Daily Telegraph: Is This Journalism?

I always thought it was the duty of a journalist to report on the news, not to invent it. I understand that with the editorial slant that each media organisation puts on their own paper/television channel/radio broadcast, that the details can be spun, muddied, embellished, or in the case of tabloids – totally twisted. I didn’t realise the pressure that journalists must be under to get the story out as quickly as possible. This is where I think journalism becomes something more akin to… creative writing.

I can’t say I followed much of the Channel 10 series, Masterchef, over the past few months. Apparently I’m in the minority. I did catch the final episode however. Something that Erin McWhirter may not have done. Which is surprising, considering that she wrote a story for the Daily Telegraph’s website about that very subject.

For a long time, Murdoch’s News Limited hasn’t been associated with high quality, investigative journalism, but are they actually encouraging their staff to create stories before the fact, so that they can get them out immediately, into their ever-hungry, highly-comsumptive internet audience? Last night, I was pointed toward this post suggesting that they’re doing just that…

…if you’re not up on the latest Masterchef news, Poh actually lost the final to fellow contestant, Julie. Oops.

It wasn’t long before Twitter and Facebook messages alerted news.com.au to the fact that they’d screwed up, and the content of the post was replaced with what must have been the ‘back up’ story. However, the address structure of their CMS managed to out-smart even their brilliance and the page address remained the same. It wasn’t until today that this page was removed altogether.

It was only a few weeks ago that I watched News Limited CEO, John Hartigan, wax lyrical about the pride he had in his organisation’s journalism on the National Press Club. He also went on to say that every journalist that moves through their ranks has the very highest News Limited standards impressed upon them. Is this really the best that the Telegraph has to offer? If Hartigan truly believes that the way forward is to create a new, subscriptive model for delivering news content on the internet, I think most people would like to see them lift their game. Until then, I guess we’re just getting what we pay for.

Edit: mUmBRELLA also spotted this Telegraph slip-up. The comments to their post make for some interesting reading.

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