Thoughts on politics and life from a liberal perspective

Tuesday, 8 September 2009

Another symptom of Flat Earth News syndrome?

Sara Bedford asks a good question today: "Is the Daily Mail guilty of a contempt of court?". She noticed on their website a story about the "Torture Brothers" case that a court illustration had a caption which included the surname of the boys. She has a screen capture of it with the surname blanked out to illustrate what she saw (see right).

The offending page has been taken down and as far as I can tell any google cache references to it have also been cleared - I guess The Mail asked them to wipe their caches when they realised what had happened. So it seems like it was an error that has been rectified.

This does however throw up some interesting questions. In "the good old days" ((c) Daily Mail) when men were men and papers were papers I think something like this would have been much less likely to happen. That's because sub-editors and proof-readers would likely have been more involved and a clanger like that would have been caught. But nowadays with the much more compressed news cycle and the pressure to get the online content published and out I wonder if some of these steps are no longer there? Otherwise surely someone would have spotted this?

Nick Davies in Flat Earth News covers how the modern press is so overwhelmed with deadlines and lack of resources that mistakes frequently occur. I wonder if this is another example of this problem?

I have contacted the Mail to ask for their comment about what happened here but they are yet to get back to me. I will update this post when they do.

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