Should Journalists Bother Checking Sources?

by @edent | # | Read ~170 times.

OMG WE'RE ALL GOING TO DIE!!!!111!!
Fukushima-fs8
(Subsequently deleted but still available at Fadah Jassem's tweet)

Let's take a look at the article and see if we can determine if this is a trustworthy source...
Sleuth-fs8

Hmmm... I see "9/11 Truth", "Bilderberg", "Chemtrails" right next to the image. There's a conspiracy corner in the top right. We haven't even got below the fold yet. Now, that's not to say that sites like these don't occasionally break news - but I'm not sure I'd rely on it for accuracy.

The story is, of course, a hoax. Snopes has an excellent write-up demonstrating quite clearly that this is a map of wave height following a tsunami. They even link to primary and secondary sources.

In fact, if the "journalists" had bothered scrolling to the comments, they would have seen many people debunking this story.
Snopes fukushima-fs8
...along with an advert telling people that water, salt, and milk are killing children.

The thing is, it's not a "stupid fake". It's a couple of stupid journalists who fell for an obviously dubious source. Take a look at the image, notice the scale on the right hand side? It is in centimetres which - for those of you without a physics GCSE - isn't a measure of radiation.

Citizen Journalism gets a bad name. But compared with two actual card-carrying journalists, it's not that much worse.

Journalists have a great opportunity to connect with their readers on social media - Alexi Mostrous has over 10,000 followers - but journalists obviously still need the filter of a good editor. Or just some common sense. That is, unless they want to become mere rumour-mongers and let their readers do their fact checking for them.

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