Friday, May 15, 2009

Shane Fitzgerald's prank exposes the state of journalism today

Last year, April, 2008 to be precise, I wrote a post about how The Hindu had copied or lifted an article from Wikipedia and claimed it was an authentic article of theirs as they had an author's name below the article. They then replicated the same on their online edition too.

Click here to read my post.

After this The Hindu has been doing it repeatedly (I am sure they were doing it before too) but it is only now that I realise that newspapers all over the world have been doing it.

The expose came when Shane Fitzgerald a student in Ireland deliberately made a fake entry in Wikipedia about the late French composer Maurice Jarre. According to Shane the late Maurice is said to have made the following quote:

"One could say my life itself has been one long soundtrack. Music was my life, music brought me to life, and music is how I will be remembered long after I leave this life. When I die there will be a final waltz playing in my head that only I can hear."

Though Wikipedia did its best to authenticate it and even remove it, the damage was already done. Newspapers and blogs around the world lifted the hoax quote and published them. The Guardian was one.

Once the hoax was revealed The Guardian even apolologized for the error.

You can read the entire article of the hoax here on Wikipedia or here on yahoo news.

And worst of all. Here is something I am going to predict. The Hindu may innocently copy even this report from Yahoo or Wikipedia into their papers not knowing how many out there know they are copying articles, posts and news items from the internet. Let us see if my prediction will come true.

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