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20 years

Monday, June 28, 2010

Correcting the record

The Washington Post's front page article on how US Government officials in Pakistan are trying to counter what they believe are inaccurate and wrongly slanted articles in the Pakistani media http://bit.ly/ddCiNY, is a reminder to any organization that believes it has suffered from poor reporting, rumors and misrepresentations, to take action.


Pakistan, like China and India, is experiencing a growing number of print and broadcast media outlets. (In other parts of the world, the shrinking of traditional broadcast media reporting has been somewhat offset by the rise of new media and unfiltered comments in blogs, tweets and even text messages.) US officials have resorted to a number of measures called "Corrections for the Record" to counter what they perceive as the reporting of rumors, non-credible facts and just bad journalism.


A few years ago, during the earlier stages of the war in Iraq, US State Department officials tried to counter reports by Al Jazeera and other Middle Eastern media.


In the private sector, Toyota has been particularly aggressive this year in trying to counter reports on the sudden acceleration issues with its vehicles.


It is well within the rights of any organization to challenge inaccurate reporting, rumors and media bias. The Risk: the protest can result in more publicity. The benefit, however, can outweigh the risk. Setting the record straight is important. We counsel clients to use multiple means to correct the record. These range from the old fashioned, but still read, letter to the editor and a well-timed call to the editor. Other tactics include posting on your own web site or commenting on the reporter's blog. When appropriate: create videos, a flip camera interview, press releases, and recruit a third party who will verify the client's version of the information.


When and how have you countered what you view as an innacurate story? How did you decide what tactics to use in your defense?

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