Clarification (journalism)

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In journalism, a clarification is used to make a statement in a published story clearer. It refers to a statement in a story that (while factually correct) may be subject to a misunderstanding or incorrect assumption.

For instance, a published story about teacher layoffs states that the superintendent filed a notice of termination for the affected staff. Although that statement is factually correct as printed, it may lead to the assumption that the teachers were fired that night. A statement—in this case, a clarification—may be required, stating that the teachers then have time to appeal their dismissal before the termination takes effect.

A clarification is not the same as a correction, which corrects factual errors in a published story. As with corrections, the policy for reporting statements which need to be made more clear varies with the newspaper; it usually involves a reader calling an editor and pointing out the story elements requiring clarification (or correction).