Journalism is better suited to humans than algorithms.
For proof of this blindingly obvious truism, take a look at this ‘In Depth’ piece on the current crisis in Georgia from Sky News.
Scroll down a bit, and take a look in the BACKGROUND box on the right-hand side.
Here’s what it says at the time of writing:
Georgia is a state in the southern United States. Georgia was one of the Thirteen Colonies that revolted against British rule in the American Revolution…
Even worse, check the disclaimer beneath the errant entry:
Information generated by Wikipedia. Sky News takes no responsibility for its accuracy
This nugget of wisdom has been lifted from Wikipedia, but you can’t blame them – the filter being used by Sky News has failed to distinguish between the American state and the European country.
Which is why it’s always a good idea to proof-read copy before wanging it up on the interweb.
For the purposes of longevity, I’ve saved a copy of this page here (thanks Andy!). Content from Sky isn’t available in the Internet Archive, so once the error’s been spotted, it might just disappear (more of which later…hopefully!).
This isn’t the first time Sky have fallen prey to the cost-cutting injudicious use of ‘user generated content’.
Back in April, they were pranked by users of 365.com, who submitted doctored pictures of the London Marathon, featuring guest runners Tron, and The Grim Reaper (to name a few).
On a side-note, I have been known to use the Google Advanced operator intitle: in my demos to dig out analysis pieces on current affairs issues, safe (or so I thought) in the knowledge that the strict metadata standards employed by major media organisations would more likely generate reliable results.
I guess I’ll be passing on searches using intitle:depth from now on, in light of this absolute howler.
UPDATE: It took a while, but finally its been ‘fixed’. Seems a bit drastic to remove the whole module, but thems the brakes.