One interesting side note is that The Guardian’s reader’s editor noted that Wikipedia editors exercised more skepticism about Fitzgerald’s fake quotes than the professional journalists:
Wikipedia editors were more skeptical about the unsourced quote. They deleted it twice on 30 March and when Fitzgerald added it the second time it lasted only six minutes on the page. His third attempt was more successful - the quote stayed on the site for around 25 hours before it was spotted and removed again.The rule for using Wikipedia as a source is simple: it’s okay to read an entry for background, but it’s unacceptable to cite a Wikipedia entry as fact. Follow the links to external sources and confirm any facts with multiple sources. It’s a mantra that’s repeated over and over again, yet journalists, while often condemning the inaccuracies contained within the site, still turn to Wikipedia as a quick way to churn out an article.
This latest example also exposes another flaw inside newsrooms: most papers were unaware that they had used fake quotes until Fitzgerald himself contacted them to say a correction was necessary.
Give the kid an A.
Correction of the Week
“A week-long series of World factfile booklets appeared with the Guardian from 18 April to 25 April. They contained some non-facts.
“New Zealand’s prime minister should have been listed as John Key, not Helen Clark, his predecessor (23 April, page 15). Jerusalem was referred to as Israel’s de facto capital instead of as a disputed city claimed as capital by both Israelis and Palestinians (Sources panel, page 2, daily).
“Jamaica’s “living national icons” included the late Bob Marley (21 April, page 31). Bulgaria’s highest point, Musala peak, was listed under its defunct and short-lived name, Stalin peak (18 April, page 29). Poland was partitioned in the 1700s, not the 17th century (23 April, page 29). A map of Turkey included northern Cyprus, which Turkey occupies but does not claim (25 April, page 14).
“The verses of some national anthems were inadvertently pasted into the page templates of other countries. Thus, stretching global fraternity and sorority, the people of Brunei were held to sing - on the website, though not on the printed page - of their willingness to fight for Albania (18 April, guardian.co.uk). The Solomon Islands were found singing of freedom from slavery in words that actually belong to Belize (24 April, page 21).
“On their arrival in abandoned Barbados in 1627, British settlers “found the island uninhibited” (18 April, page 18). The series website has corrected versions of these and other pages: http://www.guardian.co.uk/global/series/country-profiles” - The Guardian
Fun With Photos
“In yesterday’s article in the print edition, ‘Britain’s least wanted’, by mistake we published a picture of D. Al-Boutti , instead of a picture of ‘Safwat Hijazi, televangalist’. Dr Al-Boutti is a highly reputable Syrian Muslim scholar and of course would not appear on a banned list. We apologize to Dr Al-Boutti for our error.” Independent (U.K.)
“Incorrect information was published in ‘O’Donnell-land’ (cover story, April 9). Darren O’Donnell spent three days in Toronto General hospital, not three months. He has neither experienced nor has he been diagnosed with schizophrenia. EYE WEEKLY regrets the errors.” – Eye Weekly (Canada)