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Craig Silverman gave out his annual awards for bad journalism

Individual journalists weren’t the only ones flubbing reports in 2008. Regret The Error reports “epic organizational failure” was the trend of the year. They’re giving Awards of Demerit to three news organizations.

“As opposed to other years when a story (think Sago Mine disaster) dominated accuracy news, the headline for 2008 is that three news organizations knowingly and willfully fabricated, plagiarized or otherwise abdicated their ethics on a regular basis.”

The epidemic is worldwide. The errors cover a range of issues, as Craig Silverman reports: “In Japan, the Mainichi Daily News, the English website of Japanese newspaper Mainichi Shimbun, had to be relaunched thanks to its repeated publishing of false, titillating stories. In England, the Express Newspapers chain published a series of major front page apologies to repent for its wildly inaccurate and damaging reports about a British family. In the United States, the Bulletin, a weekly in Montgomery County, Texas, was revealed to be perhaps the first newspaper to pursue plagiarism as a standard operating procedure.”

In the four years that Regret The Error has been monitoring media corrections, retractions, apologies clarifications and trends, only one news organization received an Award of Demerit – The Sun, in 2006.

Other trends Silverman recognizes:

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-Rick Reilly, a sports writer for ESPN, was plagiarized not once but twice in less than two months. One of the guilty writers told the CBC, “It was a Saturday and I wanted to get out of [the office] before noon.”

-At least four newspapers had to print apologies to David Gest after inaccurately reporting he contracted herpes from Liza Minnelli on their wedding night.

-Obama corrections. A carry-over from the 2007 Trends of the Year, Obama was the victim of many media errors throughout his successful campaign.

Silverman also rounds up the year’s best corrections, typos, apologies, corrections, misquotes, misidentifications, and a variety of additional categories.

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Regret The Error : 2008’s Top Errors of the Year

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