Advertisements
Tag Archives: Social Media

Stacey Irvine Only Eats Chicken Nuggets for 15 Years, Nearly Dies

26 Jan

Chicken Nuggets

How does any parent let this happen? 17-year-old Stacey Irvine collapsed last week after struggling to breathe and was taken to the hospital with serious injuries. Doctors found her body lacked nearly all essential vitamins and minerals before injecting her with high doses of various nutrients.

The young girl says she has never tasted fresh fruits or vegetables, and has been hooked on chicken nuggets since her mother let her try one at the age of 2. The UK teenager says she will occasionally vary her diet— with a slice of toast or a bag of potato chips.

In addition to serious vitamin deficiencies, doctors diagnosed Irvine with anaemia and swollen veins in her tongue. “McDonald’s chicken nuggets are my favourite,” she told several UK tabloids. “I share 20 with my boyfriend with chips. But I also like KFC and supermarket brands. My main meal is always chicken nuggets every day.”

Her mother said she once tried starving Stacey in an effort to get her to eat healthy food, but the technique didn’t work.

Probably not the press McDonald’s wants. The fast food giant had a disastrous social media campaign earlier this week.

Advertisements

Journalists, Twitter, and Breaking News

22 Jan

Twitter

There should be a quite a lot of soul-searching in the journalistic establishment after an epically disastrous Saturday evening on the Interwebs. Enterprising journalists from around the world rapidly spread two completely false stories by Twitter. The incidents should give everyone pause and offer the opportunity to reconsider social media policies when reporting breaking news.

First, the two stories.

1. Jeb Bush’s Reported Endorsement: Shortly after the South Carolina primary was called for Newt Gingrich, CNN’s John King appeared to land a big scoop. He announced that former Florida Governor (and brother of ex-President George W. Bush)  Jeb Bush would endorse Mitt Romney for the GOP nomination. Problem was Bush didn’t have any intention of endorsing anyone (he later issued a statement to confirm that).  Jim Roberts of the New York Times probably spread the news quickest with this tweet, but other people picked up on it quickly. Pundits jumped on the announcement and began analyzing its impact on the race before Bush denied the rumor in his statement.

2. Joe Paterno Died: Perhaps more disturbingly, Twitter exploded with news that Penn State’s legendary coach Joe Paterno passed away last evening (since then Paterno has of course sadly passed on). Journos around the world tweeted and retweeted the news. Unfortunately, the reports were traced back to one student publication, Onward State, who tweeted that Paterno died around 8:45 p.m. (their leader has since resigned over the flap). CBSSports.com picked up the story and published their own based (apparently) solely on the original report from Onward State. They later issued an apology, “CBSSports.com holds itself to high journalistic standards, and in this circumstance tonight, we fell well short of those expectations,” managing editor Mark Swanson wrote. Other major news organizations like Huffington Post and Buzzfeed also published stories that cited the CBSSports report as the source of their information. It’s worth noting that none of the major news organizations like the New York Times, Reuters, AP, Washington Post or ESPN confirmed the news on their websites.

So how should these incidents be viewed in the journalistic community? More than a condemnation of Twitter, I think instead they remind us of the importance of getting the story right and maintaining solid journalistic fundamentals. Social media sites have transformed how people obtain their news and how they share it (for example, I learned about the deaths of Steve Jobs, Gaddafi, Osama Bin Laden, Kim Jong-Il by Twitter first). Once something breaks, it literally moves around the world in minutes. And that’s a good thing overall.

But, one of the first things journalists are taught is to verify your information and cite your sources. Particularly at the national level, when dealing with important, sensitive stories, those principles become even more important. Everyone is human and mistakes will be made, but there is no excuse for publishing a story about the death of a legendary sports figure with the uncorroborated reports of a student online publication as your sole source. CBS Sports fell down on their responsibility and other journalists must ensure they don’t fall into the same traps.

Breaking news and grabbing the scoop remains an important part of the business. Everyone wants to do it. That does not mean that standards should slip in order to accomplish the feat. Getting information correct has always been a vital part of the news business (it’s essential for maintaining credibility among the public), but it has taken on an even greater importance since the advent of social media.

The best line about grabbing the scoop comes from Walter Cronkite: “Get it first, but get it right.”

Photo credit: NLSven