Your comments about cut and paste journalism online


I received quite a few comments on my remarks about shoddy and suspect internet journalism – and, not surprisingly, several were from journalists.

Tim Bartlett, who writes detailed and informative technical articles, emailed: ‘Spot on! Amazing that you were allowed to question the validity of the almighty internet — and on, of all places. But congratulations for saying it.’

That echoed a couple of other comments. For the record, I wasn’t referring specifically to and I didn’t seek official endorsement for my remarks. It’s to IPC’s credit that, barring defamation, it welcomes a wide range of comment and opinion from all and writers don’t fear that someone will arrive at their desk with a knuckleduster or a P45 form.

In fact, the company has one of the best training and development programmes in the business, with an amazing range of courses to help journalists hone their skills.

That said, I did notice another story about the murder of Malcolm Robertson posted on this site only yesterday and several of the key facts, presumably Control C, Control V-ed from another internet site, were completely wrong.

Mike Chandler emailed to say that this was ‘ Quite timely as I just received an email (for the third or fourth time) incorrectly stating that Rowan Atkinson is Gemma Atkinson’s dad. Nice piccys though, apart from the plastic t***.’

And he added: ‘Go on then tell us the facts as you know them!’

Well, what to do? The full story made a 1,000 word article. That’s a lot for the internet – far too many for a blog. It’s part of an in-depth 10-page feature on the worldwide risks of piracy and it was nearly a week’s work. If I put that up on our website, you mightn’t buy the June issue of Yachting World. And of course we want you to, because that’s what pays for this amount of time and research.

Which leads me back to my original question: how much should we trust of what we read for free online? When so much of what you read is PR, dashed off in two minutes or cut and pasted from somewhere else, errors and all, should we simply accept that it may be riddled with inaccuracies and be more sceptical?