Red pen
Credit: By mac.rj on Flickr. Some rights reserved.
The New York Times website is to launch a new electronic corrections submissions form, to try and improve the reader's ability to report an error.

Speaking to Journalism.co.uk for a podcast on best practice in online corrections, senior editor for standards at the Times Greg Brock said the news outlet's philosophy "is that we want to make it as easy as possible for every reader to report an error, or comment on an article if they want to".

One option for news outlets wanting to make reporting errors simple for readers is to offer a button within every article, such as is offered by Digital First Media's the Register Citizen or the Morning Sun.

But Brock said "our problem is just the volume of email and information that we get from readers, so we have not yet come to the point where we want to put a button at the bottom of every article".

However the current system, which requires a reader to email the newspaper, is "not good enough" Brock said.

As a result, the site is now building "a fairly simple electronic corrections form", which would be accessible via the corrections page which features all that day's corrections, and is already linked to from the homepage.

Brock said New York Times website articles which enable comments should also feature a corrections link to "prevent readers from posting comments alleging errors because we just don't know if that's indeed an error, we have to check it out".

The newspaper will also feature the web address for the form for the attention of print readers, "so step by step we're trying to make it better", Brock said.

He added that in time he would also "like to see a button on the homepage that says simply 'report an error' and you click it".

"That's better than not having anything", he said.

He said while the homepage is "premium space" and "can only hold so much", he hopes he will be able to "make headway on that because it's a crucial thing".

A specific launch date for the form is not yet confirmed, but Brock said the first iteration of it should be ready "soon".

Update: It is worth noting that as well as the Digital First Media titles mentioned above, the Washington Post also already provides a button in article pages for the reporting of corrections, which links to a 'contact us' form.

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