March 14, 2006

Journalism These Days... Seriously

In today's rapid-fire world of scoops and exclusives, it's always a race to get ahead of the next guy - so much so that the historical efforts to fact-check and edit simple grammar or story sources just need to go by the wayside, in exchange for being the first to announce something - anything - whether it's true or not.

While we can routinely see the news and media skewered on Comedy Central, through The Colbert Report and The Daily Show, or analyzed for fairness by Media Matters for America, and discussed at Editor and Publisher, one of the more amusing sites on this beat is "Regret the Error", which focuses on the niche market of newspaper corrections and retractions.

According to Regret the Error, one site published a story that actor/comedian Will Ferrell had plunged to his death in a paragliding accident after a "freak wind gush". This set off rumors throughout the Web that it was true, despite the release being chock full of errors and misspellings. Turns out the release was initiated from a free online press release submission service - one likely that will now look a lot deeper at those that come across its desk in the future.

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