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Student exposes WikiMedia

August 6, 2009
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On May 5th there was an article in the Irish Times website about a young Irish college student, who used the laziness of journalists, to expose a world wide problem.

Shane Fitzgerald, is a UCD sociology student who decided to experiment on the unsuspecting world of the media.

He used the online encyclopedia, Wikipedia, to write a fake quote for the late French composer Maurice Jarre.

His intentions where to show that ‘the global world is connected through the internet, and news reporters are relying on this resource more than ever’.

As he suspected, the fake quote was used in the media. However, he was surprised to find to the extent it was used. Respected newspapers from both Britain and Australia used his false information, which obviously took him by surprise.

In college, using Wikipedia, is often regarded as an ‘academic faux pa’. Yet as shown by Mr. Fitzgerals experiment, is being used as a primary news resource, despite its reputation for being untrustworthy.

Is this reliance on the world wide web, become for the accuracy of journalism? Shane Fitzgerald seems to believe so.


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