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A case in point

A week or so ago, I wrote “I suppose it’s always the same – when one has specialist knowledge of something, one can almost invariably pick holes in a written description of that subject, whether it’s inaccuracies in a news story that one knows about first hand, or a technical subject that has been dumbed down for a general audience.” And today I got clear evidence of the former.

Here is a cutting from tonight’s Worcester Evening News:

Fire scare at petrol station

10:40am Tuesday 22nd May 2012 in News by Robert Hale

THREE fire engines rushed to a petrol station in Malvern Wells after smoke was seen coming from one of the petrol pumps. The call came at 7.45am this morning to the garage on the A440. Two appliances from Malvern and one from Upton were sent out. When the crews arrived they found a small fire in the electrical display on the pump, and put it out. The stop message came at 8.10am.

I actually passed the Wells petrol station at about 08:12 this morning on my way into work, and can indeed confirm that there was an incident there. One single fire engine was parked up by the side of the road outside the garage, with its blue lights flashing. There was no sign of the other two reported engines, which had presumably called it a day by then. But the road is very definitely the A449, not the A440. as reported in the newspaper. So there is one clear error of fact in five sentences of news! It really does make me wonder how much of the news I consume each day I should really be taking on trust!

{ 2 } Comments

  1. David A | 22 May 2012 at 8:20 pm | Permalink

    Very true – news stories, and sometimes entire, serious documentaries often seem quite inaccurate when you have some inside knowledge. Reporters often seem to ignore information even when someone takes the trouble to specifically point out common errors or misconceptions to them. Or perhaps their editors just ‘correct’ the story without checking…

  2. paulD | 25 May 2012 at 1:34 pm | Permalink

    Dear Gods !, the whole of Malvern could have gone up 🙂

    BBC website does it, has attention grabbing headlines and quite often the article dosent appear to relate to headlines or fails to explain the headline.