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When they get it wrong

by Shari Graydon

It’s one of the most commonly-cited deterrents to doing media interviews: not having control over how the words you speak will be used in the resulting story, whether it’s in a newspaper, on the radio or on TV.

But just because you can’t oversee the editing or transmission process doesn’t mean you shouldn’t participate — even when a journalist or news outlet occasionally gets it wrong.

Consider Elizabeth Sheehy’s recent experience. The University of Ottawa law professor appeared on CBC Radio’s Sunday Morning to provide context about violence against women and the impact of granting bail to men accused of abusing their partners.

Disappointingly, the public broadcaster got the title of her new book wrong on its website and edited the interview in a way that cut out some information she felt was critically important.

However, when her initial request to correct the title and provide a link to the missing information failed to elicit a response, she contacted CBC’s ombud’s office, and within an hour, the website reference was corrected, and a note about the excluded information was posted, along with a new link to the original interview.

Which just goes to show that a little persistence pays off.

As importantly, the broadcast generated some great letters that were read on-air the following week, expanding the conversation and allowing more perspectives to be heard.

Because the internet allows information to remain accessible indefinitely, if and when a reporter misquotes you or relays inaccurate information (usually inadvertently), it’s important to request that the record be corrected.

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