It could happen to anyone

You’re sitting at your desk in the newsroom. An editor walks over with a news release and hands it you, saying, “Hey, write something about this real quick, okay?”

What’s your first move?

In the case of Morgan Cook, a reporting student in our grad program just a few years back, she made a call today that saved the newspaper she works for from looking foolish.

And then she wrote about it. Meanwhile, the LA Times is feeling pretty silly. (They should be figuring out how to lure Morgan away from the North County Times, while they’re at it.)

Now, think about your verification habits. Could it happen to you?

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4 Responses to It could happen to anyone

  1. Zac says:

    The fact they called on the final email makes me think they were a little slow on the first two press releases but still a good catch. I had never thought of the idea of harassing the media to get your agenda across in such a way. Also good evidence that anyone with some time can fake a press release and reporting as soon as possible just to beat another outlet isn’t always the best option.

  2. granthahn says:

    Is it that hard to get in touch with a AUSA (Assistant United States Attorney)? I would not think so! Most districts get back to the press fairly quickly on releases, so I am really surprised that some So-Cal publications fell for this. There is a big difference in acting fast vs. being factually fast, and this case displays it.

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