Are Facebook and Twitter reliable sources for professional journalists?
If you’re registered on any social networking site you can and will be found by someone who wants to find you. In this case that someone could be a ‘journalist’ trying to corroborate or enhance their story.
For example, when Tiger Woods’ infidelity scandal was front page news, everyone weighed in on it including The Huffington Post. The headline of their article, Susie Ogren: Tiger Woods Took Ecstasy, Hoped To ‘Get Me Into Bed‘ was enough to make anyone click and read – I did. Once reading I discovered there wasn’t much fact to this supposed fiction. In fact, the article was written by The National Enquirer. In fact, Susie Ogren and Tiger Woods didn’t have sex. In fact, the reporter searched Facebook to find a photo of Susie Ogren and posted the photo in the article. In fact, they weren’t even sure it was Susie’s Facebook photo they posted.
After posting the photo, they were careful not to ‘mislead’ the reader by saying:
A Facebook search for Susie Ogren, meanwhile, produces a profile that may belong to the woman who says she took ecstasy with Tiger Woods in 1999. According to a Google search, the profile belongs to someone claiming to be in Las Vegas. In addition to sharing the same name and city, the profile picture appears to resemble the photo from the Enquirer, given that the two pictures were presumably taken approximately a decade apart. Again, though, it is not a certainty that the Facebook profile below belongs to the same woman who claims to share a history with Woods.
This is journalism? We all know NOTHING gets erased from the web ever, ever, never, ever. So if this photo is really a photo of another woman – it doesn’t matter, because from now until eternity on the indelible web, her photo will be linked to Susie Ogren.
Am I the only one who is shaking my head, and tsk, tsking? Am I the only one just a tad outraged?
By the way, I purposely didn’t link to the article, because I would be one more person spreading a photo around that was in question.