by Manuela Semenzin, Media Relations Specialist,Business Wire/Paris
Luca Sofri, a well-known Italian blogger and journalist (founder and editor of the online newspaper Il Post, 2010), has curated for several years a weekly column inside his blog, Wittengstein.it, called “Notizie che non lo erano” (News that wasn’t).
Each week he points the finger at a few news stories published by Italian newspapers without any fact-checking. These stories are often revealed to be hoaxes.
As David Brewer says in his article “The importance of fact-checking for journalists“, reporters should always apply the “two reliable sources rule”, where one source is often represented by the wires. But he also notes that “wires can be wrong” and journalists should not rely on them blindly.
Of course, error is always possible when publishing hundreds of thousands of releases per year. That’s why announcements crossing a professional wire undergo a rigorous series of checks and quality-control measures before being released to the public.
I asked our Newsroom Supervisor in Paris, Jacky Ringot, to provide details about what editors do each time they receive a new press release from a client in order to avoid mistakes.
“First of all, we are responsible for authenticating the source of releases,” said Ringot, “So we verify who is sending the release via our secured platform.”
Ringot went on to explain that our clients possess personal codes to access our secured online system, which means that they have already opened an account and have gone through verification by the sales department.
“But double-checking is our motto,” noted Ringot, “So we verify once again. If contact information consists of a company name, an individual name and a phone number, we check the connection between the contact and the company issuing the release. We call the person, we ask for his/her e-mail and verify that it’s a professional address.
“If a website is included we check it and verify that its content is appropriate,” Ringot continued. “We read the entire press release and if the content is questionable we escalate with management. If a release includes previously published articles from newspapers, magazines or other sources approval must be given in writing by the original source of the article.
“We also escalate issues of photo copyright or possibly objectionable images. We check hyperlinks, dateline, spelling, tables, everything! Your Luca Sofri would have an incredibly hard time trying to catch us out.”
This combination of highly secured technology with human action is a key element here at Business Wire France, and this is also true for each of the newsrooms we have around the world. While no system is entirely fail-safe, we are always working to reduce the risk through a series of checks and balances. We know what is at stake for our customers because their news moves the market and a little error can have very important consequences.