Andrea Reiher, Gotye dead? No, but unvetted CNN iReport sparks death hoax
I’m not dead. #Pinkalbumtitles— gotye (@gotye) July 1, 2012
Sydney Smith of iMediaEthics interviewed Matt Dornic, senior director of public relations for CNN Worldwide, regarding the hoax.
Dornic differentiated between CNN and iReport, which he called “essentially a social network for news” that anyone can post to. Dornic noted that with iReport posts, users submit posts, and CNN fact checks and “vets 20-30%” of the submissions.
Dornic added that the fake death story “is not an isolated incident” with iReport, and that “this type of stuff happens in a user-generated platform.” With iReport, “stuff comes up that’s incorrect and it’s partly up to our folks and partly up to the community to flag it,” he said.
“So the fact that it’s not available anymore shows to me that the community acts exactly how it’s supposed to,” Dornic said.
Dornic said he didn’t know iReport’s exact policies for posting corrections and editor’s notes, for which he said “I’m sure that there’s a best practices,” but “the fact that you’ve now contacted me, I’ll probably let the iReport community know” about the incident.
We also asked Dornic about any policy for banning users who hoax iReport. Dornic said iReport members who intentionally hoax iReport would be “pulled” from the network, but that “if it looks like an innocent mistake then that’s different.”
Here are a few takeaways from this incident.
Twitter has killed more celebrities than alcohol and drugs.
User-generated content from citizen journalism can be used as a source for raw reports but it must be thoroughly vetted, using various independent sources.
Citizen journalism and social media won’t replace professional journalism, which self-corrects.
People still run to mainstream media to get second opinion on stories that broke in social media.
False reports still spread faster and wider on Twitter than later corrections.
Don’t let the herd make your editorial decisions. You were hired specifically to serve as a filter to separate the wheat from the chaff.
Again, not CNN’s fault. Just someone trolling the news network’s citizen j system.— Jojo Pasion Malig (@JojoMalig) July 1, 2012