Sunday 19 April 2015

Newspapers are useless

So is the TV news, and radio. And we all know how accurate the internet is.

Here's how I know this. Sometimes, there's a news story covering something where I actually know what's going on. And the reporting is totally wide of the mark; this tells me that in fields where I don't know what's actually going on, the same is probably true.

Here's a good example.

"The coastguard had to be called out after 15 people got stuck in mud while taking part in a hi-tech seaside treasure hunt."

No, they didn't have to be called out. They were called out, but not by the people that the newspaper reported as "stuck", they were called out by "Two motorcyclists", and since they were on motorbikes, they would have been quite a long way away. And they weren't stuck in the mud. 13 of the 15 refused any assistance - they weren't stuck. So I very much doubt if the other two were actually stuck.

" The group been geocaching, which uses a mobile phone signal to hunt for buried treasures."

No, it doesn't use a mobile phone signal, it uses the GPS signal, which is completely different. And geocaches are never buried.

The report came originally from the Western Morning News, written by Davis Wells. The Telegraph report looks like a word-for-word copy of that piece, presumably with their permission, but without attribution. The Evening Standard also carried an almost-identical report.

Here's the cache  and you can read about what actually happened in the logs dated April 18, 2015.

So what do we learn from this?

Major national newspapers are willing to reprint stories from local newspapers without any additional input or editing. And that reporters at local newspapers don't really think about what they're writing.

Now back to the usual election coverage, which is likely to be as inacccurate and ill-informed as the above, plus an extra dose of bias according to the agenda of the medium reporting it.

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