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Nearly 80 years of accuracy research in the United States has documented that the press frequently errs, but empirical study about news accuracy elsewhere in the world is absent. This article presents an accuracy audit of Swiss and Italian daily regional newspapers. Replicating US research, the study offers a trans-Atlantic perspective of news accuracy. To compare newspaper accuracy in Switzerland and Italy to longitudinal accuracy research in the United States, the study followed closely the methodology pioneered by Charnley (1936) and adapted by Maier (2005). News sources found factual inaccuracy in 60 percent of Swiss newspaper stories they reviewed, compared to 48 percent of US and 52 percent of Italian newspapers examined. The results show that newspaper inaccuracy—and its corrosive effect on media credibility—transcends national borders and journalism cultures. Nowadays, digitization offers new ways of implementing correction policies. Media organizations need, however, to adapt to these changes and to adapt their structures in particular to new forms of participative and interactive two-way communication.

Keywords: accuracy; credibility; digitization; journalism; journalism cultures

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2012-08-01

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