Style Guide and Corrections Policy

Introduction

So Share This publishes news and entertainment in the language of the web, and in our work, we rely on a style guide to govern everything from hard-hitting journalism to fun and uplifting content. We value consistency and accuracy across those formats and categories.

This style guide is updated regularly to ensure it remains relevant and responds accordingly to changes in language and common, casual usage.

Telling the Truth
  • Our first value as a company is truth. We should be honest, accurate, truthful and fair. We should not distort or fabricate facts, imagery, sound or data.
  • We should provide accurate context for all reporting.
  • In our news coverage, we should seek out diverse voices that can contribute important perspectives on the subject about which we’re reporting.
  • We should ensure that sources are reliable. To the maximum extent possible, we should make clear to our audience who and what our sources are, what motivations our sources may have and any conditions people have set for giving us information. When unsure of information, we should leave it out or make clear it has not been corroborated.
  • We should correct errors quickly, completely and visibly. We should make it easy for our audience to bring errors to our attention.
  • If a report includes criticism of people or organizations, we should make a reasonable effort to reach out and give them the opportunity to respond.
  • We should clearly distinguish fact from opinion in all content.
  • So Share This focuses on topics designed to resonate with people across different educational and socioeconomic backgrounds. We should strive to write clearly, in a way that communicates truth to the most people.
Corrections Policy

Corrections are important for two reasons: First, because we need to be right. And second, because transparency is a core value for So Share This. We live in the social conversation, and we can’t hide from it. And while every error is a weakness, some errors are inevitable, and fully and openly correcting them is a strength. We all make mistakes sometimes; the fullness and speed of corrections is one of the delights of digital journalism, and we should embrace it in full.

  • So Share This is committed to telling readers when an error has been made, the magnitude of the error and the correct information, as quickly as possible. This commitment and transparency is applicable to small errors as well as large, to short news summaries as well as large feature pieces.
  • We encourage all members of our organization to let our editorial team know if they believe an incorrect statement has been made in our reporting. We encourage and applaud content creators who bring a correction to the attention of editorial team on their own content.
How So Share This Does Corrections:

• A correction should include the accurate information. It should explain the error, and it may restate the error when it’s necessary to clarify what it was or to debunk a claim. See sample corrections at the end of this doc.

• Corrections should be made for errors of fact — not misspellings or typos or broken links. Do issue a correction, however, if a person or brand’s name is misspelled throughout a story (even if a name appears only once and is misspelled).

• If a correction is issued for a misspelling, it should be stated simply as:

[TK person]’s name was misspelled in an earlier version of this post.

• The correction’s tone should echo the tone of the item, in keeping with its gravity. For a factual error in, say, a funny list, the language can be fairly colloquial and even humorous as long as it contains the basic building blocks — “we got something wrong, and here is the correct information”; whereas for a news error, the language should be more sober and direct.

• Corrections should be in plain English, not in the somewhat formal corrections style traditional among news organizations.

• Be very thorough and careful. The absolute worst thing is to have to correct your correction. If the correction is about a person, it’s often a good move to read the correction on the phone to its subject before printing it.

• Try to mention the correction on all channels the story went out on — if you tweeted it, tweet the correction, etc.

Corrections vs. Updates:

Updates should be used to reflect important new information or clarifications; corrections are for mistakes.

Process:

• Writers should draft corrections, but run them by their editor, team leader, or the after-hours list for approval/editing before putting them in.

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