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.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1. icon
    ChurchHatesTucker (profile), May 7th, 2009 @ 3:56pm


    But that's why we need *real* journalists, and we need to prop up the debt-saddled institutions that support them. So that this kind of thing doesn't happen on *blogs,* but in self-authoritative periodicals where it belongs.


    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. identicon
    another mike, May 7th, 2009 @ 4:44pm

    Re: Journalism

    Exactly. So tell me again why we need newspapers?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 7th, 2009 @ 4:51pm

    Re: Re: Journalism

    What will we line our birdcages with unless there are newspapers? A Kindle DX?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. identicon
    twowords, May 7th, 2009 @ 5:36pm

    Re: Re: Re: Journalism

    forget the birdcage how will i make my windows shine and sparkle. paper towels pale in this area.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 7th, 2009 @ 6:31pm

    Re: Re: Re: Journalism

    OLEDs, man.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. identicon
    TriZz, May 7th, 2009 @ 8:22pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: 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?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7. icon
    Killer_Tofu (profile), May 8th, 2009 @ 5:53am


    This is just really funny with all of those old media types so recently saying how we need "real journalists" in the newspapers because that is the only way we have fact based news. They don't even follow the facts half the time or check sources or any of that. What a bunch of fools.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8. identicon
    Mike2, May 8th, 2009 @ 12:56pm

    Critical thinking

    Information is always suspect until independently confirmed by multiple different sources, not just info on Wikipedia.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Save me a cookie
  • Note: A CRLF will be replaced by a break tag (<br>), all other allowable HTML will remain intact
  • Allowed HTML Tags: <b> <i> <a> <em> <br> <strong> <blockquote> <hr> <tt>
Follow Techdirt
Insider Shop - Show Your Support!

Hide this ad »
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Techdirt Insider Chat
Hide this ad »
Recent Stories
Advertisement - Amazon Prime Music
Hide this ad »


Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.