If a Story Is Viral, Truth May Be Taking a Beating – NYTimes.com

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Here’s a story that relates to what we looked at in class this week and it would be a great discussion point for a case study on impact-of-new-media-on-journalism case study. Those of you who answered Section B Question 6 in the June 2011 Unit 3 (MEST 3 – link to PDF) paper, could have explored the “implications” of “fast news” in such a way.

Several recent stories rocketing around the web, picking up millions of views, turned out to be fake or embellished: a Twitter tale of a Thanksgiving feud on a plane, later described by the writer as a short story; a child’s letter to Santa that detailed an Amazon.com link in crayon, but was actually written by a grown-up comedian in 2011; and an essay on poverty that prompted $60,000 in donations until it was revealed by its author to be impressionistic rather than strictly factual.

Their creators describe them essentially as online performance art, never intended to be taken as fact. But to the media outlets that published them, they represented the lightning-in-a-bottle brew of emotion and entertainment that attracts readers and brings in lucrative advertising dollars.

via If a Story Is Viral, Truth May Be Taking a Beating – NYTimes.com.

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