Sloppy reporting leads to false report in The NewsJun 28th, 2012 | By admin | Category: Jang, The News
The News on Thursday included a report on page 2 with a tragic headline: Pakistanis found dead in container at US port. Thank God the headline is not true.
The story broke Wednesday that a cargo ship arrived in New Jersey, USA from the Middle East and was being inspected by American authorities when inspectors heard knocking coming from inside a container on board. As of 1pm Thursday, 150 of 200 containers had been searched and no people had been found.
By evening, officials had inspected more than 150 of the 200 containers authorities believe could be carrying people and no stowaways had been found. The search was to continue on Thursday. The ship has 2,000 containers altogether.
Why did The News report that the ship was carrying dead Pakistanis? A clue can be found in the by line for the piece: ‘Monitoring report’.
‘Monitoring report’, ‘monitoring desk’, ‘online’ – these are increasingly becoming common in media reports not only from Jang Group but many media groups across the nation. These ‘monitoring’ reports are often the work of inexperienced, untrained, and poorly paid workers who are assigned to search the internet for interesting stories. Once an interesting story is found, it is not fact-checked or verified. At best it is re-written, but more often it is simply cut and pasted in whole or in part.
The story published in The News is a partial cut and paste job from an article on The New York Post website that was updated a few hours later to correct the original misinformation. A Google search shows that the report copied by The News was actually removed from The New York Post website.
‘Monitoring desk’ of The News did not monitor long enough to notice that the story was pulled and the false information was corrected, though, so The News has published a false report a day later.
Journalism is not cutting and pasting sensational stories that you find on the Internet. Real journalism requires careful investigation, fact checking, and verifying claims to produce original reports that give people the facts in an unbiased manner. In addition to providing useful and factual information to the dear readers, this careful work also prevents the embarrassment of publishing false headlines.