Fact Checking? Newspapers Duped By Wikipedia Edit Again

from the nobody-fact-checks-any-more dept

Earlier this year, we noted how the press got caught relying on Wikipedia when they reprinted an error (amusingly, those press clippings were then used to “verify” the info in Wikipedia). It appears to have happened again. Clay Shirky points us to the news that a student in Ireland added a fake quote to the Wikipedia page of Maurice Jarre, a French musician who died in March. The student added the fake (but potentially real-sounding) quote soon after Jarre died, and many reporters apparently included the quote in their obituaries/writeups about Jarre. Of course, Wikipedia-haters may use this to point out the horrible questionable nature of Wikipedia content, but that’s missing the point. Everyone knows that Wikipedia content should be considered suspect since anyone can edit it. It’s a known quantity. For the most part, then, if you’re a reporter, it should never be used as a sole source on something, but for background info that can also be checked elsewhere. The real issue was that the press didn’t do this — and didn’t do their jobs in actually confirming the info.

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Comments on “Fact Checking? Newspapers Duped By Wikipedia Edit Again”

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8 Comments
TriZz (user link) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Journalism

Pour a can of coca-cola on your windshield, spray it off with water, wait until dry, use windex with a newspaper and you’ll never have a cleaner windshield.

…but that’s besides the point. As a college student, Wikipedia is great. I use it as starting point for the rest of my research, or I’ll look up the references mentioned in the article. But yeah, most universities now won’t let you use Wikipedia as a cited source.

I mean, if it’s not good enough for universities, then why would a journalist think it’s good for news?

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