Wikileaks and the mediaWikileaks and the media

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The media is driven by deadlines and competition. And both cause the sort of excitement which lead to reporters' mistakes. When the BBC published breaking news that thousands of confidential documents had been released on Wikileaks, it sent out a text to subscribers of its mobile news service. But the first story contained one vital error – the reporter had got their 'Wikileaks' mixed up with their 'Wikipaedia'. The latter was identified as the source. Fifty minutes later a hurried correction was flashed, also as ‘breaking news’.

Many will point to poor standards and they’d be right. It’s a lapse. But it’s also worth remembering that this wasn’t deliberate, no reporter sets out to get things wrong, and their embarrassment, and that of the BBC, can only be imagined.

Sometimes those being challenged through the media rightly hold up their hands and ask for forgiveness over an unforeseen event caused by human error. They expect understanding. Perhaps it’s only fair that from time to time we show the same understanding for the media when they muddle the facts up. After all, no one goes to work to do badly – even journalists.