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Here we'll explore the nexus of legal rulings, Capitol Hill policy-making, technical standards development, and technological innovation that creates -- and will recreate -- the networked world as we know it. Among the topics we'll touch on: intellectual property conflicts, technical architecture and innovation, the evolution of copyright, private vs. public interests in Net policy-making, lobbying and the law, and more.

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May 10, 2005

Online Journalism Investigating Itself

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Posted by Alan Wexelblat

According to an AP story (here on USA Today), an investigation by Adam Penenberg into articles written by WIRED contributor Michelle Delio has turned up more than 40 "color quote" sources who could not be identified. Alert readers may recognize Penenberg as the person who exposed fabricated stories by Stephen Glass in The New Republic.

Delio has pointed out in her own defense that these quote sources were supporting main news points in the stories, which she says have not been questioned.

However, WIRED, in its lengthy report on the matter, noted four stories in which "unconfirmed sources arguably play a more prominent role," and has edited these stories to reflect its findings but left the stories online. Other publications have taken more conservative views: MIT's Tech Review pulled two of Delio's stories, and Infoworld edited stories to remove non-sourceable quotes.

The question here is did Delio make up the quotes or simply fail to keep adequate notes on the contact information for these sources? As someone who is himself habitually disorganized, I have some sympathy for a person who didn't keep notes on things she considered minor that happened some years ago. Given the general air of hostility towards online journalim, it'll be interesting to see how it responds to scandals in the family.

Comments (5) + TrackBacks (0) | Category: Speech


COMMENTS

1. david goldenberg on May 10, 2005 9:03 PM writes...

Here's a recent interview I did with Adam Penenberg, who is in charge of the Delio investigation:
http://www.gelfmagazine.com/mt/archives/interview_with_adam_penenberg.html

Permalink to Comment

2. Binnsy on May 12, 2005 1:32 AM writes...

My two bobs' worth on the Delio affair can be found in the latter half of this post:
http://binnsyshovel.blogspot.com/2005/05/rotting-dragon-leaves-no-clue-as-to.html
I just think the fact that Delio's written 700 articles for Wired, about 95% of which were decently written and sourced, is being overlooked here. There are much more corrupt journalists in the world than this one.

Permalink to Comment

3. mph on May 12, 2005 2:55 AM writes...

I just think the fact that Delio's written 700 articles for Wired, about 95% of which were decently written and sourced, is being overlooked here.

That "fact" isn't being overlooked because it's not true anyhow. Less than a quarter of her entire body of work for Wired News has been investigated.

Permalink to Comment

4. Binnsy on May 12, 2005 3:50 AM writes...

Okay, the mainstream media hard at work deceiving again - From the obviously too few articles I read on the subject, the fact that only a portion of her work was under scrutiny was omitted. I assumed, probably too hastily, that all Delio's work had been investigated.

I apologise for my being misleading. My research usually covers more bases than the MSM, but the lack of bloggers blogging on the Delio case at the time of writing prohibited me from doing so. This dilemma will be rectified in tomorrow's post on my blog. Thanks for the heads-up.

Permalink to Comment

5. Tom Gwynn on May 19, 2005 1:56 PM writes...

"My research usually covers more bases than the MSM, but the lack of bloggers blogging on the Delio case at the time of writing prohibited me from doing so."

In other words, other people weren't doing your legwork for you.

Man, is that pathetic. And bloggers wonder by the media doesn't take them seriously.

Permalink to Comment


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