Dawn Colclasure's Blog

Author and poet Dawn Colclasure

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Was it stress to meet a deadline, or poor research?

In light of the recent story about a financial writer who dropped the bomb with reposting an old story as "news," I have to wonder if this was the result of her trying to rush and beat a deadline or if she was just too lazy to do a little further reading to verify her information. Regardless of what it was, United Airlines took a hit for her screw-up.

Case in point: A writer for a newsletter Income Securities Advisors Inc. caused a stir among investors when she took a story about United Airlines filing for Chapter 11 protection which ran on the South Florida Sun-Sentinel website she came across on the Internet and posted it as a current story. Problem was, the story dated back to December, 2002, which she failed to figure out herself. In other words, she screwed up big time. I guess this writer was too lazy to look into that story any further than the actual report because she took that story as gospel and passed on the news to the newsletter. And that very act made the news story get posted on Bloomberg. Five seconds later, the stocks for United Airlines plummetted.


And no matter how you look at it, it seems like this writer decided not to look for the source of that article. It was reprinted from the Chicago Tribune. Had she looked THAT up, it would've shown it was a 2002 story. It really irritates me when someone sees something on the Internet and thinks it's "news" or "current" without even looking into it further. If you do a little digging, maybe some scrolling, the date of a story, blog post, work posted online, etc., will be revealed in all its glory.

In the writer's defense, the date of the filing (December 9, 2002) was not revealed in the story. Okay, fine. That's no excuse for sloppy reporting.
And she must've had to search for a long time because I did the same thing she did and didn't see that story come up until after several clicks.

But guess which kind of related story came up first? That's right: The story telling the WHOLE world about her mistake. Link after link after link.

All I will say is, writers, do your homework. Don't believe everything you read on the Internet. Question everything and READ everything.

Here is the link to the story online:

Here is the original story, courtesy of chicagotribune.com:

For further reading on this subject:



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