality is that most journalists do care about getting the story right and feel genuine professional pain over making an error. I know I do. Sometimes the blunder is made in haste, such as recognizing too late there are myriad ways to spell McDonald (see Macdonald, MacDonald, etc.). Sometimes, mistakes happen because a reporter trusted erroneous information passed on by others. No excuses, though, the buck still stops with the writer and editor. The worst case scenario, one experienced even by the most careful, is the correction to a mistake that, wait for it, includes another error. Don’t…

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