A 22-year-old sociology major attending the University of Dublin decided to test Wikipedia’s fact checking prowess as well as that of the world wide journalism community in order to prove a point. Everything you read on the web in not accurate or factual and if you’re going to quote something make sure you double check its authenticity.
The results? Wikipedia got an A+ while journalists worldwide got an F.
Shane Fitzgerald added a fictitious quote to the Wikipedia profile of Maurice Jarre, an Oscar winning composer, moments after learning of his death. The bogus quote soon appeared in Newspapers worldwide. Wikipedia staff however caught the inaccurate quote and removed it from the site on their own. But not before it was published worldwide by Newspapers in England, India, America and Australia. Even an esteemed Newspaper such as the England’s Guardian was a victim to the hoax.
This indeed shows an alarming trend. With more and more people getting their News from the internet resulting in the deaths of long established Newspapers the question has often been asked, “Where are these sites getting their facts from? Who is checking to see if the data is accurate?”
Anyone can make a fancy website that looks “authentic” and host it on the web. Then they can fabricate whatever they like and publish it as News. There is an old rule that states “people tend to believe anything they see it print.” That being said just what percentage of internet News is factual? Journalism use to be about accuracy. That is why people trusted outfits like the New York Times. But if Journalists are just going to reprint things they find online without fact checking then what is the point of reading what they write? Are they doing their job?
What was the point of going to Journalism School for that matter?